Thursday, July 20th, 2017


Golf Channel Notable Quotes
The 146TH Open
First Round
Thursday, July 20, 2017 (7 a.m.-4 p.m. ET)
Royal Birkdale Golf Club, Southport, England

**Live coverage of round two of The 146TH Open airs on Golf Channel Friday beginning at 1:30 a.m. ET**

On John Rahm (1-under par 69), and his two-stroke penalty on 17 being removed following his round
Nick Faldo – “The lesson to learn is even though he had an official right in front of him telling him he got a two-stroke penalty, don’t lose your head. Say, ok, ‘Let’s discuss when I finish,’ and try to get back into the right state to finish the round.”

John Rahm speaking with Golf Channel’s Steve Sands following the conclusion of his round
John Rahm – “I got to my lie [on 17] and it was one of those long plants with thorns in it, I forget the name. It was three or four feet long. It was about an inch and a half right of my ball. It was never on the swing path towards the pin. It was never on my line or my intent to line, and actually when I got there I thought it was a loose impediment. It looked dead so I just picked it up and moved it to the side. It wasn’t until where Lee saw that it was not a loose impediment, which in that case, it might be a penalty stroke, right. We consulted a rules official, and strictly by the rules, just moving one of those it is. It is a two-stroke penalty, but the question was did I improve my lie or not. I explained my version. I didn’t think that I improved my lie. It was never going to be any close to my swing path, especially with a 6-iron. Or unless I would have hit a 50-yard slice, which in that situation I would have never hit. I explained my opinion afterwards because at the point I thought I had a two-stroke penalty and I played the last two holes like that. They came to the conclusion to where it is a fine line but I was not improving my lie, so in that case it was not a penalty.”
Rahm – “In my case, this happened a couple of times, trying to control my temper. I am starting to realize – just like how I had examples and idols and heroes – I am starting to become an example and role model for many kids.  So bad behavior shouldn’t be something that they see on TV, it usually is a lot of smiles and enjoyment on the golf course and that is what I’m working on right now.”

Nick Faldo – “I don’t believe players have the intention to better their lies. It happens by accident by all of these sort of things. Maybe we just need to keep reviewing this. I’m a strong believer of that you pull a blade of grass, have you changed your lie? I am going with a big no. Even if it moves one dimple.”

On Jordan Spieth, co-leader at 5-under par after Thursday’s opening round
Steve Sands – “Rock solid.”
Faldo – “Awfully impressive today.”

Jordan Spieth speaking with Golf Channel’s Jimmy Roberts following his round
Jordan Spieth – “The first guys off today got some really tough conditions. By the time we teed off it was just 15 mph wind and a little chilly but nothing like we are going to experience tomorrow. It is a getable golf course if you are controlling your ball off the tee. You are able to hit the ball on the middle of the greens and they aren’t too severe.”
Spieth – “Going out there with a goal and game plan in mind and trying to execute. Today was a really good day and a really good start. Tomorrow is going to be a very different type of day with the weather coming in.”

On Matt Kuchar, co-leader at 5-under par after Thursday’s opening round
Peter Jacobsen – “He is one of the most consistent players we have seen on the world’s stage in the last 10 years.”
Johnny Miller – “His attitude is so good. He always looks at the good side of things.”
Jacobsen – “He always seems to be on the first page of the leaderboard, especially at the big events.”
Jacobsen – “One of the best chippers in the game.”

Mat Kuchar speaking with Golf Channel’s Steve Sands following his round
Kuchar – “It was a great start. Certainly unexpected. Coming here, knew that the course was tough. I watched the guys in the morning play and thought, man, anything under par is going to be really good.”
Kuchar – “I’m certainly a better player than I was in 1998 and 2008. But, I absolutely love this golf course. I think I have heard it by all of the different pros on how great this golf course is.”

On Brooks Koepka, co-leader at 5-under par after Thursday’s opening round
Steve Sands – “Off to a fabulous start at Birkdale.”

Koepka speaking with Golf Channel’s Jimmy Roberts following his round
Brooks Koepka – “My short game was pretty solid today. We hit it into too many bunkers but I holed one out on 17 which was nice. I think we had gotten everything up and down except for 16 which was a bad putt. Short game feels good and everything feels good.”

On Paul Casey, T4 at 4-under par on Thursday
Jim “Bones” Mackay – “He is absolutely striping it.”
Mackay – “He is an extremely good player, but as we saw with Phil Mickelson, some of these guys don’t win their first major until their 30s and then they go on a tear.”
Mackay – “Just can’t tell you how good Paul looks here today. He is swinging beautifully. Having a good time laughing and joking with the fellas.” 

Mackay – “Paul Casey has 6-iron, discussing it with his caddy, ‘Johnny Longsocks,’ one of the best caddies in the game.”
Dan Hicks – “Maybe the second best nickname in the game, Bones.”
Mackay – ““I’ll second that.”

Paul Casey speaking with Golf Channel’s Steve Sands following his round
Casey – “It’s fair [Royal Birkdale], which isn’t always said about links courses. It may be the best links course in the world. That may be a bold statement but it is so beautifully designed. Bunkering is majestic. The fairways are relatively flat. I could go on a lot about it. I’m not sure I’d make a lot of sense but I just really love this golf course and I think it showed in today’s score.”
Casey – “It’s cool. I’m going to be 40 tomorrow. Walking down the 18th hole with the classic blue grandstands with the yellow scoreboards, there may be very few better places to be in the world of golf than coming down the 18th hole at an Open Championship, especially in England as an Englishman. There is something very warm and fuzzy about this.”

On Ian Poulter, T6 at 3-under par on Thursday
Faldo – “He is playing on emotion right now. He feels like he has got a second wind.”

Ian Poulter speaking with Golf Channel’s Todd Lewis following his round
Poulter – “I definitely feel pretty happy with my round of golf today. Last Sunday I was disappointed to be in position and not finish the job. Today it was really spending more focus on the lines of the greens and be 100 percent committed to the line I’m going to choose. I did a good job of that today.”
Poulter – “Birkdale is a fantastic Open venue. You have to respect this golf course. There are bunkers positioned out there which can catch you out, and you need to give a little bit of respect.”

On Charley Hoffman, T6 at 3-under par on Thursday
Miller – “I like his chances. He is s streaky player and he’s on a little streak right now.”

On Ernie Els, T12 at 2-under par after Thursday
Miller – “Let’s see if his stroke holds up this week. Looks good right now.”

Ernie Els speaking with Golf Channel’s Steve Sands following his round
Ernie Els – “It was cloudy this morning when we started, but conditions got a lot better and with conditions quite soft, you should really get a score going.”
Els – “You just have to keep the ball in front of you, keep it where you can see it, find it and play links golf.”

On Jason Day, T26 at 1-under par on Thursday
Miller – “I don’t know about those shoes. I’d like them a lot more if he was 5-under.”
Miller – “That 69 is the 21st round under par today, matching the entire rounds under par at the 2008 Open here at Royal Birkdale. So, big difference this year with the good conditions.”

On Jim “Bones” Mackay joining Golf Channel/NBC’s broadcast team as a course reporter
Hicks – “John Wood might have had the line of the championship. Good friends of Bones. I said, ‘Hey, your mate is now going to be working with us on the broadcast. He said, yeah, he got so much airtime as a caddie he might have his airtime cut in half when he works for you guys.”

On Thursday’s opening round at The Open
Faldo – “It’s all about emotion and intensity and trying to relax on the golf course. The great thing about the majors, especially the Open, these players have got their game face on. They are feeling it already, and its only Thursday.”
Brandel Chamblee – “Two of those men at 5-under par [Spieth and Koepka] have not been seen in competitive golf since their last outings and neither of them seem to be any worse for the break. Both of them seem to be emboldened that they won in their last outings.”
Miller – “It has been a great week already for me. I was at Oakmont on Monday and now I’m here at Birkdale. It was a great week. Had a lot of 1-irons off the tee, kept it in play and let the irons do the talking. I was just a wonderful thing for me to experience and usher in Seve Ballesteros.”
Miller – “The course is very getable. Everything is nice. The weather is nice, greens are soft enough to hold a good shot.”
Sands – “I can’t get over this weather. This morning it was disgusting, and now it is beautiful.”

-NBC Sports Group-