Notes Talking about practice Dubious Donald

By Associated PressApril 6, 2011, 8:48 pm
 AUGUSTA, Ga. – Robert Allenby decided to change up his practice routine this year.

He’s hardly practicing at all.

Allenby played the front nine on Wednesday, having played the back nine on Tuesday. That’s all the golf he has played at Augusta National this week, prior to the start of the Masters. That’s not unusual among players who prefer to take it easy during tournament week and instead make earlier trips to the course.

But Allenby didn’t even do that.

“You can overdo it,” he said. “That’s why I didn’t want to treat this any differently from a normal tournament.”

Any other week, he plays the 18-hole pro-am on Wednesday and then tees it up on Thursday. Augusta requires a bit more study than the Honda Classic or even Riviera, and far more is at stake. Even so, Allenby figured it was time to try something new.

“You put so much into this tournament, and you can get very little out of it,” said Allenby, who has never cracked the top 20 in 11 previous appearances. “So I’m changing my strategy. I might shoot 50 over – that’s a slight exaggeration – but at least I’ll have tried.”


DUBIOUS HONOR: So much for Nick Faldo’s pick to win the Masters.

The three-time winner said Wednesday afternoon that fellow Englishman Luke Donald is in such good form he ought to win this week at Augusta National. Donald then went out and showed off that form by winning the Par 3 Tournament, shooting a 5-under to finish a stroke ahead of former Masters champions Raymond Floyd and Angel Cabrera.

There’s only one problem: No Par 3 winner has ever gone on to capture the green jacket.

“I said, `Oh, poor Luke,”’ Lee Westwood said.

Donald, however, chose to see it differently.

“Some short shots that you hit out here are similar to the course, so it’s partly why I play some years. I think that it’s good preparation,” he said. “If you’re hitting wedges close, it’s only a good thing.”

Donald’s best finish at Augusta National is a tie for third in 2005. He has missed the cut two out of the last three years.


FIELD SIZE: The better the players get on the PGA Tour, the larger the field gets at the Masters.

It’s enough to prompt Augusta National chairman Billy Payne to say officials will take a close look at their criteria after this Masters to decide whether a change is required.

There are 99 players in the field, the most since 103 players in 1966.

“We say every year in response to that question that we look and we study the qualifications, which we do,” Payne said Wednesday. “But we are really going to look at it this year, because there is a maximum number of competitors for which we can give the experience that we want them to have and do it in a way that’s manageable. The 100 pushes that limit quite significantly.”

The biggest change over the past few years has been taking the field of the 30-man Tour Championship to conclude the FedEx Cup, along with the top 30 on the PGA Tour money list. The Masters also began taking winners of PGA Tour events, as long as they are not opposite-field events or part of the Fall Series.

Kevin Streelman and Kevin Na got into the Masters based on getting to the Tour Championship. All that was required of Streelman was finishing third in a playoff event. What also increased the field were 10 players who won PGA Tour events. It’s possible that Tiger Woods not winning and Phil Mickelson winning just once in the last year contributed to that.

“The trends vary every year, and we do look at that and we’ll have a thorough evaluation after the tournament this year,” said Fred Ridley, chairman of the Masters’ competition committee. “And we’ll make adjustments if we think it’s necessary.”


TECHNOLOGY AT AUGUSTA ... SORT OF: Featuring the Masters in a video game is one thing. Tricking out Augusta National with video boards and electronic scoreboards is quite another.

Though Augusta National has embraced digital technology in hopes of increasing participation in the game, there is a line it will not cross, chairman Billy Payne said Wednesday.

“We already have cutting-edge technology, but most of it is buried underground,” Payne said in his annual address. “You’re not going to see any video boards or those kind of things out there.”

The Masters has one of the most advanced web sites in sports, with eight live video channels making fans feel as if they’re at Augusta National even as they watch from the office or home. There will be live feeds from Amen Corner, the 15th and 16th holes and the practice range when the tournament starts Thursday, and a DVR-like function will allow people to stop and rewind coverage.

There will also be a 3-D video stream, which the Masters said is the only live one available on the Internet.

The first Masters app for the iPad also was unveiled last week, which Payne said will complement the broadcast coverage. It includes on-demand features and highlights, as well as a digital simulcast of CBS’ weekend broadcast.

“We have literally tens of millions or hundreds of millions of fans, who through recent times, have acquired the capability and capacity to see the Masters in ways they have not been able to do historically,” Payne said.

Taking that one step further, the Masters is the backdrop for the latest edition of EA Sports’ popular “Tiger Woods PGA Tour” franchise, which Payne said has already been “an enormous success.”

“This decision was completely based on our motivation to positively influence the growth and visibility of the sport of golf,” Payne said. “Playing video games is a popular entertainment choice for kids today, and our involvement just may, we hope, inspire greater appreciation for golf, and in turn, encourage participation.” 

He can see that firsthand in his own family.

Payne said he took on his 12-year-old grandson, Bo, in match play in the new game, and had to give up after nine holes. He was down seven.

“I told him my back was hurting,” Payne said, drawing laughter.

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

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.