This Heritage likely last one unless sponsor found

By Associated PressFebruary 28, 2011, 11:24 pm

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (AP)—Time is running out for the Heritage golftournament, the event that features the picturesque Harbour Town lighthouse.

PGA Tour vice president Ty Votaw said Monday the tournament has to find areplacement for longtime sponsor Verizon if it hopes to continue past April.

“I think it’s imperative for the long-term future of the event to secure atitle sponsor,” Votaw said.

The Heritage is scheduled for April 21-24 and, for the first time in 25years, won’t have Verizon as its main sponsor. The company announced nearly 18months ago that it would cease its major backing of the event after 2010.

Tour officials and tournament organizers have worked closely since then todiscover a replacement—without much luck.

“I’ve had to keep up on my blood pressure medicine,” Heritage tournamentdirector Steve Wilmot said.

The Heritage has been a springtime tradition for decades, as much for PeteDye’s maddening Harbour Town Golf Links as for its breezy, seaside setting atSea Pines Resort. The windswept 18th hole with its red-and-white stripedlighthouse in the background is one of the PGA Tour’s most enduring settings.

It was also a place for the pros who played to unwind and take a few breathsafter the pressure-cooker of the Masters, the year’s first major championship.

Ernie Els and his family were often seen riding bikes on Sea Pines’ narrowpathways, pros brought their families to the beach for some relaxation, and eventhe course—at just over 6,900 yards—was a welcome change.

“It’s the anti-Augusta,” two-time Heritage champion Stewart Cink said atlast year’s event.

Its list of champions include luminaries such as Arnold Palmer , JackNicklaus and Greg Norman . Jim Furyk took the title in a playoff last spring.

“We know we have the support of the players,” Wilmot said.

It’s the support of business that’s essential for the Heritage to survive,Votaw said.

The PGA Tour has either renewed sponsorship or found new backers at 27events since 2009, according to Votaw. He’s optimistic the Heritage can becomeNo. 28. Heritage and tour officials have talked with companies in recent weeksopen to more discussions about backing Hilton Head.

“We hope to be able to make a lot of people happy over the next severalweeks if those conversations continue in the manner they have,” Votaw said.

Wilmot says he’s gotten continued support from South Carolina leadership,including new Gov. Nikki Haley. At a tourism conference, Haley pledged to dowhat she could to assist the tournament in finding a backer.

The tournament commissioned a study last year that found the VerizonHeritage brought nearly $82 million to South Carolina and its coastal region.The survey was conducted by Clemson University’s International Institute forTourism Research and Development with help from USC Beaufort.

The Heritage ranks as one of the state’s highest-profile pro sporting eventsalongside the WTA’s Family Circle cup at Daniel Island and NASCAR’s Southern 500at Darlington Raceway.

The Heritage Classic Foundation scraped together whatever it could to put onthis year’s tournament. It depleted much of its reserves in underwriting a $4million guarantee to put on the 2011, Wilmot said. The town of Hilton Head alsovoted to give up to $1 million for the tournament if it can’t find a sponsor.

Wilmot will be traveling to PGA Tour headquarters in Ponte Vedra, Fla., in afew weeks to go over bottom-line scenarios to see if a 2012 Heritage ispossible.

“We’re approaching the 12th hour,” he said. “There is a sense of urgencyhere.”

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.