Who will be PGA's next surprise champion?

By Brandel ChambleeJuly 27, 2016, 8:44 pm

SPRINGFIELD, N.J. – You can read all the columns and blogs you want about the PGA Championship, except this one, and you likely won't find the name of the eventual winner because, when it comes to surprises, the year's last major is like the start of a James Bond movie.

Since the PGA Championship went to medal play in 1958, which gives us 58 events to look at, there have been 25 players - 43 percent - whose victory was their first and only major win. Compare that with the same time period at The Open and the U.S. Open, where 17 players made it their maiden and only major, and the 15 who have done so at the Masters since 1958, and it's easy to see that the other three majors are far more predictable.

Keegan Bradley won the PGA in 2011 in his first major championship. Y.E. Yang and Rich Beem beat Tiger Woods in 2009 and 2002, respectively, the former when Tiger had the 54-hole lead and had been unbeatable in that position. Shaun Micheel had played in just two previous majors and was ranked 169th in the world when he did his best Johnny Miller imitation, hitting his approach to tap-in range at the last, and won the PGA Championship in 2003.

Who was the last man to get in the field in the 1991 PGA Championship is a question everybody can answer, because John Daly didn't just win, he elevated the status of a major championship almost on par with the way Gene Sarazen's albatross at the 15th in 1935 changed the Masters.

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There are a few things that contribute to the surprises we get at the PGA Championship. The combination of it being, except for 1971, the last major of the year, played in searing heat and humidity and subsequently, generally the softest setup of the majors, is the perfect recipe for surprises.

The best players come to the last major of the year more calloused by the scrutiny, more physically beat up by the demands of their stature, and that, combined with the summer heat, is taxing. Consider by contrast those players who don't have to plan for an hour or more a day to accommodate the demands of the media and you realize Bradley, Yang, Beem, David Toms, et al had more time to practice and sleep and recover than the stars they were trying to beat that week. And finally the softer conditions, which are less punishing to the miss, make the field more wide open than the other three majors.

You might point to the 2005 PGA Championship at Baltusrol and say that the nature of this golf course will allow the best to separate themselves this week. I am certainly inclined toward that line of reasoning, until you consider that 2005 was not a Ryder Cup year, not an Olympic year, not that it would have mattered then because golf wasn't in the Olympics, and the FedEx Cup didn't exist.

So as I consider the favorites this week I also give an eye to those that fit the mold of so many past PGA Championship winners. That takes me to names like Kevin Kisner, Andy Sullivan, Thomas Pieters, Brandon Stone, William McGirt, Bill Haas, Francesco Molinari, Brendan Steele and yes, a man who is just coming into his prime (forgive me) - Andrew Johnston.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.