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This Distance Report Is Here but Will Anything Change?

This week the USGA and R&A finally published their extensive report on distance and it's effects on the game. You can find the 102-p...

Friday, July 21, 2017

The 2017 Open heads into the weekend with Spieth on top

Spieth finds his form thanks to chewing gum?

Spieth was chewing gum as he worked his way around Royal Birkdale on Thursday. Reports are that he was offered a stick of gum by his swing coach prior to beginning play. Not usually a gum chewer, Spieth says he accepted for some reason anyway. 5-hours later, still chewing the same piece of gum, Spieth posted 5-under par and slept on the lead heading into Friday.

Some have claimed that the gum may increase blood flow and thus improve concentration. I'm going to go with just an athlete not looking to change anything while he's on a hot streak.

Spieth backed up his Thursday round with an with an up and down 69 on Friday in much tougher conditions. He was reportedly chewing gum again as he teed off. Spieth leads the 2017 Open Championship by 2-strokes over Matt Kuchar going into the weekend. If he holds on to win I imagine every pro shop in the world will be stocking gum by Monday morning. I can already hear the greenkeepers weeping.

“You’re Rory McIlroy! What the f— are you doing?”

Standing on the 6th tee on Thursday, having just opened his tournament 4-over after 5 holes, Rory McIlroy was in trouble. His faithful caddie, JP Fitzgerald, had some firm words for his boss. "You're Rory McIlroy! What the f--- are you doing?"

In his press conference following the round, Rory admitted that the words had an impact. He proceeded to rally to card a 1-over 71 and stay in the conversation. McIlroy followed that up on Friday with a solid 2-under 68 and is certainly back in the mix for the weekend. Nice job there Mr. Fitzgerald. It takes some stones to kick the boss in the backside.

The heather at Royal Birkdale is not a fan of fashion it seems

Much was written about the fashion statement Justin Thomas made on Thursday at Royal Birkdale. Personally, I liked the tie. Today, the course decided to show Thomas that it wasn't a fan. The ultimate result was a quintuple-bogey 9 on the par-4 6th. Thomas went on to post an 80 on the day to finish at 7-over par and miss the cut.

Sergio attacks Royal Birkdale and Royal Birkdale wins

I felt like the muscles in my shoulder went one on top of the other. It was a little sore on the next tee, but I took some ibuprofen and got a little work done on the 8th tee, and fortunately it started to loosen up as the round went on.

Garcia managed to finish with a 1-under 69 and finds himself solidly in the field going into the weekend at 2-over par. I'd get on him for losing his cool and hurting himself in the process but who hasn't swung a club in frustration? If it could have been me who am I to shame him? Get well Sergio.

After last year's battle with Stenson at Royal Troon, Mickelson headed home early from Royal Birkdale

Following a birdie-less 3-over 73 on Thursday, Mickelson needed to get something going on Friday to stick around for the weekend. Starting his round with his first birdie of the week was a good sign. Unfortunately, that was followed by a triple-bogey on the 3rd and a streak of 6-bogies over 7 holes in the middle of his round. Mickelson ultimately finished his two days at 10-over par and will miss the cut.
It’s not that big a deal. Unfortunately, it’s the first cut I’ve missed this year and I missed it with flair. I was surprised because I really thought Thursday I was prepared. I felt like I was ready. I thought I had a good game plan. I thought my game was sharp. But obviously it wasn’t. - Phil Mickelson

You have to wonder, with a quote like, "It's not that big of a deal" if Mickelson is admitting his best golf is behind him. With Jim "Bones" Mackay now working television coverage and with giving this year's U.S. Open a pass for family reasons, and now a ho-hum missed cut at The Open, it feels like Mickelson is ready to coast. There could hardly be many regrets other than never getting that elusive U.S. Open. The list of others who never did is impressive. The group of men who wouldn't be willing to trade their career for his is very small. We'll have to watch and see.

Matt Kuchar goes out early and positions himself for a run at his first major


No longer tied for the lead, Matt Kuchar has survived the weather on Friday to post 4-under par for his first 36 holes. Will this finally be the week that Kuchar breaks through for his first major championship? With the weather forecast improving into the weekend there will be plenty of other players in the mix. So far there's no reason to believe Kuchar won't be one of them.

Mark O'Meara closes out his Open career with class


Everyone who stayed up late here in the States to watch The Open get started on Thursday night couldn't help but wince as Mark O'Meara's opening tee shot flew wide right and out of bounds. A short nightmare later and O'Meara had opened his final Open with a quadruple-bogey 8. Several hours later, having played through the worst of the weather, O'Meara posted an 11-over 81.

You have to respect the effort on Friday. Playing in conditions that were often worse than Thursday, O'Meara managed to post an even-par 70. A score the vast majority of the field would have gladly taken today.

While his final score was well off of the cut, O'Meara did manage to beat several other notable players including last week's PGA Tour winner Bryson DeChambeau. O'Meara's final round feels like a good one to say goodbye to The Open with. Well done sir.

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