Power Rankings: 2016 Honda Classic

By Will GrayFebruary 22, 2016, 8:02 pm

The 2016 fantasy golf season rolls right along, as the PGA Tour heads to Florida this week for the Honda Classic. A field of 144 players will tackle the Champion Course at PGA National, home of the infamous "Bear Trap" finishing stretch.

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Padraig Harrington won this event last year in a playoff over Daniel Berger. Here are 10 players to watch in Palm Beach Gardens:

1. Rory McIlroy: According to the recent pattern, McIlroy is due for a big week. The Ulsterman won here in 2012 and lost in a playoff in 2014, but he withdrew abruptly in 2013 and missed the cut last year. After playing his way into contention at Riviera, McIlroy should return to his successful ways at Honda.

2. Rickie Fowler: Fowler is playing for the first time since letting the trophy slip away at TPC Scottsdale. A winner earlier this year in Abu Dhabi, he has four top-5 finishes among his last five worldwide starts and appears comfortable on nearly any sort of venue. His Honda credentials include three top-25 finishes over the last four years.

3. Patrick Reed: Reed has gotten progressively better at PGA National: T-58 in 2013, T-24 in 2014 and T-7 last year. He rallied for a T-6 finish two weeks ago at Pebble Beach and has been a near-constant fixture on leaderboards since his torrid stretch across Asia to close out last year.

4. Phil Mickelson: Mickelson returns to action two weeks after his runner-up performance at Pebble Beach, a result that closed out a strong West Coast Swing for the 45-year-old. Lefty appears to be having fun again, his results have improved dramatically and he finished T-17 at PGA National a year ago.

5. Russell Knox: The Scot makes his home in Jacksonville Beach and is quite familiar with the tests presented by Florida courses. One of the best ball-strikers on Tour, he has kept his ball in play the last two years on the Champion Course en route to a playoff loss (2014) and T-3 finish (2015). His confidence should be even higher this time around after he notched his maiden win earlier this season in China.

6. Adam Scott: The Aussie has shown in recent months that the anchoring ban may not be the death nell it once appeared to be. Scott's runner-up at Riviera was his third such result in his last seven starts, and while he remains somewhat balky on the greens he rolled in plenty of mid-range putts Sunday and finished T-12 at this event two years ago.

7. Hideki Matsuyama: The Japanese phenom had no letdown following his dramatic win in Phoenix, as Matsuyama finished T-11 last week in Los Angeles. While his lone trip to PGA National ended with a withdrawal in 2014, Matsuyama is clearly playing well right now and his tee-to-green game should fit nicely with the Champion Course.

8. Branden Grace: Grace doesn't make many starts in the U.S., but he showed last year at Chambers Bay that he can tame a difficult layout. The South African successfully defended his title last month in Qatar, and his recent form actually includes six straight finishes of T-8 or better dating back to November.

9. Graeme McDowell: McDowell's accurate game is a strong match for the exacting Champion Course, and his track record includes three straight top-10 finishes from 2011-2013. While he missed the cut last year, the Ulsterman has been recharged by a strong fall campaign that included a win in Mexico and T-3 finish at Sea Island.

10. Luke Donald: The Englishman hasn't been on too many leaderboards in recent weeks, but that trend usually changes with this event. Donald has cracked the top 10 in each of his last four trips to Palm Beach Gardens, dating back to a runner-up in 2008 and including last year's T-7 finish.

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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.