McDowell hopes for another fast start at Mayakoba

By Associated PressNovember 9, 2016, 10:54 pm

Graeme McDowell didn't expect to get an early jump on his defense of the OHL Classic at Mayakoba, but when he missed the cut last week in Las Vegas he headed south to the eastern shores of Mexico with some work to do and some needed downtime on the beach to enjoy.

McDowell will be among the field of 132 players trying to keep their focus on the golf while competing in Playa del Carmen, Mexico's version of a Riviera of sun, surf and sand.

G-Mac came to this tournament last year looking to put a charge in his season and left with a win that carried huge momentum for the rest of the year.

"It was a very important victory for me and it opened up some nice doors for me and put me in some good positions in the FedExCup race," McDowell told a pre-tournament press conference on Tuesday.

"This time of the year is becoming very important for the PGA Tour and that's why we continue to see more and more players playing at this time of the year. It's so important that they get off to a fast start with so many great players now and it being so difficult to win."

McDowell, of Northern Ireland, held the 36-hole lead at last year's tournament but found himself trailing the lead by three strokes entering the final round.

Then a 5-under 66 in the fourth round, including an eight-foot birdie putt on the last hole, pushed him to 18-under 266 and into sudden-death with Jason Bohn and Russell Knox.

On the first extra hole, again No. 18, he hit a brilliant approach shot with a 5-iron from about 200 yards to within three feet for a birdie to turn back Knox and Bohn.

That gave McDowell, who won the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, his third career PGA Tour victory and first since the 2013 RBC Heritage.

"It was great to reconfirm to myself that when I put my mind to it, I can still compete at the highest level," McDowell said. "

"I suppose I'm disappointed that I haven't really kicked on in 2016 with that momentum, but this year has been a funny one. When it's been good, it's been really good; when it's been bad, I've been going home on Friday nights."

The OHL Classic at Mayakoba is the sixth event in the PGA Tour's wraparound schedule that bridges two years with 47 official events in 43 weeks.

That includes seven events during the fall of 2016 which will award FedExCup points. After a break, the season will resume in January with the traditional swing through Hawaii before moving to the West Coast.

El Camaleon Golf Club at the Mayakoba Resort is a Greg Norman-signature course. It will play as a 6,987-yard par-71 this week, with a routing that bends through three distinct landscapes -- mangrove jungles, limestone canals and oceanfront stretches of sand.

Seven of the nine past champions of the OHL Classic at Mayakoba are in the field this week, including Charley Hoffman, Harris English, John Huh, Johnson Wagner and Brian Gay.

Six Mexican golfers will also compete, led by Carlos Ortiz, a three-time winner and Player of the Year on the Tour in 2014.

McDowell is one of seven major tournament winners in the field, joining Ernie Els, Angel Cabrera, Keegan Bradley, Stewart Cink, Jim Furyk and Webb Simpson.

Furyk, who makes his first start of the season, said the course suits his game.

"Historically, I haven't played much in the fall because I play so much during the rest of the year, but with my wrist injury and surgery I only played 14 events last season," Furyk said.

"I'm fresh and I targeted coming here. I heard a lot of positives about the course here and the resort. I like the course and the greens roll pretty good. It's not overly long but you have to drive the ball in the fairways here."

The OHL Classic at Mayakoba made golf history when it became the first PGA TOUR co-sanctioned event to ever be contested outside of the United States and Canada in February of 2007.

To commemorate its 10-year anniversary, OHL and its founder Juan-Miguel Villar Mir increased the event's purse by $800,010, taking the total to $7,000,010, the largest prize money distributed at any golf tournament to date in Latin America.

The additional $10 dollars are designed to acknowledge the 10 years of the tournament's existence.

Continuing a trend from past seasons, three of the first five winners this season (Justin Thomas, Hideki Matsuyama and Cody Gribble) were under the age of 30 at the time of their victories.

Fourteen different winners under the age of 30 accounted for a total of 18 PGA Tour titles in 2015-16.

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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 ...

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.