Fantasy Fact Pack: Farmers, Abu Dhabi

By Will GrayJanuary 25, 2012, 1:32 pm

The attention of the golf world will be split this week between two events a world apart, each boasting a strong field. While the PGA Tour conducts the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego, the European Tour will be hosting the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. Between the two events, many of the world’s best golfers will be on the course – giving you double the opportunity to watch them in action as well as an extra chance to include them in your Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge lineup, which expands to include both events. Here is a look inside the numbers to see which players may contend for the title(s) this week and help your fantasy team in the process:

Course Knowledge: For the second time in as many weeks, the PGA Tour will conduct an event across multiple courses. While last week’s Humana Challenge saw three courses used in the Coachella Valley, this week’s event will utilize two: the North Course at Torrey Pines and its more famous neighbor, the South Course, which hosted the 2008 U.S. Open. At 7,698 yards, the South Course ranked as the longest course on Tour in 2011 – so it was not surprising to see long-ball hitter Bubba Watson triumph here last year. In their one round on the North Course, though, golfers will encounter some of the most narrow fairways on Tour. In 2011, players hit the North Course fairways just 39.8% of the time, making them the toughest fairways to hit on Tour by driving percentage for the second time in three years. The bunkers of the North Course also proved punitive, ranking behind only Royal St. George’s in sand save percentage (37.7%) last year.

Fearsome Foursome: While many top players will be teeing it up at Torrey Pines, each of the top 4 in the latest Official World Golf Ranking will play in Abu Dhabi. World No. 2 Lee Westwood and No. 3 Rory McIlroy have prior runner-up finishes in this event to their credit, and Luke Donald will be returning to the desert for the first time since claiming the 2011 Race to Dubai in December. Most discussions of this event, though, will start with Martin Kaymer, who sandwiched a runner-up finish here in 2009 between victories in 2008, 2010 and 2011. Across the last four years at this event, Kaymer has had just one round over 68: a final-round 74 in 2008 that was still good enough for a four-shot margin of victory.

Bubba Defends: Fresh off an auto purchase, Bubba Watson returns to Torrey Pines to defend his title. Watson has been streaky in this event, alternating high finishes (first in 2011, T-7 in 2009, T-4 in 2007) with poor ones (MC in 2010, T-47 in 2008, T-56 in 2006). Could this be the year that he puts together strong performances in consecutive years? Distance off the tee will always give Watson an advantage on the lengthy South Course, but last year his approach play proved key to victory as he also led the field in both greens in regulation and proximity to hole. In fact, Watson was the only player to lead the field in driving distance and greens in regulation en route to victory in 2011 – and he did it twice, also accomplishing the feat at the 2011 Zurich Classic.

Amazing Grace: South African Branden Grace has risen from obscurity to No. 92 in the Official World Golf Ranking in the course of two short weeks; back-to-back wins on the European Tour tend to do that. He goes for three straight in Abu Dhabi, and while this field is significantly stronger than those faced en route to his recent victories, Grace is a Group 3 player with momentum and recent form on his side. Grace has excelled both off the tee and on the green in 2012, ranking ninth in driving distance and seventh in putts per GIR through three events.

Injury Report: Several golfers in the field at Torrey Pines will be looking to return from injury this week. Most notable on that list is J.B. Holmes, who will be completing a remarkable comeback by playing for the first time since having brain surgery less than five months ago. Additionally, two players who found the winner’s circle in 2011 will look to bounce back after withdrawing from last week’s Humana Challenge. Dustin Johnson originally targeted this week’s event for his return from off-season knee surgery, but opted to return last week only to WD after 27 holes citing lower back pain. Scott Stallings was also forced to WD from the Humana last Friday; his exit due to what he later described on Twitter as an “intercostal injury.” Y.E. Yang, the 2009 PGA champion, will also be making his first start this week since a sore shoulder forced him out of the Dubai World Championship in December.

Sleeper Alert: While many of our experts have their eye on Bud Cauley as a Tour rookie expected to play well this week, another young player to watch is Harris English. The University of Georgia product became only the third amateur to win a Nationwide Tour event when he captured the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Invitational last summer, and nearly won again on that tour after turning pro in September, losing a playoff to Danny Lee. English has put together a solid start to his 2012 campaign, bouncing back from a Sunday 75 at the Sony Open to finish T-19 at the Humana Challenge. He has the length off the tee to tackle the South Course, averaging 312.3 yards per drive so far in 2012, and currently ranks 18th in ball striking (a combination of total driving and greens in regulation). His 62 in the second round last week shows a potential to go low, and English is a young player on the rise who has experience contending down the stretch on Sunday. Coming out of Group 4, he may be worth taking a chance on this week.

You can watch complete coverage of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship live Wednesday on Golf Channel from 10PM-3:30AM ET and Thursday-Sunday on from 4-8AM ET.

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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.