Marucci Merion set for Walker Cup showdown

By Associated PressSeptember 11, 2009, 2:39 am

USGAPHILADELPHIA – Ben Hogan and Bobby Jones left their mark at Merion Golf Club’s East Course. Now, a member of the venerable club will try to add to its legacy.

George “Buddy” Marucci Jr. will lead the two-time defending champion U.S. team against Great Britain and Ireland in the 42nd Walker Cup this weekend in suburban Philadelphia.

Marucci also was in charge of the U.S. team in 2007, when the Americans pulled off a dramatic 12 1/2 -11 1/2 victory at Royal County Down in Northern Ireland in the amateur equivalent of the Ryder Cup. The U.S. team ended a streak of three consecutive losses in 2005.

The weekend competition consists of four alternate-shot and eight singles matches on Saturday, followed by four alternate-shot and 10 singles matches Sunday.

The U.S. team should benefit from their captain’s intimate knowledge of the slick greens and rolling fairways of the storied layout, which is hosting its 18th USGA event.

Buddy Marucci 2007 Walker Cup
Buddy Marucci captained the winning 2007 U.S. Walker Cup team at Royal County Down Golf Club. (Getty Images)


Marucci grew up in a house just off the eighth green of Merion East, where Jones completed the Grand Slam in 1930, and Hogan claimed the U.S. Open in 1950, one year after surviving a horrible car crash.

“Merion is very important to me,” Marucci said. “Certainly winning at Merion would be very, very special.”

Marucci said he is more excited than nervous to have the event at his home club.

And, there’s an excitement in the air at Merion, as the event is considered a trial run for when the club hosts the U.S. Open in 2013.

Jack Whitaker, a Philadelphia native and Merion member who was part of three Walker Cup TV broadcasts, expects the competition to be every bit as good as that of the Ryder Cup, without the raucous gallery.

“It’s a real privilege to have the Walker Cup at Merion and to have a Merion member as the defending captain,” Whitaker said in an e-mail to the Associated Press. “Though not as popular as the Ryder Cup, the Walker Cup is one of the last important amateur events left on the sports calendar. … It once again defines the word amateur as being one who does it for the love of the game, not one who does something poorly.”

While speaking of all amateurs, Whitaker’s comment best describes Marucci.

Once best known as the 43-year-old opponent who lost to Tiger Woods on the last hole of the 36-hole final of the 1995 U.S. Amateur, Marucci, a lifelong amateur, has found success late in his golf career.

A participant in more than 50 USGA events, including 18 U.S. Amateurs, Marucci broke through for his only national championship in 2008 at the Senior Amateur Championship.

He played for the U.S. Walker Cup team in 1995 and ’97, and compiled a 3-0 record in alternate-shot matches and a 1-1-1 singles mark.

Marucci’s interest in competitive golf began innocently enough. The 8-year-old sneaked onto the East Course in 1960 and watched Jack Nicklaus and a team of Americans win the Eisenhower Cup in the World Amateur Team Championship.

“I think that is the first time I realized that something like that existed,” Marucci said. “I can’t tell you that I understood what was going on, but I kind of liked it.”

Marucci got serious about golf in high school and had a solid college career at Maryland.

He chose the business world over the nomadic life of a pro golfer, a decision that was made easier when he considered the talent of his peers.

“My era was (Ben) Crenshaw, (Tom) Kite and Lanny Wadkins,” Marucci said. “I was smart enough to know those guys were a lot better than I was. … It was more of a lifestyle issue than anything else. I just don’t think I would have enjoyed it.”

Marucci went to work for his father’s CPA firm out of college, and then worked for a few years on Wall Street. He returned to the Philadelphia area to get involved in commercial real estate development, a move that allowed him time to get back into golf.

He enjoyed plenty of success locally, winning the Pennsylvania Amateur four times and the Philadelphia Amateur twice.

Unable to defend his Senior Am title this year because of his obligations as coach of the Walker Cup team, Marucci said he wouldn’t trade playing for coaching.

“Being captain of the team is the nicest thing I’ve ever done,” Marucci said. “I’d trade a lot of the things I’ve done for this opportunity.”

Getty Images

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.