Johnson emerges with lead at Doral

By Doug FergusonMarch 13, 2011, 4:16 am

WGC-Cadillac ChampionshipDORAL, Fla. – Dustin Johnson didn’t start the season the way he wanted, not with only one decent chance at winning.

His start at the Cadillac Championship wasn’t much better.

On his opening tee shot Thursday at Doral, his drive sailed to the right and struck a spectator in the head. Turns out it was his grandfather, Art Whisnant, a former basketball star at South Carolina.

Suddenly, everything is looking up.

Johnson hit his stride and found his swagger Saturday on the back nine of the Blue Monster, shooting a 31 to emerge from a crowd of top players with a 7-under 65 and a two-shot lead going into the final round.

The 26-year-old American hit what he called a “bunt drive” that went 310 yards on the 17th, leaving him a wedge into 2 feet. That was the last of his eight birdies, and put him atop the leaderboard. A short time later, after Nick Watney missed two short birdie putts and put his tee shot into the water on No. 18, Johnson had the lead to himself.

“I played well today – drove it well, putt it well, hit the ball well,” Johnson said. “So I’m going to have to do that again tomorrow.”

One look at the guys behind him makes that clear.

Johnson was at 13-under 203, although seven players were within three shots of him, none lower than No. 31 in the world.

That group does not include Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, who finished before the leaders teed off and remain out of the mix. The surprise is that it doesn’t include Martin Kaymer, either. The new No. 1 was in the final group with Hunter Mahan, one shot out of the lead, until he took double bogey from the water on the third hole and struggled to a 74. Kaymer was seven shots back.

Johnson will play in the final group with Luke Donald, who took bogey on the final hole for a 66. Even so, Donald is in good position to capture a second straight World Golf Championship, and a victory could be enough to make him No. 2 in the world.

Watney, who had to settle for a 68 after his double bogey on the 18th, and Matt Kuchar (68) were with Donald at 11-under 205.

Adam Scott is making fast friends with his long putter. He had a 68 and was in the group another shot behind that included Francesco Molinari, Rory McIlroy and Mahan, who didn’t make a par over the last six holes – two birdies, four bogeys – and shot 71.

All of them will be chasing Johnson, who has a 54-hole lead for the first time other than at Pebble Beach. He won twice at Pebble in the regular PGA Tour event, but is perhaps more famous for losing a three-shot lead at the U.S. Open last summer when he shot 82.

For all his power, Johnson is a threat this week because of his putting.

He didn’t work on it once during the cold, rainy winter in South Carolina, and really didn’t put much attention on it earlier this year until after he lost in the first round of the Match Play Championship two weeks ago.

“I finally feel comfortable with the putter, so things are going a little better,” Johnson said.

He also got some help from swing coach Butch Harmon – who also works with Watney – on Saturday morning. Johnson asked him to check on his driver and his wedges, and then he put them to good use.

Johnson, considered to have the most potential of America’s young crop of players, is known for his audacious tee shots. He went from that “bunt drive” on the 17th to “swinging has hard as I could” on the 18th, a 326-yard blast that left him only a wedge to the green.

And that tee shot on Thursday that nailed his grandfather?

“Yeah, that was a hard drive,” he said, smiling. “He said it hit him on the fly, but it couldn’t have.”

For one thing, his grandfather wasn’t hurt.

Johnson could move into the top 10 in the world for the first time in his career. Donald, who moved to No. 3 with his win at the Match Play, could go all the way to No. 2, and it wouldn’t surprise him.

“I’m certainly playing very good golf right now, some of the best I’ve ever played,” said Donald, who ran off three birdies in a four-hole stretch around the turn and was bogey-free until a tee shot to the right, leaving him little chance of reaching the 18th green.

Few other contenders were pleased, mainly because of how they finished.

Watney looked as though he might have a two-shot lead, and instead was two shots behind. Molinari, who won the World Golf Championship in Shanghai in November, nearly went in the water on the last and took bogey.

Mahan kept in front most of the way until failing to birdie the par 5s on the back nine, and finishing with back-to-back bogeys.

“Out here, you hit it in the wrong place, you have a terrible angle to the hole and in the Bermuda rough, you can get a good lie or a bad lie,” he said. “Just didn’t make good swings and made some bad putts.”

Woods and Mickelson, playing for the third straight day together, didn’t inspire. Woods switched back to a mallet putter – the same one he tried in Australia last year – and the best he could manage was a 2-under 70 that left him 11 shots behind. Mickelson had a sloppy double bogey on the 14th and wound up with a 72, putting him at even-par 216.

Woods did not comment after his round. He told a tour official he was going to the range, but instead headed to the parking lot.

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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.