Day catches end of highly seen Olympic finish

By Doug FergusonAugust 16, 2016, 5:39 pm

RIO DE JANEIRO – Jason Day only watched one hole of golf from the Olympics, but at least he picked the right hole.

Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson were never separated by more than a shot in the final round until Rose made birdie on the 18th hole to win the gold medal, with Matt Kuchar making a late run for 63 and the bronze.

''I didn't watch any, not one shot, until the last hole,'' Day said Monday evening in a conference call. ''It was great to see Henrik and Justin duel it out. Kuch had an amazing run on the last day, and it looked like it was a very successful opening for golf to be back in the Olympics.

''Exciting stuff for those guys, and I'm sure they're on Cloud 9 right now heading home.''

Day is the No. 1 player in the world, and among the top four who chose not to go to Rio. He at least will get one chance to play for his country this year. The Australian spoke Monday evening to promote the World Cup of Golf, to be played Nov. 24-27 at Kingston Heath in Melbourne. He and Adam Scott will be back to defend their title from 2013 at Royal Melbourne.

In some respects, it can help fill the void of missing out on playing for his flag.

And there is part of him that is eager to see what kind of reception he gets.

Day has not been back to Australia since he and Scott won the World Cup. Scott was a national hero in 2013 as the Masters champion, the first Australian in a green jacket. Day recalls waiting on a cab outside the Crown Casino when Scott walked by with his green jacket.

''All the cool things he got to do, go places and have certain dinners and celebrations in his name, the awards that he got, especially during the late part of the year for how well he played, it was pretty special to see,'' Day said.

He returns as No. 1 in the world, the first Aussie to play at home as the world No. 1 since Greg Norman in 1997.

''Being an Australian that's been No. 1 in the world back home playing in Australia, that's a pretty cool moment to have,'' Day said.


OLYMPIC GOLF: Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Matt Kuchar provided a compelling final round for golf's return to the Olympics, and it showed in the ratings.

NBC and Golf Channel provided coverage of the final 1 hour, 37 minutes from Olympic Golf Course, with NBC picking up the final round when Matt Kuchar reached the 16th tee with an outside shot at winning the gold. Kuchar finished with a 63 and had to settle for a bronze. Rose and Stenson went to the final hole tied, and Rose won the gold medal with a pitch to 3 feet for the winning birdie.

NBC earned a 5.6 household rating with 8.8 million average viewers during that period. It was the highest-rated 90-minute window of golf in the final round this year behind only the Masters.

It was shown after synchronized swimming and before equestrian, which network officials believe attracted a younger audience and a higher percentage of women.

That's the Olympic difference.


LAST CHANCE: Rickie Fowler headed from Rio to North Carolina to play in the Wyndham Championship, mostly because there are only two weeks left to get one of the top eight qualifying spots for the Ryder Cup (he's at No. 12) and because of the FedEx Cup (he's No. 30).

That's a far better spot than some others.

The Wyndham Championship ends the regular season, with the top 125 advancing to the lucrative playoffs and, for many players, securing full cards for next season. On the bubble is Whee Kim, though being at No. 125 is reason to celebrate. He was at No. 154 until a tie for third last week in the John Deere Classic.

From Brett Stegmaier at No. 119 through Camilo Villegas at No. 150, only three players are not in the field at Sedgefield Country Club - Will Wilcox (No. 136), Padraig Harrington (No. 137) and Jamie Donaldson (No. 147).

Wilcox has a wrist injury and is planning to have surgery on Monday.

Harrington stayed in Rio for an extra week to take in the Olympics, and his job is secure next season because he won the Honda Classic in 2015.

Jimmy Walker is playing for the first time since his PGA Championship victory at Baltusrol. One noticeable absence is Russell Knox, who won the Travelers Championship two weeks ago and is No. 5 in the FedEx Cup. This was his last tournament to be eligible for Ryder Cup points, and the Scot is only 6.6 points behind the final spot in the European world points list. He now will have to hope to be a captain's pick.

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.

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.