Cink ready for a fresh start

By Associated PressJanuary 12, 2012, 8:44 am

HONOLULU (AP)—Two dozen PGA Tour rookies start their season Thursday atthe Sony Open.

In some respects, Stewart Cink feels like one of them.

“This is a fresh start,” he said Wednesday, walking down the 15th fairwayat Waialae Country Club during the best part of the day as the warm sun startedto drop toward the Pacific horizon.

Cink is 38 and about to embark on his 15th season. He is still saluted asthe guy who spoiled an epic moment in sports by taking down Tom Watson atTurnberry to win the 2009 British Open. His home life has never been better. Hisoldest son, Connor, is a senior in high school who was recently made captain ofhis high school hockey team in Atlanta. Reagan will turn 15 on Sunday at theMasters.

His golf game? That’s another story.

Cink moved up to No. 9 in the world when he won at Turnberry. He starts thisyear at No. 147.

“I don’t feel like I belong there,” Cink said, conceding that he stoppedpaying attention after he slipped out of the top 100. “It’s very disappointing,but I’ve played about that kind of golf. I’ll never be one to argue about theranking. I think the ranking tells you how you’re playing. You can’t hide fromthem.”

It seems as though Cink has been in hiding.

He had sinus surgery in November and the medication he was on kept him awakeat night. He wound up watching the Presidents Cup, another reminder of how farhe had fallen. Cink had played on the previous seven U.S. teams in the Ryder Cupand Presidents Cup. He had to sit this one out.

He played in 23 consecutive World Golf Championships until last year atDoral. He starts this year not eligible for any of them. He still gets into themajors based on his win at the Open.

“I feel like I belong in World Golf Championships, playing late on Sunday.That’s where I’ve been my whole career,” he said. “It’s a little bitembarrassing. It’s a pride thing, almost shameful. Like it or not, golf—whenyou’ve done it as long as I’ve done it—becomes part of you. If you’ve got badgolf, that means something is bad inside of you. It hurts. When you play wellfor a long time, it’s frustrating.”

This is not a British Open hangover.

On paper, it would look as though Cink spent a year celebrating his majorchampionship, then never got back on track. In fact, he says he had been playingbadly and had an extraordinary week at the right time one week in July on theAyrshire coast of Scotland.

He traces the problem to his attempt at hitting a draw. Over the last fiveyears, the path of his swing became more pronounced from the inside, to thepoint where he had to rely more on his timing. The result was a two-way miss,the worst feeling for any golfer on the tee, and an inadequate short game madeit feel even worse.

Cink went from missing the Tour Championship in 2010 to missing the last twoplayoff events a year ago, finishing 98th in the standings. He was No. 101 onthe money list, finishing outside the top 100 for the first time in his career.

Even so, his optimism level is right up there with the rookies.

Cink began working last summer with Chris O’Donnell, who also teaches MattKuchar , trying to get the club more square at impact. When he had himselfvideotaped in 3-D, he said his swing was coming from the inside at 7 degrees.

“This year is a test,” he said. “I want to see how I can respond to thesechanges.”

The biggest change might be his desire. Cink asked himself some seriousquestions during the offseason, one of them being what he wants to accomplishthe rest of his career. He even questioned his own will, wondering if it mightbe better to simply ride out that five-year exemption he received from theBritish Open and just walk away.

He’s not ready for that, not at his age.

“It’s easy to lose drive and focus when you’re having a bad stretch,” hesaid. “Everything in my life, other than golf, has grown up. My kids have grownup. My relationship with (wife) Lisa has grown up. It’s easy to want to focus onother stuff when you’re struggling, and I battled through that a little bit.”

And he found a role model in Steve Stricker , who won last week at Kapaluafor his eighth PGA Tour win in the last three years, the most of any player.

Stricker was in his mid-30s when his game started to go south. He wasterrified off the tee, not sure where the ball was going. He lost his PGA Tourcard. But through dedication and hard work, he pulled himself out the slump andnow is arguably the best American player.

“That’s how I’d like to be,” Cink said.

It all starts Thursday in the first full-field event of the season, whereMark Wilson is the defending champion and Stricker is the star based on hisperformance last week on Maui.

Two dozen rookies get started, 11 of whom have never competed in a PGA Tourevent. Optimism is never higher than it is on the shores of Waikiki Beach at thestart of a new season. And yes, that includes Cink.

“I don’t call him Stewart,” caddie Frank Williams said. “I call him`comeback player of the year.”’

Cink isn’t ready to go that far, at least not yet. He has four tournaments—Honolulu, San Diego, Phoenix and L.A.—to see if he can get his world rankinghigh enough go to the Match Play Championship at the end of February. This is aRyder Cup year, and the last time Cink was not part of the U.S. team was atBrookline in 1999.

“Now it’s time to come out here and work,” he said. “And I’m reallylooking forward to seeing how I do.”

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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

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.