Notes: Donald OK with losing top ranking

By Doug FergusonMarch 6, 2012, 11:44 pm

DORAL, Fla. — Don’t get the idea that Luke Donald was camped out in front of his television for the final hour of the Honda Classic, waiting to see if Rory McIlroy would win and replace him as No. 1 in the world.

“I was actually with my daughters at the playground,” Donald said Tuesday at Doral.

Donald was No. 1 for 40 weeks, the longest of anyone except for Tiger Woods in the last 15 years. Sunday was the 49th time the No. 1 ranking had traded hands, and only 10 players had a longer stay at the top than Donald. The record belongs to Woods at 281 weeks.

Donald’s first thought about seeing that McIlroy won was that he now had room for improvement, at least in the ranking.

“It’s hard to go very far when you’re No. 1,” Donald said. “But no, I didn’t give it too much thought. That’s what happens. I’ve had a little bit of a slow start. Rory has played well and deservedly overtook me. I’ve never really questioned the world ranking system. It’s an unbiased, mathematical system, and he’s done enough to get to No. 1.”

Donald and Lee Westwood, whom Donald supplanted at No. 1 last May, could return to the top this week at Doral, though that could depend on how McIlroy fares.

Westwood said he was talking to Donald on the putting green Tuesday. He greeted Donald by calling him “No. 2.”

“He looked at me and nodded and he said, `Yeah, it’s sort of a bit of a relief.’ He said, `There’s only one way to go when you’re No. 1.’ At least there’s more than one way to go at No. 2,” Westwood said. “You’re at the top there and everybody shoots at you. But I think that’s the position you want to be in. You want the position everyone is envious of.”

McIlroy became the fourth player in 16 months to be No. 1, and it has changed hands five times since Woods’ 281-week reign ended in November 2010.

“I think it adds a little bit of interest,” Donald said. “When Tiger was No. 1, no one really talked about the world rankings much, and maybe the big talking point was who was in the top 50.

GONE FROM DORAL: A couple of ugly finishes left Jim Furyk little hope of getting into Doral, where he is a past champion. First, he lost a 3-up lead to Dustin Johnson and was eliminated in the first round of the Match Play Championship. Then, he opened with a 68 at the Honda Classic but shot 74 to miss the cut by one shot. Furyk missed an 8-foot birdie putt on the last hole.

He is No. 61 in the world, ineligible for a World Golf Championship for the first time since this series began in 1999.

Ditto for Ernie Els, who has fallen to No. 65. Els narrowly got into the Match Play Championship and beat top-seeded Luke Donald in the opening round. But because all the top players were there, it was hard to move up without advancing deep into the bracket.

Ian Poulter has the longest streak of consecutive WGCs at 25, followed by Martin Kaymer and Lee Westwood at 16. That streak includes the HSBC Champions at Shanghai, which became a WGC event in 2009.

HONDA AND KOBE: Tiger Woods shot 62 in the final round of the Honda Classic, then retreated to the locker room to see if it would be enough for a playoff. He had the golf on one TV, and the Heat-Lakers game on the other.

“We had the volume turned down on the golf and up on the Lakers game,” Woods said Sunday.

One of them did better in the ratings.

ESPN drew a 5.1 overnight rating on the Heat-Lakers game, which the Lakers won. The Honda Classic at a 3.2 overnight rating.

Even so, the PGA Tour had an increase of 78 percent over the previous year, and it was the highest overnight rating for the Honda Classic since it registered a 3.4 in 2002.

It was the second straight week of gains for NBC Sports and golf. It had 3.3 million viewers for the final of the Match Play Championship, up 30 percent from the previous year and the highest for a championship match that did not feature Woods since the event began in 1999.

DIVOTS: Tiger Woods remains a big draw, even among his peers. Miguel Angel Carballo, the alternate thrown into the group with Woods and Lee Westwood after Ian Poulter withdrew, brought two flags into the scoring trailer for Woods to sign after the Argentine rookie missed the cut. … Jaime Diaz has been named editor-in-chief of Golf World magazine, replacing Geoff Russell, who left to become executive editor of the Golf Channel. … The Honda Classic set new attendance records last week with 161,700 confirmed spectators from Monday through Sunday, when Rory McIlroy held off Tiger Woods. It was the first time Woods played the event as a pro. … The Greenbrier Classic will give an exemption to the winner of the Haskins Award, given to the top Division I college golfer as voted on by NCAA players, coaches and golf media.

STAT OF THE WEEK: Greg Norman in 2002 was the last non-Asian to receive a special invitation from the Masters.

FINAL WORD: “My dad always said to me, `If you’re good enough, you’re old enough.”’—U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy, who at 22 went to No. 1 in the world.

Getty Images

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.