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Buzz 7.15.16

Jul 15, 2016 | 08:41 am

Two For Troon

Colin Montgomerie, certainly one of the best players to have never won a major, is playing in his final Open, and at the course where he grew up. Monty—who last played in the Open in 2010—went through qualifying for one more chance at Troon, where he first took up the game and where his father, James, was the longtime club secretary. Both father and son are now honorary members of the club, and James, now 86, will become the club president two weeks after the Open finishes. Said Monty, 53, of his 22nd and final appearance, “When the Open comes back to Troon in, say, 12 years’ time, being 65 I won’t be able to play, never mind qualify, because that’s the age limit. So this was the last opportunity to try to get in to play an Open at Royal Troon.”

Playing in his very first Open is 25-year-old American Harold Varner III, who turned pro in 2012 after graduating from East Carolina University and is beginning to hit his stride as a player. Varner has already earned $1.245 million on the PGA Tour this year, with four top 10s including a 7th place finish at the Quicken Loans National three weeks ago, which got him into the Open on what was his last opportunity to qualify. The long-hitting Varner—he presently ranks 20th in driving distance, 6th in total birdies, 4th in par five scoring average, and shot a round of 62 during the OHL Classic at Mayakoba back in November—said of qualifying that “I didn’t even realize what was happening until I was done and my caddie said that he thought I had the last place.”

Both Varner and Monty played yesterday’s first round at Royal Troon in even-par 71. Both remain at even-par through round two, currently 10 strokes off Phil Mickelson's lead.

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Jul 14, 2016 | 09:21 am

Players Take Advantage of Softer Troon

Royal Troon is looking particularly green this July. A wet season has meant that the course is softer and more lush than would typically be expected of the tough links course. Players are spinning wedges, putting aggressively, and working their way under par. At the time of writing, there are 23 players under par.

This isn’t to say that Royal Troon has lost all of its teeth. With more rain and growth, the rough is high and thick. The wind and rain predicted for the weekend will certainly add difficult elements during the finish, but it is admittedly disappointing that the “linksy” aspects of Royal Troon won’t be on show this week. The back nine at Troon is always more difficult than the front, and the numbers bear that out. The seven toughest holes on the course come on the back nine, according to TheOpen.com. The average score on the front nine is 1.3 strokes under par, while the average on the back is 3.1 over par. What do you think about the lack of firm, dry conditions this week? There’s nothing the Scots can do about it, but does it disappoint you at all? Let us know in the comments below.

Watch live coverage from Royal Troon at this link.

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Jul 13, 2016 | 09:42 am

Drive for Show

Mercedes-Benz makes a lot of great sports cars, but its latest offering really puts the emphasis on sports. The pimped-out cart, which debuted yesterday at The Open Championship, is a result of cooperation between the company's designers and its "Think & Act Tank Business Innovation" unit with Danish luxury cart manufacturer Garia. It's a long overdue update of the golf cart, featuring a large curved windscreen, refrigerator under the sculptured bench seat, hi-fi speakers, and touchpad for hole views, scorecard, and food orders. And, of course, it rides a lot better than a typical cart. But perhaps the most innovative yet simplistic touch is the bag holder, which is slanted rearward so it's easier to remove clubs. The bags also stay in place and don't tilt like they do in typical carts. With all the technological advancements in golf, it's about time somebody did something to rethink the cart. For more, click here.

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Jul 12, 2016 | 10:03 am

Open Rates

 

Thanks to Brexit, you just got a 20 percent discount on British golf—but green fees at the Open Championship courses will still cost you.
With the British pound now in the $1.30 range, a golf trip to the UK is about 20 percent less costly than it was a couple of weeks ago. That said, the big courses still command big money. The current green fees for the 10 Open Championship venues average $231. (Competitors in this week’s Open at Royal Troon (green fee $286), assuming they play three practice rounds and four days of competition, will get in over $2000 worth of golf.) The best deal is Carnoustie ($213) and second best is a coveted round at the Old Course ($227), while the highest fee comes, where else, at Trump Turnberry ($325 weekdays/$357 weekends). But take heart, you can shave $85 off those rates if you stay at the hotel—where rooms start at $545 a night.
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