Embarrassed McDowell bouncing back in Shanghai

By Doug FergusonNovember 3, 2011, 12:06 pm

SHANGHAI – Graeme McDowell packed a career of memories into one season, from his U.S. Open title at Pebble Beach to winning the match that gave Europe victory in the Ryder Cup. The Northern Irishman knew an encore was going to be tough.

He just wasn’t expecting this.

After a year in which just about everything has gone wrong, McDowell might have hit rock bottom last week at Valderrama in Spain when he couldn’t break 80 on the weekend – rounds of 81 and 82 – and finished in last place, 31 shots off the lead.

“We are pretty good at beating ourselves up,” McDowell said Thursday after making seven birdies in a roller-coaster round of 69 that left him four shots off the lead in the HSBC Champions. “We are all very good at punching ourselves when we are down. That’s the game. We love it and we hate. It’s a bit of a love-hate relationship, and last year was certainly a love relationship.”

He called last weekend one of the most embarrassing weekends of his career, even conceding that he quit on himself.

“I threw the towel in a little bit the last 27 holes, and it was embarrassing for me,” he said. “I had a long time to think about it coming over here. In the back of my mind, my game is not that far away.”

Encouragement came Tuesday at Sheshan International, when he worked with swing coach Pete Cowen for hours, placing shafts at different angles in the ground to groove his swing and try to find some control over the ball. They spoke Monday night, mapped out a plan and got to work the next day.

For most of the opening round, it appeared to be working.

McDowell ran off four birdies in a five-hole stretch early in his round and was atop the leaderboard, a strange place for him to be this year. And just like that, he was gone. On the par-3 17th, he tried to hit 5-wood and shoved it straight right and into the bushes, leading to a triple bogey. Two holes later, he made another bogey and was back to even for the day.

Instead of giving up, McDowell fought back this time. He birdied three of the next four holes, settled down to a string of pars and finished with a round that gave him at least mild encouragement.

“Very happy with the way I battled back,” McDowell said. “Seven birdies on this golf course, pretty happy with that.”

That might be the best news of all for him, because the U.S. Open champion hasn’t been very happy of late. The frustration has been evident, even the few times he has been in contention this year. McDowell chalks it up to wanting too much, especially after a year in which he just about had it all.

“I’ve been angrier this year with myself because I want it too much,” he said. “We are all guilty of wanting it too badly sometimes. This game has beat me up this year, there’s no doubt about it. I’m trying to get back to believing in myself and enjoying myself a little bit. But it’s hard, because you’re trying to prove things and you’re trying to emulate last year.”

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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.