Weir not weary of playing new-look Bay Hill

By Associated PressMarch 26, 2010, 3:40 am

Arnold Palmer InvitationalORLANDO, Fla. – Not that long ago, Mike Weir wouldn’t even consider playing at Bay Hill.

A personal talk from Arnold Palmer changed that.

Weir was playing the Bob Hope Classic in 2005 and stopped at nearby Tradition Golf Club with a friend, bumping into Palmer in the locker room.

“I said, Hey, Mr. Palmer, how you doing?” Weir recalled. “And the first thing he said was, ‘You haven’t played my tournament in a few years.’ Didn’t say hello.

“I said, ‘No, I haven’t,”’ Weir continued. “He said, ‘Hey, Mike, I would love to have you come play.”’

He did more than that Thursday.

Weir shot a 5-under 67 in the opening round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, finishing one shot behind leaders J.B. Holmes and Davis Love III. Henrik Stenson also was tied with Weir.

After skipping the tournament four straight years, the Canadian has played four of the last five since his chat with Palmer. Weir’s struggles were a big reason he stopped playing the tournament – a tie for 17th in 2006 is his best finish during his latest span.

He credits Bay Hill’s big makeover in part for his improvement.

Among the major changes since last year: All the greens were revamped and replaced with a sand base 18 inches deep. The strain of grass was altered, tee boxes were upgraded and the course returned to a par 72 after experimenting with a par 70 the past three years.

“For a few years there, it was really hard on a medium-length hitter,” Weir said. “The greens were so firm; wedge shots were bouncing as high as this tent.

“It just wasn’t a great setup for me, even as much as I loved this tournament,” Weir added. “I didn’t see the point if I couldn’t contend. But I think he’s done a nice job blending that back.”

FAMILY TIES: Henrik Stenson has had a tougher time keeping up with his family this week than playing golf.

Not so easy with the Stensons.

The Swedish player’s wife, Emma, gave birth to a boy at the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando three weeks ago. Karl is the couple’s second child. Their 2-year-old daughter, Lisa, was born in Sweden. They live part of the year near Orlando, visit Sweden in the summer and make their permanent home in Dubai.

“So I guess if we have a third one, it better be in Dubai then to really make sure we spread them out,” Stenson joked.

And what countries will Karl’s passports say?

“Two passports. I’m thinking he behaves, he gets the Swedish one when he’s 18. Otherwise, he gets the American one,” Stenson said, chuckling. “That a good plan, do you think?”

For Stenson, playing golf is less complicated.

Stenson shot a 5-under 67 in the opening round at Bay Hill on Thursday. That put him in a tie with Mike Weir, one shot off leaders J.B. Holmes and Davis Love III.

Even with all the work that comes with a newborn, Stenson said he has stayed focused.

“A little bit less sleep, maybe,” he said. “But didn’t seem to effect me too bad today at least. I’ll blame that some other day.”

ELS CONTENDING: Ernie Els isn’t ready to say “he’s back.”

His play of late might suggest otherwise.

Els shot a 4-under 68 in the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Thursday, putting him in a four-way tie for fifth. The South African is only two weeks removed from ending the longest drought of his career at Doral, so he doesn’t want to get too excited with his recent resurgence.

“I feel good,” Els said. “I don’t want to feel like I’m totally back, you know, because I know I’ve still got a lot of work to do.”

Els’ victory at the CA Championship earlier this month was more relief than celebration. It was his first win since the 2008 Honda Classic.

The man who had once challenged Tiger Woods in majors had slipped off the top of leaderboard. That is, until recently.

His six-birdie day in the opening round again has him contention. For now, that’s enough to feel good about.

“You have to get the ball around the golf course, and I think I did that on the front nine, and then something clicked,” Els said. “So hopefully I can get on and push on from this.”

DIVOTS: With six-time winner Tiger Woods missing the tournament for the first time in his career, the gallery ballooned around Phil Mickelson. When Lefty teed off on No. 1, fans were pushing against the ropes from the tee box to the green in what was easily the day’s largest swarm. Mickelson shot a 1-under 71. … Byeong-Hun An, the 18-year-old amateur who earned an invitation to the Arnold Palmer Invitational by winning last year’s U.S. Amateur at Southern Hills, shot a 5-over 77. … Rain is expected overnight but not when play resumes Friday morning, with the forecast calling for partly cloudy skies and a high around 79 degrees.

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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.