Notes Surprise in the Ryder Cup rankings

By Associated PressAugust 5, 2010, 1:31 am

AKRON, Ohio – Even avid golf fans might be surprised to see who is No. 4 in the U.S. Ryder Cup team rankings this week.

Tiger Woods? Nope. He’s ninth. Stewart Cink? He’s at No. 13.

Try Jeff Overton, hardly the name that comes to mind when you consider the best American players in 2010.

“It’s not like I’m Tiger Woods,” he said. “Maybe if we could ever win instead of finish second, maybe we’d have a little better chance of (being known).”

Overton is listed so high among U.S. golfers for the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor because he’s played consistently well all year. He’s had three seconds and two thirds, barely missing out on his first career win several times.

On Sunday at the Greenbrier Classic, it took Stewart Appleby’s stirring 59 in the final round to beat him. The 27-year-old Indiana University graduate also was runner-up at the Zurich Classic and the Byron Nelson.

“This year I’ve been able to get inside the top three a lot, but I haven’t been able to get that win,” he said Wednesday, the day before the start of the Bridgestone Invitational. “Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep plugging along. Like (former British Open champion) Ian Baker-Finch said, ‘You keep knocking on the door enough times, eventually something is going to happen.”’

Overton’s scoring average is 69.81, third best on the PGA Tour. He is 12th on the money list with more than $2.4 million. He’s up to No. 47 in the world rankings after starting the year at No. 186.

A native of Illinois, he is the son of a former baseball player and quarterback at Indiana State. He said he gets his competitive fire from his dad.

He also dates an opera singer.

Asked where they met, he laughed and said, “Bloomington, Ind., the No. 1 opera school in America.”

Overton said he knows about as much about opera as his girlfriend knows about golf.

For instance, his girlfriend’s mother came out to see him play once. He made a bogey and she said, “What did he do? He made a bogus?”

So far this year, he’s been anything but bogus when climbing those Ryder Cup charts.

“(Making the team) would be half the goal, and then the next half of the goal would be to figure out a way to go win the USA some points,” he said.


 

BY ANY OTHER NAME: Sometimes a golfer needs to not be so concerned about winning in order to win.

That was perhaps the case for Justin Rose for his first decade as a professional. In six full years (and parts of four or five others), he never won on American soil. Second-place finishes at the Texas Open in ’06, Bridgestone in ’07 and Memorial in ’08 not only whetted his appetite for winning, but also increased the questions about why he wasn’t winning.

Rose turned 30 last week but he’s been celebrating all year in the U.S.

Wins at the Memorial and AT&T National have pushed him up the charts in the world rankings. He was 70th to start the year but is now 19th. After years of promise mixed with disappointment, he is considered a threat to win every tournament.

“I said before I started winning that my game was in great shape,” he said on Wednesday. “I didn’t need to do anything different; I didn’t need to work on anything. I guess it was the patience factor of just letting it happen.”

Rose was born in South Africa and raised in England. He now has homes in London and Orlando, Fla.

Some athletes begin to press when they don’t meet their own or others’ expectations. The difference for Rose was letting go.

“The switch for me was … just letting it come out on the golf course, just letting my game sort of go to the first tee, not getting in my own way,” he said. “It’s a very simple mindset to talk about, much harder to do.”


 

59 FALLOUT: It’s difficult for the typical once-a-week golfer to even contemplate how someone shoots 59.

Stuart Appleby became the fifth player to shoot a 59 in a PGA Tour event when he won the Greenbrier Classic on Sunday by going 11-under over the last 18 holes.

Appleby, set to tee it off in Thursday’s opening round of the Bridgestone Invitational, turned the front side in 6 under. The thought immediately came to him that if he maintained that he might just win the tournament.

“Then I eagled 12 and I thought, ‘I’m on record pace,”’ he said. “I thought there’s nothing at the end of the round that’s going to stand out to be a real test if I’m playing any good. There’s no 500-yard, par-4s; there’s birdie opportunities there. The course was very benign.”

Still, he needed to continue to not just play well but to make birdies. As he traversed the back nine at the Old White, the word spread about what he had within his grasp. The pressure grew, because Appleby also knew.

“I thought, well, just got to keep hitting it close and see if I can make putts – and the putts just seemed to come to me,” he said.

Always, his primary incentive was catching, then staying ahead of Jeff Overton.

“I sort of had two motivating forces,” Appleby said. “One was to try and chase, and one was to also do something a bit unique.”


 

WHO’S NO. 1? Tiger Woods has been No. 1 in the world golf rankings for the past 270 weeks. But he could fall from that perch this weekend at the Bridgestone Invitational.

If Woods wins, he stays No. 1. If second-ranked Phil Mickelson wins, he takes over the top spot. If third-ranked Lee Westwood wins, and Tiger finishes third or worse, he could be the world’s top player.

Mickelson or Westwood could also take over No. 1 if they were to finish high and Woods were well back in the pack.


 

DIVOTS: The top 50 players in the world rankings are scheduled to play in the Bridgestone which has a purse of $8.5 million and pays $1.4 million to the winner. … An older woman stood by the first tee on Wednesday wearing a pink T-shirt that said, “You Thrill Me, Phil.” … Spectators who spend $75 on tournament merchandise receive a free ticket to Sunday’s round. … Appleby met his wife, Ashley, at a nearby restaurant 10 years ago during the Bridgestone. They’ve been married eight years.

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
Getty Images

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.