Expert Picks: AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 4, 2014, 9:30 pm

This week marks the 12th event of the 2013-14 PGA Tour season as many of the game's best tee it up alongside celebrities at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Each week, a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players, based on Golf Channel's fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel includes: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and John Antonini; editorial director Jay Coffin; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams; staff writer Ryan Lavner and defending fantasy champion Charlie Rymer.

Jason Sobel

Group 1: Jordan Spieth: We've officially reached the point where it doesn't matter the course our the tournament, Spieth is a legit candidate to contend.

Group 2: Pat Perez: He's been knocking on the door the last two weeks and would love to avenge that loss from Pebble his rookie year.

Group 3: Russell Knox: Someone Who Knows Things told me recently that Knox is coming along ahead of schedule and might be ready to win very soon.

Group 4: Scott Langley: Reportedly playing with Peyton Manning might bring more attention, but expect the sophomore to thrive under pressure.

Randall Mell

Group 1: Jason Day: Coming off a T-2 at Torrey Pines and off a sixth-place finish at Pebble last year. Just feels like it's going to be a big year for Day.

Group 2: Jimmy Walker: Confidence should be high. Won at Sony last month, finished T-3, T-9, T-9 in his last three starts at Pebble.

Group 3: Aaron Baddeley: Pebble inspires him T-12, fourth, T-6 in his last three starts there.

Group 4: Chad Collins: Off to a solid start this year, including an eighth-place finish at Humana.

Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Dustin Johnson: He already has a victory in the 2013-14 season (WGC-HSBC Champions), two wins on the Monterey Peninsula (2009 and ’10) and one heartbreaking near miss at the 2010 U.S. Open played at Pebble Beach.

Group 2: Jimmy Walker: Not sure how a guy that has two victories this season falls into Group 2, but we know a steal when we see one.

Group 3: John Peterson: He has struggled in his last few events after a quick start to his season, but he has the game and attitude to compete every week.

Group 4: Davis Love III: The soon-to-be senior hasn’t exactly been sharp to begin 2014, but he’s won the Clambake twice and still has enough length to compete on the PGA Tour.

John Antonini

Group 1: Jordan Spieth: He handled the quirks of this tournament (slow play, amateurs, multiple courses) admirably a year ago when he was still just Jordan Spieth. Now that he's JORDAN SPIETH, we expect substantial improvement on that T-22 finish.

Group 2: Chris Kirk: The runner-up a year ago has already won once this season on Tour (McGladrey) and was second at the Sony. He's not in over his head.

Group 3: Brendon Todd: He was T-9 in 2012 when, like everyone else on the leaderboard, he was way-laid by Phil Mickelson's final-round 64. Todd's solid GIR and scrambling stats make him a strong pick this year.

Group 4: Briny Baird: Is it too much to ask that one week after Kevin Stadler won in his 239th PGA Tour start, that Baird wins in his 369th? Maybe so, but Baird's another player who hits plenty of greens and is strong in the scrambling stats. He's not a reach in Group 4.

Ryan Lavner

Group 1: Jason Day: Nine consecutive top 25s overall. Four top 10s in a row. A pair of T-6s in four career starts here.

Group 2: Jimmy Walker: FedEx Cup leader has two wins and four other top 25s in his last eight starts.

Group 3: Jason Kokrak: When he makes the cut, he makes it count - all four made cuts have been T-20 or better, including last week's T-15 in Phoenix.

Group 4: Hudson Swafford: Big believer in his talent, but he's a hit-or-miss kind of pick. He has three missed cuts and two top 25s in his last five starts.

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

Getty Images

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.

Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.