Groggy golfers arrive for British Open

By Associated PressJuly 13, 2010, 4:12 pm

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Zach Johnson and another two dozen golfers were among the jetlagged players trudging around St. Andrews on Monday thinking as much about sleep patterns as British Open preparations.

The group had taken charter flights following the John Deere Classic in the U.S.. After an eight-hour flight across the Atlantic, plus a 100 kilometer drive from Edinburgh to St. Andrews, Johnson dropped off his bags at a rented house and headed straight to the world’s most historic course.

He officially registered for the tournament and got in a little putting, even strolling out to the green of the famous 17th – the “Road Hole.” But, with the first hints of a beard emerging on his normally clean-shaven face, this wasn’t a day to worry about his stroke.

“I’m just trying to stay up as long as I can,” Johnson said Monday. “I’m going to go eat a good meal – and then I’m going to bed.”

Paul Goydos, coming off a record-tying 59 at the John Deere and thrilled about getting into the Open as the final qualifier in the 156-player field, was too excited to sleep on the flight and was even more weary.

This has become a familiar ritual, made considerably more tolerable three years ago when officials at the John Deere tournament began arranging chartered flights to the British Open for anyone who agreed to play in their tournament.

For a fee of $1,250 per seat – which goes to the John Deere’s charity fund – golfers and their caddies can hop aboard a jet offering business-class amenities and cut hours off the time that would be required to fly commercial, which often entailed stops in Chicago and London.

“That was horrible,” Johnson recalled. “That’s not pleasant at all, especially when you’ve got to make connections at quite honestly two of the most trafficked and worst airports there are.”

The charter eliminates much of the hassle and one of the primary worries – whether a player’s clubs would actually show up in Britain at the same time as the player.

It’s one thing to be missing a shirt, quite another to be without that favorite putter, so John Deere officials make sure the players can see their clubs getting loaded aboard the compartment underneath before they climb aboard for the cross-Atlantic flight.

“They really accommodate the players there,” Goydos said. “It’s almost to the point of being embarrassing.”

Despite the greater convenience, its still less than ideal to be preparing for the British Open by touching down after a long flight just 72 hours before the first round.

“Does it put me at a disadvantage? I don’t know. It’s all I know,” Johnson said. “This is my seventh Open, and I’ve done it every year.”

This is Goydos’ first trip to St. Andrews – something he put on his list of goals at the beginning of the year. He’s 46 and this might be his only realistic chance to play an Open at the birthplace of golf, considering it only comes here every five years.

“There’s so much history here. This is basically where the game started,” Goydos said. “And then you look at all the top players who’ve won at St. Andrews. That’s one of the things you had to do to make your career.”

Goydos was runner-up at the John Deere to Steve Stricker, who was also on the charter. He wasn’t put out by the flight but the bus ride to St. Andrews which stretched from a scheduled one hour to more than double that due to traffic.

Even so, Stricker decided to come to the course and play all 18 holes – mainly to stay awake and expedite the adjustment to the six-hour time difference. The change of continents didn’t seem to affect his game – at the final hole, he knocked a wedge to 8 feet and rolled in the birdie putt.

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

Getty Images

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.

Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.