Notes Weir on the slow track back Masters field

By Doug FergusonFebruary 16, 2011, 3:35 am

PGA TourPEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – If the cashier at a Utah department store recognized Mike Weir, imagine the surprise of seeing the former Masters champion and eight-time PGA Tour winner buying a bag of plastic golf balls.

“No, I don’t think I’ve ever bought those before,” Weir said.

It spoke to the severity of pain in his right elbow, where he partially tore tendons a year ago at Hilton Head. Weir tried to play through it the rest of the 2010 season but missed the cut in seven of 10 tournaments and never cracked the top 30 in the other three.

“It was four or five months of poor golf and I shouldn’t have been out there,” Weir said. “It was kind of a year that was wasted. There’s definitely a stubborn side to me, a hockey mentality that I can tough this out. I thought it was bad tendinitis. I was playing every day and it kept getting worse. To play when you’re scared to hit the ball is not good.”

That’s where the plastic golf balls come in.

Weir didn’t pick up a club for three months to rest his elbow, and he was eager to get back to work. In the basement of his Utah home, he grabbed a 6-iron to make an easy swing.

“Just the impact of the ball on the tee hurt,” Weir said. “I called the doctors and said, ‘That hurts.’ And they said, ‘That’s good.’ It’s scar tissue and I had to break through that.”

So he went to the store to buy plastic balls to soften the blow.

“That’s how I started my rehab – little dink shots with plastic balls,” he said. “After a month of that, I was hitting wedges off the ground.”

Weir said he is at 90 percent strength. He can produce any swing, even digging a ball out of the rough without flinching. The Canadian is on a major medical exemption, but has only two tournaments remaining to earn $217,097 for full status the rest of the year.

He is not worried about that. Nor is he worried about a world ranking that has plummeted to No. 214, after ending 2009 at No. 36. This is a Presidents Cup year, and Weir risks being left off the International side for the first time since 1998.

He is not bitter about his lost year. All things considered, Weir feels fortunate.

“I just want to get back,” he said. “Honestly, I feel lucky to be playing. When I came back after three months off and was chipping those balls, I thought, ‘Wow, this is worst than I thought.’ So I feel grateful to be out here. Whether it takes a few months or six months, I feel like I’m on the right track.”


MASTERS FIELD: Through six PGA Tour events this year, four players have earned a spot in the Masters. There are six weeks left before Augusta National again uses the top 50 in the world ranking to issue invitations. Seven PGA Tour events remain where the winner can qualify for the Masters.

Ninety-five eligible players are expected to compete at the Masters.

The good news for Augusta National is that everyone currently in the top 50 already is eligible. Depending on how the next seven weeks turn out, the Masters field has a chance to top 100 players for the first time since 1966.

NEW NO. 1: The LPGA finally gets under way this week in Thailand, and the player to beat is no mystery.

Yani Tseng, the 22-year-old from Taiwan, already has won three majors and was the LPGA Player of the Year in 2010. She won two tournaments in Australia to rise to No. 1 in the world.

Tseng’s goal was to get to No. 1. She just didn’t think she would get there before the LPGA season began.

“I still have another 10 months to go,” Tseng said. “I just need to be very patient and keep working hard. I still have a lot of things to learn, too.”


O’HAIR’S CUT: Sean O’Hair made his first cut of the year at Pebble Beach, but it’s not as if he’s off to a slow start.

O’Hair didn’t start his season until Phoenix, staying home in Philadelphia as his wife neared her due date. Trevor Ryan was born Jan. 20, giving the O’Hair family – Sean is only 28 – four children.

Plus, the winter was particularly cold. O’Hair hasn’t played much golf lately.

“I just wanted to be around the kids, and be around Jackie before the baby was born,” O’Hair said.

He finally went down to Florida to get some practice before heading to Phoenix. O’Hair found himself struggling off the tee with the odd snap hook, and found that the parts of his game that should be solid (driving and long irons) have been bad, while his short game has carried him so far.


COMEDY & MEMORY: Perhaps it was only fitting that Jesper Parnevik’s partner at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am was comedian Tom Dreesen, a profession Parnevik knows well.

His father, Bo, was one of the most famous comedians in Sweden.

“I asked him if his father was funny at home and he said he really wasn’t, which didn’t surprise me,” Dreesen said. “Most comedians, by nature, are insecure.”

Parnevik’s favorite memories of his father were on the road in the summer, for that’s when they played golf.

“I toured with him in the summer,” Parnevik said. “He’s the one who got me into golf. He got the golf bug big-time. When he went on summer tours, he only hired musicians and technicians who played golf. And they only did shows by good golf courses. They performed at night, and we played all day.”

There was one occasion, however, when young Jesper was too tired to go on.

“He brought me to a show and I got tired,” Parnevik said. “I went up on stage and said, ‘Daddy, it’s time to go home now. I’m tired!’ And the crowd went berserk.”


DIVOTS: The PGA Grand Slam of Golf has changed its criteria for alternates. Instead of taking the former major champion with the best record in the 2011 majors, the first alternate will be the defending champion. That would be Ernie Els for this year in Bermuda, provided the Big Easy doesn’t qualify by winning a major. … U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Danielle Kang received one of five amateur exemptions to the Kraft Nabisco Championship. The others went to Cydney Clanton, Lisa McCloskey, Kristen Park and Meghan Stasi. The LPGA’s first major is March 31 to April 3. … Lee Trevino, 71, said he will play in the Toshiba Classic on March 11-13 at Newport (Calif.) Country Club. It will be the only official, full-field event he plays this year on the Champions Tour.


STAT OF THE WEEK: The Dubai Desert Classic, where Tiger Woods tied for 20th, was only the third time in 30 non-PGA Tour events overseas that he finished out of the top 10.


FINAL WORD: “I really do believe that your game is based a lot on the physical place you were brought up playing golf. … You’ll rarely see somebody with a good golf swing coming from a windy golf course.” – Padraig Harrington.

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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.