Architect Hanse revonovates historic Country Club

By Associated PressOctober 22, 2012, 10:03 pm

BROOKLINE, Mass. – When Gil Hanse was hired to renovate the golf course at The Country Club, he knew there were some corners of the historic property that were better left alone.

''Vardon's bunker on 17. That was the one thing that was untouchable,'' he said on Monday while visiting the site of three U.S. Opens, the 1999 Ryder Cup and a half-dozen men's and women's U.S. Amateur championships. ''But it's always been our formula to be respectful of the original architect's vision. That's been the keystone of the success that we've had with these restoration projects.''

The Vardon bunker's signature victim was six-time British Open champion Harry Vardon, who found it during the 1913 U.S. Open playoff. American Francis Ouimet, a former caddy who grew up across the street, birdied the hole to essentially clinch a victory that obliterated the notion that golf was a game for wealthy Europeans.

But the bunker, a large sand trap along the left side of the 17th fairway only about 180 yards from the tee, has long since passed from golf hazard to historic relic.

''Obviously, for the modern game, that bunker's misplaced,'' Hanse said. ''It doesn't come into play for a championship golfer. So our challenge was: How do we add something down the line from that, without taking away from the integrity of that bunker?''

Under Hanse's guidance, The Country Club added about 100 bunkers in spots that will that are more likely to challenge today's big-hitters – even the teens and 20-somethings who will be playing in the U.S. Amateur next August on the 100th anniversary of Ouimet's seminal win. The renovation also led to the removal of hundreds of trees to allow for better grass-growing and cosmetics. A few hundred trees have also been planted.

''We had to look at this great, classic golf course to figure out: How do we update it without taking away the character, the beauty and the tradition of it?'' Hanse said.

Hanse's next stop will pose a different challenge: He is leaving next week for Rio de Janeiro to oversee construction of the course that will be used in the 2016 Olympics. That one is being built from scratch, for an event with little history in a country with even less golf tradition.

To create a course that looked like it fit in – even though there was no template for what a Brazilian golf course would look like – Hanse turned to the sandy Australian courses like Kingston Heath, outside of Melbourne.

''Our goal is to move the amount of earth you need to make something interesting but mask it so that it looks natural. Therefore it feels, in theory, traditional,'' Hanse said. ''We're really not honoring any traditions for that course. But we're hoping that our presentation honors the tradition of building natural golf courses.''

Building new and updating a traditional course both have their advantages, Hanse said.

''When you have the opportunity to build something from scratch, that's your own idea ... we have a lot of fun with that,'' he said. ''But we're quite capable and ready to turn our focus to something like this, where it's more of a preservation and restoration mode. And I think we learn a ton from soaking up what the original architect did.''

The U.S. Open returned to The Country Club on the 50th anniversary of Ouimet's victory, with Julius Boros beating Arnold Palmer and Jacky Cupit in a playoff. On the 75th anniversary, in 1988, Curtis Strange won a playoff against Nick Faldo.

When the Ryder Cup was held at the course in 1999, the Americans came back from a 10-6 deficit on the final day in what has come to be known as the ''Battle of Brookline.'' Justin Leonard helped the U.S. clinch with a 45-foot putt on the 17th green – the same hole that was pivotal in Ouimet's win.

Hanse kept his hands off that green, too.

''With any course we work on, you just want to get a good champion. You want to have good competition and identify a really good champion,'' Hanse said. ''This club has always hosted great championships, exciting finishes.''

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Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome

By Grill Room TeamDecember 18, 2017, 3:22 pm

Sergio and Angela Garcia's super 2017 keeps getting more ... Super ... Dome. (+1 awful blog lede.)

The couple started the year with Sergio's win at the Masters, then embarked on a whirlwind green jacket media tour, then kicked off El Clasico, then attended Wimbledon, then got married, then announced they were expecting their first child ...

2017 Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

And now, they're throwing each other passes on the New Orleans Saints' home turf at the Superdome.

Man, it must be so cool do that at the Silverdome. ... ... ... I'm sorry, it is the Superdome, brothers.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

Article: Thomas (64) rallies to defend CIMB title

Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double

Article: Thomas refuses to let disastrous hole derail TOC win

Article: Worst week ever ends with another title at Sony Open

Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

Take a look: Thomas’ scorecard from his amazing 59

Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

Article: Thomas sets U.S. Open record with 9-under 63

Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row

Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut

Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

Article: Thomas joins the club – the major club

Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

Article: Thomas wins the battle of buddies over Spieth

The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ

Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year

And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season

Article: Thomas caps torrid 12-month run with CJ Cup win

Photo Galleries: Best of ...

Best of: Justin Thomas and Jillian Wisniewski

Best of: Justin Thomas through the years

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 12:30 pm

Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.