Tiger the closer cant close another one

By Associated PressJune 21, 2010, 8:21 am

2010 U.S. Open

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – The leader was imploding just behind him, and a nobody was playing alongside him. It seemed the perfect time for Tiger Woods to step up and finally answer at least some of the questions about him.

Not the one posed by the banner drawn by a plane overhead. It got a cheap laugh from the gallery but the joke was a tired one, even on Father’s Day.

“Tiger, are you my daddy?” it read.

A better question might have been posed a few hours later.

“Tiger, why can’t you finish the job on Sunday anymore?”

The answer was probably out there somewhere on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific, where Graeme McDowell played the kind of solid Sunday golf Woods used to be known for to win the U.S. Open. Try as we might, though, it was hard to pinpoint one good reason why the greatest closer in the game can’t seem to close the show these days.

Yes, his putting was bad. Yes, his iron shots weren’t terribly accurate.

But all he needed to do was shoot even par to win his 15th major championship. And he couldn’t even come close.

The old Tiger would have wrapped this one up before he even got to the 18th hole. He and caddie Steve Williams could have had a few laughs walking down the final fairway talking about what a dummy Dustin Johnson is.

The new Tiger was out of contention by the time he reached the iconic final hole. Even then he couldn’t find the fairway off the tee.

The record will show he tied Phil Mickelson for fourth place, certainly a respectable showing by most standards. But Tiger Woods was never one to be measured by most standards, especially on a course where he won the Open by an incredible 15 shots a decade before.

Maybe it’s time to do some new measuring.

There were hints even before the sex scandal that sent him into hiding and then into rehab that there were cracks in the Woods’ facade. They were readily apparent when Woods lost a final round lead for the first time in a major and was beaten by Y.E. Yang for the PGA Championship.

Call that one a fluke, if you will. But now Woods has lost three majors in a row that he had a chance to win on Sunday, and he seems as perplexed as anyone about the reasons why.

Father’s Day without a family to celebrate with? Who knows.

Inability to focus when it matters most because his mind is still on other things? Possibly.

Maybe, though, it’s as simple as this: Woods can’t find the killer instinct he once carried around the course with a swagger. He’s lost the edge that always allowed him to pour in putts seemingly at will when he needed them the most.

The old Tiger wouldn’t have left a 30-footer eight feet short on the first hole, then miss the next one to get off to a stumbling start. The old Tiger would have gotten up-and-down on the par 3 12th when he so desperately needed it, and would have holed a birdie putt or two on the back nine when the tournament still was there for the taking.

The old Tiger would have made this a contest early, and made it his Open late.

Woods himself didn’t offer much insight before gassing up the private jet and getting out of town.

“I feel like I can play now,” he said. “I’ve got a feel for my game, my shape of my shots, what I’m working on.”

What had to be especially frustrating to the greatest player of his era was that this Open was there for the taking. Johnson threw away a three-shot lead and his chances with some early blunders, Mickelson couldn’t get anything going, and Ernie Els was consistently inconsistent.

That left McDowell and Woods’ playing partner, Gregory Havret of France, to dispose of. Woods didn’t come close, following Saturday’s sterling 66 with a bloated 75 that seemed preordained the minute he three-putted the first green.

Woods, of course, wasn’t the only one who had issues with a course that finally bared its teeth on Sunday. Mickelson shot a 73 just when it seemed the perfect time for him to capitalize on his Masters win and pass Woods to become the No. 1 player in golf.

And Els blew his chance to become a part of a new Big Three by taking his third Open title – and first in 13 years.

But golf has revolved around what Woods does for more than a decade now, and his failings are the ones that are always magnified. That’s especially true when he has been stuck on 14 major titles for two years and may now have trouble breaking the record of 18 set by Jack Nicklaus that most people figured was a lock.

On this day, though, the fist pumps that offered such hope a day before were a mere memory. The focused scowl was replaced by a perplexed gaze.

Another major championship. Another final round failing.

Outplayed by a Frenchman, of all things.

Tiger Woods in a red shirt on Sunday used to mean something special.

Somehow it just doesn’t anymore.

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.