Notes from TNT’s Coverage of the Open Championship from the Ailsa Course at Turnberry in Scotland
Final Round – Sunday, July 19, 2009
Announcers: Ernie Johnson (play-by-play), Ian Baker-Finch (analyst), Bill Kratzert (analyst) and Jim Huber (reporter)
Baker-Finch on the chances of Tom Watson winning the Open Championship: “I think the chances are very good (for Tom Watson to win). I think if he continues to do what he’s doing…he’s driving it great, he’s making a lot of birdies, everything he’s doing is just fantastic. The thing I think about Tom is he has more experience than anyone else. He’s done this five times before, he’s been playing here since 1975, he’s only missed a couple. I think he’s got the world behind him, all of Scotland is behind him. Scotland has always taken Tom as their own, he’s won four of his five titles here. I don’t see any reason why he can’t keep doing it. He’s putting well and it’s only the putter that lets him down on occasion and the putter hasn’t let him down this week. He’s 59 years of age, but he’s been winning on the Champions Tour in the U.S. and won the Senior Open Championship three times as well. It’s not like he’s been away from the game, he’s been competitive and winning.”
TNT’s Jim Huber interviewed former Open Champion Mark Calcavecchia and his wife Brenda, who serves as his caddy.
Brenda Calcavecchia on being her husband Mark’s caddy: “I can’t lie, it is physically tough. But even when I’m not carrying the bag we talk throughout the round and I give him encouragement. This is a way for me to be out with him full-time and it works for us. He did throw one club one time at the TOUR Championship. It almost hit my ring, I said, ‘if you break the diamond you buy a bigger one,’ and that was the end of that.”
Kratzert on the weakness in Ernie Els’ game: “The obstacle (Ernie Els) has to overcome it just trying to put it in play in competition.”
Baker-Finch: “Yeah, he’s just lost his mojo. It’s self-belief that you need. The swing is there, it’s not like he’s lost his swing. It’s just you work on it and you try to find a feel. Some days he just doesn’t feel like he’s out there, doesn’t understand why.”
TNT’s Jim Huber interviewed Ernie Els prior to his round.
Els on the possibility of Tom Watson, at 59 years old, winning a record tying sixth Open Championship: “Unbelievable, in the history of the game this could be it (the greatest feat). I know there have been great stories along the way in our sport; Bobby Jones winning the Grand Slam, Ben Hogan, Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, a lot of great stories. Man, at 59 to win the Open Championship, that had to be a 10,000 to 1 shot that that’s ever going to happen, and it could happen today. He’s been unbelievable to watch and a hero of mine. Great links player, probably the best of our generation, so he’s got a great change to win.”
Kratzert on why he loves the Ailsa Course at Turnberry as an Open Championship site: “The addition of 22 bunkers, the added yardage 247 yards, it now plays over 7200 yards. You have a great mixture, you have a long Par Three (on hole) six, you look out there on the 11th and that short Par Three, that is a spectacular hole, the views are just unbelievable. It’s the Pebble Beach of Europe. I think with the changes they’ve made, visually it’s more pleasing. And we saw on the first day, if the wind doesn’t blow it’s a golf course you can go out and pretty much shoot the grass off it. (If there is weather), it becomes a very difficult challenge and that’s what I like.”
Baker-Finch on the success of Steve Marino, who had a strong showing in his first links course and Open Championship ever: “It’s created another American player (Steve Marino) coming over from the PGA TOUR, the first time ever on a links golf course on this stage. He’s just going to have a love affair with it now and it will last forever.”
Johnson on John Daly’s hounds tooth pants: “Put these pants on with a Bear Bryant hat and you are stylin’.”
Baker-Finch on amateur golfer Matteo Mannasero: “Matteo Mannasero, just always remember this name, this kid can really play and he’s a great putter. You’ll see him at next year’s Masters, he’s still only going to be 16.”
Kratzert on Ernie Els’ ability to pitch the ball: “Is (Ernie Els) not the best? Is he not one of the top five pitching the ball? Unbelievable. You know he’s accelerating through the shot, but it’s not visually detectable that he’s accelerating. It’s just so smooth through that there has to be that minimal amount of acceleration, otherwise he wouldn’t be as good as he is.”