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This week in golf

Teeing Off

July 19, 2007|Thomas Bonk | Times Staff Writer

Five things to look for on the professional golf scene:

1. Even after the first ball is hit today and Tiger Woods begins his quest to win a third consecutive British Open, the news that Seve Ballesteros is retiring should reverberate around Carnoustie for a while.

As a three-time British Open champion and still well short of the 65-year age limit to play in it again, Ballesteros was eligible, but said he's through with competitive golf at 50. And so Ballesteros may be gone, but he is hardly forgotten, especially since he made his retirement announcement at the same Carnoustie layout where he made his Open debut in 1975 as an 18-year-old.

Ballesteros, who also won the Masters twice, learned his swing hitting rocks on the beach at his home in Pedrena, Spain. He turned pro at 16, tied Jack Nicklaus for second behind Johnny Miller in the British Open at 19 at Birkdale and then won it in 1979 when he was 22.

That one, at Royal Lytham, secured Ballesteros' swashbuckling reputation -- he made a birdie after hitting from a parking lot. Ballesteros returned to Lytham in 1988 and won his third British Open title, closing with a 65 and featuring an adventurous 11-hole stretch in which he made two pars, two bogeys, six birdies and an eagle.

That's Seve-ball. That's also one reason Ballesteros was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1999.

2. What would the British Open be without a little weather, right? Well, chances are it's not going to be too bad, with highs through Sunday expected to reach the low 60s. And rain is forecast every day, with a 60% chance today, Saturday and Sunday.

3. Woods is paired with 1999 Open champion Paul Lawrie and Justin Rose the first two rounds. Phil Mickelson's group the first two rounds includes Lee Westwood and Toru Taniguchi.

4. Only five weeks removed from his stunning U.S. Open victory at Oakmont, Angel Cabrera showed up at Carnoustie accompanied only by small fanfare. That's probably because his post-Oakmont results aren't exactly glowing -- a tie for 60th at the European Open and a tie for 19th last week at the Scottish Open.

But Cabrera shouldn't be dismissed from any discussion about contenders at Carnoustie. In the 1999 Open at Carnoustie, he missed a putt on the 72nd hole that would have put him in a playoff with Jan Van de Velde, Justin Leonard and eventual champion Lawrie.

5. If the shoes fit, well, then maybe it's what a growing number of caddies are wearing on the PGA Tour -- Crocs, the funky, colorful sandals you see all the time now.

"It's like being barefoot with support," said Mark Loser, who caddies for Paul Stankowski.

Never one to miss out on a business deal, the PGA Tour is on board with Crocs, making it a tour-licensed shoe.

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THE TOURNAMENTS

ROYAL & ANCIENT GOLF CLUB OF ST. ANDREWS: British Open

* When: Today-Sunday.

* Where: Carnoustie Golf Links, Championship Course (7,421 yards, par 71), Carnoustie, Scotland.

* TV: TNT (Today-Friday, 7 a.m.-7 p.m., delayed; Saturday, 4-6 a.m.; Sunday, 3-5 a.m.) and Ch. 7 (Saturday, 6-11:30 a.m.; Sunday, 5-10:30 a.m.).

* 2006 winner: Tiger Woods.

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LPGA TOUR: HSBC Women's World Match Play Championship

* When: Today-Sunday.

* Where: Wykagyl Country Club (6,237 yards, par 71), New Rochelle, N.Y.

* TV: Golf Channel (Today-Friday, 11 a.m.-1 p.m).; and Ch. 2 (Saturday, noon-2 p.m., Sunday, 1-3 p.m.)

* 2006 winner: Brittany Lincicome.

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PGA TOUR: U.S. Bank Championship

* When: Today-Sunday.

* Where: Brown Deer Park Golf Course (6,759 yards, par 70), Milwaukee.

* TV: Golf Channel (Today-Sunday, 1-4 p.m.; replays 10 p.m.-1 a.m.)

* 2006 winner: Corey Pavin.

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Associated Press

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TEE TIMES

Second round at Carnoustie Golf Links

(a-amateur; all times Pacific):

THURSDAY (all p.m.) -- 10:30: Jerry Kelly, Paul Broadhurst, Mark Hensby; 10:41: Sandy Lyle, Shaun Micheel, Andres Romero; 10:52: Charl Schwartzel, Mark Calcavecchia, Ross Fisher; 11:03: Peter Hanson, Brett Wetterich, Matthew Zions; 11:14: Anders Hansen, David Frost, Richard Green; 11:25: Robert Karlsson, Ernie Els, Lucas Glover; 11:36: John Daly, Bradley Dredge, Robert Allenby; 11:47: Luke Donald, Charles Howell III, a-Llewellyn Matthews; 11:58: Angel Cabrera, Rory Sabbatini, Sean O'Hair.

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