Congressional Offers Major Feeling

By Associated PressJune 8, 2005, 4:00 pm
BETHESDA, Md. -- Eight of the top 10 players in the world are in the field, and the venue is the challenging Blue Course at the posh Congressional Country Club, home of U.S. Opens past and future.
 
This year, for a change, the Booz Allen Classic has everything you'd want in a major -- except Tiger Woods.
 
'Coming back brings back memories of a major championship,' said Phil Mickelson, who played in the U.S. Open here in 1997 and plans to do so again six years from now. 'Coming here in 2011 is exciting for us. Everyone is excited to be here, and it does feel like a major.'
 
Vijay Singh and Ernie Els
Vijay Singh and Ernie Els are just two of the big names on hand this week.
Major enough to attract players such as Spain's Sergio Garcia, who never played this event when it was at the much-maligned TPC at Avenel, located about a mile down the road. Garcia bypassed Jack Nicklaus' farewell appearance at the Memorial last week so he could focus on coming here to experience the tight fairways, thick rough, small greens and the diabolical signature No. 17 downslope approach shot to a hard-to-hit peninsula.
 
'What a back nine we have here. It's amazing,' Garcia said after Wednesday's pro-am. 'I remember watching in '97. I wanted to come and play Congressional. It was a good opportunity to play a course with so much history. I didn't want to take the chance of missing this week.'
 
Ditto Retief Goosen, who will try to defend his U.S. Open title next week in Pinehurst, N.C.
 
'I think the guys would like to play this type of golf course more often,' said Goosen, also making his Booz Allen debut. 'I think this is a true test of your golf. You really cannot get away with any bad part of your game around here.'
 
The course and the calendar have made for a rare confluence of circumstances for a tournament that usually struggles to attract big names. The Booz Allen has historically been known for producing first-time winners from second-tier fields.
 
'There's probably a half-dozen to a dozen guys who usually don't play the week before a major who are playing this week because of where it is,' Chris DiMarco said. 'It's a great test for next week.'
 
Woods is the notable exception. Even the temptation of Congressional wasn't enough to get him to break his long-standing routine of taking the week off before a major. David Toms is the other top-10 player not in the field.
 
Booz Allen received permission to play at Congressional this year to give the PGA Tour time to renovate Avenel, but no work has been done and none will be done by the time the event returns there next year. That has not been a welcome development for Booz Allen Hamilton chairman Ralph Shrader, who must decide next year whether he wants his company to continue sponsoring the tournament.
 
Shrader and PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem met Tuesday night to discuss the matter, with Finchem outlining a possible timetable for renovations after the 2006 tournament.
 
The only top player who might prefer to be at Avenel is Adam Scott, who won last year's tournament by four strokes. Scott has the strange sensation of defending a title on a course he has never played.
 
'It would have been nice to go back to Avenel,' Scott said. 'But this is a great course, a great field. It's going to a be tough week to defend the title.'
 
The more fitting defending champion -- the defending Congressional champion, actually -- is Ernie Els, who won his second U.S. Open title in 1997.
 
'I was 27, and it seems like just yesterday,' Els said. 'I remember a lot of shots I made, and when I made the putt at 18, it's probably the most emotion I've ever shown.'
 
Related Links:
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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 ...


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

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    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.


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    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.

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    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.