Jul 17, 2014 | 01:55 pm

A Closed Open

How would you feel after traveling for 22 hours and almost 5,000 miles on short notice for a potential tee time only to find out you won’t actually be playing? Ask Ben Crane. He did just that this week. Informed on Tuesday that he had become the first alternate for The Open, Crane flew from Portland to New York and then on to London before taking a car to Royal Liverpool. There was little time to shake off the jet lag since he had to be near the first tee when play began at 6:25 a.m. this morning in case there was a withdrawal. Unfortunately for him, there was not. But as expected of a guy perhaps better known for his humorous videos than his five PGA Tour wins, he took it in stride, tweeting: “I didn’t get in to @The_Open but don’t regret the trip. This is a special tournament. Didn’t want to miss the opportunity if presented.” While an estimated $20,000 in travel costs only dents the $1.3 million he has earned this season, another statistic probably has the 38-year old even more disappointed. His best finish ever in five Opens was a tie for 11th in 2006 — at Royal Liverpool.



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Jul 16, 2014 | 04:13 pm

All Bets Are Off

Part of the fun of playing in the Open Championship for some pros has been the ability to place a wager on himself (legal betting parlors are everywhere, including near this year's host site, Royal Liverpool). Most famously, in 1971, Lee Trevino, after capturing the U.S. and Canadian Opens, placed a 100 pound bet on himself to win at 14–1 and did so at Royal Birkdale. But the R&A is trying to curb the practice by making players sign an agreement this year not to place a wager on the tournament, even on themselves. The ban has been in place since 2011, but this appears to be the first time players actually have to sign something. Caddies are exempt, however, so players can get around it if they really want to and more than a few reportedly appear to be doing just that. Just for the record, Adam Scott and Justin Rose are the current favorites at 14–1, followed by Henrik Stenson and Rory McIlroy at 16–1, and Martin Kaymer and Tiger Woods at 20–1. Not that that this website condones gambling!

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Jul 15, 2014 | 09:32 am

Let The Olympic Teams Begin

We still have two years to go, so this is a bit like musing over the next presidential race. But next week, the International Golf Federation will begin posting on its website the Olympic Golf Rankings, a running list of players eligible to compete in the 2016 Olympics. The rankings will be based on the Official World Golf Rankings and any player within the top 15 as of July 11, 2016, will get a ticket to Rio, with the caveat that no nation may send more than four players. If the cut were made today, the U.S. delegation would include Bubba Watson (4), Matt Kuchar (5), Tiger Woods (7), and Jordan Spieth (10), but not Jim Furyk (11) Phil Mickelson (13), or Zach Johnson (14). On the women’s side, assuming the rankings are based on the Rolex Rankings, Team USA would be Stacy Lewis (1), Lexi Thompson (5), Michelle Wie (6), and Cristie Kerr (11), with Paul Creamer (12) just missing out. Beyond the top 15, players will be eligible based on the rankings with a limit of two eligible players per nation that does not already have two or more players within the top 15. Also, the final field of 60 will include at least one player from each of the five continents of the Olympic movement (Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Oceana) as well as at least one player from the host country. Currently, Brazil has only four players among the top 1000 on the men’s rankings, the best being World No. 281 Adilson Da Silva. On the ladies’ side, there’s not an eligible player in sight—so ladies, if you can break par, you have two years to renounce your citizenship, become a Brazilian national, and go for the gold. Both competitions will be over 72 holes of stroke play for the gold, silver, and bronze. Should there be a tie for any of the first three places, a three-hole playoff will ensue. The Olympics begin August 5, 2016.

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Jul 14, 2014 | 10:09 am

How Did He Do That?

Before golf gets too serious this week—with the Open Championship, Tiger’s return to the majors, and whatever else glues us to the tube—here’s a very different on-screen show you should watch, the latest backyard trick-shot artistry from David Kalb. No matter what else happens over the next six days, this video—shot with a GoPro camera—is sure to make you laugh and be more than a little bit amazed. You’re going to want to watch it again and again. Enjoy.

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