Z. Johnson leads Kuchar at Tiger's World Challenge

By Doug FergusonDecember 6, 2013, 1:04 am

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Zach Johnson already is looking ahead to next year, and one of his priorities is to score better on the par 5s. He got started on that Thursday in the World Challenge.

Johnson birdied four of the five par 5s on a chilly afternoon at Sherwood Country Club, sending him to a 5-under 67 and a one-shot lead over Matt Kuchar. They were among only five players in the elite 18-man field who broke par.

One of them was tournament host Tiger Woods, who had a new driver in the bag and missed only two fairways. The problem was his putter. Woods opened his round by missing a short par putt, and he finished it by missing a 4-foot birdie putt on the 18th. He wound up with a 71.


Northwestern Mutual World Challenge: Articles, videos and photos


Kuchar played with Woods – they were partners at the Presidents Cup – and hit his approach into 2 feet for birdie on the final hole.

Hunter Mahan and Bubba Watson were at 70. They are among seven players who have yet to win a tournament anywhere in the world this year, even though all 18 players in the World Challenge are in the top 30 in the world ranking.

The tournament counts toward the ranking, though everything else about it is unofficial. For some players, it's a time to shake off some rust and test new equipment. For others, it's the end of a long year.



Johnson had his annual ''summit'' with his team of coaches at the start of the week. They go over the year, crunch statistics and lay out goals for where to improve in 2014. One of the areas was par-5 scoring.

''A highlight that we're looking into next year is trying to play those holes a little bit better,'' Johnson said. ''I don't know what I did that today. I hit it close. I had good shots in there with the proper spin, nothing more than that. But you've got to take advantage of them. You've got five of them. The thing is ... one errant shot, you're staring a 6 right in the face, if not more. There's a lot of penal areas.''

There was plenty of punishment for some players in the field.

Steve Stricker was among those under par until a bogey-bogey-double bogey finish put him at 75. Jordan Spieth, coming off a sensational rookie season and playing for the first time since the HSBC Champions in Shanghai a month ago, had a 77 and was last in the field. Jason Day, who won the individual and team title at the World Cup two weeks ago at Royal Melbourne, had a 76.

Rory McIlroy, with girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki following him, was hopeful of building momentum from his first win of the year last week in the Australian Open. He missed a few short putts, found the water on the par-3 15th and had a 73. He played with defending champion Graeme McDowell, who had a 72.

McDowell saw a note that his last eight rounds at Sherwood were in the 60s. That streak ended Thursday, though for good reason.

''The course hasn't been this tough in a couple years,'' McDowell said. ''The scoring reflects that. The greens are much firmer. The speed of them caught me by surprise a little bit today. My speed was a little clumsy, and it showed today on the greens.''

This is the final year the tournament is being played at Sherwood. It moves to Isleworth just outside Orlando, Fla., next year.

Woods has played only one tournament since the Presidents Cup, and that was a tie for third in the Turkish Open. He said he struggled with his irons – even though he missed only two fairways, he hit only 12 greens – and couldn't get enough putts to fall.

''I made a few mistakes today,'' Woods said. ''I also hit a couple of good shots that ended up in some interesting spots. That can happen out there. I shot about the score ... maybe could have gotten one or two more out of it.''

Johnson had few complaints. He opened with two birdies, and then surged ahead on the back nine with five birdies in a seven-hole stretch, three of them on the par 5s. Johnson has a pair of runner-up finishes at this event, and with the tournament moving, this is his last shot at Sherwood.

''I did everything decent,'' he said. ''Just a real solid day all around. I was aggressive when I needed to be aggressive, and I was conservative when I needed to be conservative. It's nothing more than a decent start.''

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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 ...


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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

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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


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Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut


Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

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Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

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Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year


And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season

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Best of: Justin Thomas and Jillian Wisniewski

Best of: Justin Thomas through the years

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 12:30 pm

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.