Garrigus Reason to be happy even in defeat

By Doug FergusonJanuary 12, 2011, 2:15 am

PGA TourHONOLULU – The day after missing a 3-foot putt to lose in a playoff, Robert Garrigus couldn’t eat.

His mind was a mess, his nerves still jangled. He tried to explain his feelings to his family, but the words sounded hollow and he felt no one could truly understand except him. You see, Garrigus grew up in Oregon, and he couldn’t stop thinking about the BCS Championship game that night, which his beloved Ducks wound up losing.

As for the golf?

This is a guy who once feared drugs and drinking might ruin his career, if not his life. He spent 30 days in rehab, where his chores included shoveling horse manure into a wheelbarrow, pushing it up a hill to unload it, and going back down for more. Until last week at Kapalua, the only tournament he ever played without a cut was Q-school.

Yes, it was disappointing to lose that way, but only for a minute.

Devastating? Please.

“Life is too good to complain,” Garrigus said.

It’s not an act. Considering where his life has taken him, it can’t be. If people are just now discovering the honest and refreshing outlook of Garrigus, there’s a reason for that. Until last year, he had not done anything to make many people pay attention to him, except that he hits the ball a mile and uses a 28-inch putter that barely reaches his knees.

“I’ve always had that attitude,” he said. “I’ve lost 133 golf tournaments, and no one really asked me about until Memphis.”

It was at the St. Jude Classic where Garrigus first got noticed, and it was forgettable by most standards. Standing on the 18th tee with a three-shot lead, he hit into the water and into the trees and had to take triple bogey, then lost in a playoff to Lee Westwood.

He blamed it on stupidity, shrugged and said he would do better the next time. And he did, coming from five shots behind in the final round of the final tournament of the year to win at Disney.

And despite his playoff loss to Jonathan Byrd in the Tournament of Champions, the 33-year-old believes he’s in for a big year.

He’ll understand if no one believes him, considering that until last year, Garrigus had kept his card only once by finishing 74th on the money list in 2007. But he reached a point where he thought he should be better than a fringe player, and he set out to prove it.

Garrigus has led the PGA Tour in driving distance the last two years, but his attention shifted to the short game. He spent hours at home working on his wedges, which helped him to win at Disney and gave him a shot at Kapalua.

He should have had the advantage with his length, but he hit a poor chip from the front of the par-5 18th green and had to settle for par. The next hole was No. 1, which had haunted Garrigus all week. He made double bogey Saturday, and a bogey in the final round. Despite having a 9-iron to the green – Byrd was hitting 3-iron – he came up 40 feet short, and three-putted for yet another bogey.

He lost.

And then he smiled.

“A great display of sportsmanship,” Byrd said. “He’s smiling in the playoff, he was probably smiling when he doubled the first hole yesterday and he was smiling after he missed that putt. My hat’s off to him.”

Garrigus hasn’t always been that way.

A top junior player in Oregon, scholarship offers were limited because of his poor grades. With his mother working two jobs, Garrigus went to Arizona to work at a country club and save money to attend Scottsdale Community College. After two years, UNLV offered him a partial scholarship. Garrigus didn’t think Las Vegas and college was a good fit for him, so he turned pro at 19 and hit the mini-tours.

By then, parties were a big part of his lifestyle. Too much drinking, too much pot.

He checked himself into a 30-day program at Calvary Ranch in 2003, a faith-based recovery program near San Diego. He opened the Bible, attended church three times a week and stayed busy in ways he would not have imagined.

He hauled manure. He dug firewalls. One of his jobs was to rake the gravel driveway after every car came through to keep it orderly. He showed up weighing 150 pounds and gained 25 pounds of muscle in a month.

“It was humbling,” Garrigus said. “But it’s everything I am today. I spent 30 days to change the rest of my life. It was the hardest 30 days of my life, but after that, it’s been a breeze to stay sober. The things I get to do for a living? Rarely will you hear me complain about anything on tour. It’s nothing compared to what it was before.”

Garrigus met his wife, Ami, shortly after getting out of rehab. They were on a blind date with a friend of his from Calvary Ranch, who already was drinking again. Garrigus asked her if they could meet again in better circumstances. They were engaged in four months, married a year later.

The honeymoon was on Maui, of all places. Garrigus recalls going over to the Plantation Course at Kapalua to play golf. Asked what he did on the first hole, he remembers making a birdie.

Going back to Kapalua as a PGA Tour winner, it’s easy to see why a bogey didn’t bother him so much.

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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.