McDowell adds Ryder Cup to growing resume

By Associated PressOctober 4, 2010, 11:32 pm

Ryder Cup

NEWPORT, Wales – Graeme McDowell’s day began later than most, which was fine with him. The last player off the tee in the Ryder Cup, he wanted nothing more than a nice relaxing round of golf, followed by some celebrating with the rest of a European team that seemed to be on its way to an easy win at home.

What he got was the toughest back nine of his life, and a place in Ryder Cup history.

Enjoying his golf one minute, he was shaking inside the next. Like a condemned man heading to the gallows, he knew it would soon be his turn.

Results from the 38th Ryder Cup

Session 1 Fourballs
Session 2 Foursomes
Session 3 Foursomes
Session 3 Fourballs
Session 4 Singles

“I didn’t want it to come down to me, that’s for sure,” McDowell said. “I hoped these guys beside me were able to do the job and my caddie was going to give me the nod at one point to relax and to know that we had done the job.”

The job, though, was his. McDowell knew it from the minute he got to the 10th green, looked up at the leaderboard and started to do the math.

The Americans were surging. The Europeans were just trying to hang on.

“I was imagining losing and I was imagining winning in the same breath,” McDowell said. “There was a lot of negativity in my head.”

Such is the pressure of the Ryder Cup, which brings out emotions players never knew they had. Just a few months ago McDowell won a U.S. Open by having the steely resolve to make par on the 18th hole at Pebble Beach, but this was something different.

“This is another stratosphere compared to Pebble Beach,” McDowell said.

Indeed, his final match at Ryder Cup meant everything, and McDowell delivered just when it seemed everything was slipping away.

A brilliant birdie on the difficult 16th gave him some breathing room. A 4-iron to just off the green on the par-3 17th did the rest.

A day that began with Europe comfortably ahead and McDowell’s match against Hunter Mahan being played for little more than bragging rights, ended with McDowell in the center of a wild mass of people who raced onto the 17th green to celebrate.

The party traveled to the 18th green, to the balcony of the Celtic Manor clubhouse where McDowell ran down a long line of fans, slapping hands with anyone who wanted to touch Europe’s new golfing hero.

It was a remarkable scene for the 31-year-old from Northern Ireland, who in the space of less than four months went from being a decent player on the European Tour to a major champion and now the man who saved Europe from itself on the first Monday in Ryder Cup history.

He somehow was able to conquer his worst fears when they very nearly got the better of him.

“I can safely say that I’ve never felt that nervous on a golf course in my life before,” McDowell said.

The win came on the same course where McDowell’s magical run began the first week in June, when he shot 64 and 63 in the final two rounds to win the Welsh Open. That moved him into position to make his second Ryder Cup team, and two weeks later he stunned the golf world with a gritty final round to become the first European in 40 years to win the U.S. Open.

Not a bad season for any player, but nothing compared to this.

“Obviously, I was out there trying to win it for me, for my 11 teammates, for Colin, for Europe, for all of those fans out there,” McDowell said. “It was a different level completely to what Pebble Beach was, and this is why this golf tournament is extremely special and will continue to be one of the greatest – probably the greatest golf event on the planet.”

McDowell always figured to be in the spotlight in this Ryder Cup, if only because European captain Colin Montgomerie always intended to match him with countryman Rory McIlroy, a 21-year-old superstar in the making. The two played decently together, going 1-1-1 in team matches, but McDowell was struggling with his swing and not doing anything to indicate that he would shine in the finals.

Montgomerie thought differently, making a strategic decision to hold McDowell in reserve and send him off in the final match just in case things turned sour for a European team that came into the day with a 9 1/2 -6 1/2 -point lead that seemed almost insurmountable.

Montgomerie knew what happened at Pebble Beach. He figured a player who could withstand the pressure to win his first major championship could withstand the pressure of being the closer if it somehow came to be.

“There was a reason Graeme was there and it worked out brilliantly,” Montgomerie said.

While McDowell knew from the 10th green on that his match was going to count, he wasn’t sure how much until he hit his drive on the difficult 16th hole and was walking to the ball in the middle of the fairway. By then, what had been a 3-up lead had shrunk to a one-hole lead, and McDowell had lost the previous hole with a flubbed chip.

Word reached McDowell on the fairway that Rickie Fowler had birdied the last four holes to salvage a half point for the Americans. Now, instead of simply needing to tie his match for Europe to win, McDowell needed to win it.

His 6-iron shot headed for the green and finished 15 feet away, as the crowd roared and his teammates gave each other high-fives. Then McDowell stroked the putt and it caught the right edge, falling in for a birdie that put him 2-up with 2 to go.

“The greatest second shot and greatest putt that I’ve hit in my career,” McDowell said.

Not long after, the greatest celebration of his career began.

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.