Stat attack!: Open Championship review

By John AntoniniJuly 20, 2014, 7:17 pm

Perhaps it’s appropriate that Rory McIlroy has curly hair, for like the little girl with the curl, when McIlory is good, he is very, very good. And at the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool, McIlroy was every bit of very, very good.

McIlroy’s 17-under 271 total at Royal Liverpool was the fourth-lowest total in relation to par in the history of the Open Championship, and he needed an eagle on the final hole to match Tiger Woods for the best score in relation to par in major-championship history. Woods shot 19 under at the 2000 Open Championship at St. Andrews. With his par on the final hole, McIlroy’s total marks the 10th time since 1990 that a player has finished at 17-under or better in a major.

The lowest winning scores at the Open Championship in relation to par

 To par Player   Year Venue 
 19 under Tiger Woods  2000  St. Andrews 
 18 under  Tiger Woods 2006  Royal Liverpool
 18 under  Nick Faldo  1990  St. Andrews 
 17 under  Rory McIlroy  2014  Royal Liverpool 
 16 under  Louis Oosthuizen  2010  St. Andrews 

Lowest score in relation to par in a major championship since 1990

 To par Player  Major
 19 under Tiger Woods 2000 Open Championship 
 18 under  Tiger Woods  2006 Open Championship 
 18 under  Tiger Woods
2006 PGA Championship 
 18 under   Tiger Woods   2000 PGA Championship 
 18 under   Bob May  2000 PGA Championship 
 18 under   Tiger Woods  1997 Masters 
 18 under   Nick Faldo  1990 Open Championship 
 17 under   Rory McIlroy  2014 Open Championshp 
 17 under   Steve Elkington  1995 PGA Championship 
 17 under   Colin Montgomerie  1995 PGA Championship 

McIlroy’s victory comes on the heels of Martin Kaymer’s rout at the U.S. Open. Kaymer led for all four rounds at Pinehurst. Prior to McIlroy, the last wire-to-wire winner at the British Open (with no ties) was Tiger Woods in 2005.

Open Champions with wire-to-wire victories (no ties)

 Year Player 
 2014  Rory McIlroy
 2005 Tiger Woods 
 1973  Tom Weiskopf 
 1934  Henry Cotton 
 1932   Gene Sarazen 
 1927 Bobby Jones 
 1912 Ted Ray 

It is the first time since 1903 that the U.S. and British Open had wire-to-wire winners in the same year. Although in 1903, when Willie Anderson won the U.S. Open and Harry Vardon won the Open Championship, Vardon was not the sole leader all four days, having shared the opening-round lead with Sandy Herd.

McIlroy also ran the table at the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional, and this marks the second time he led a major at the end of every round, joining Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Raymond Floyd as the only players to do that more than once.

The Open marks the sixth time McIlroy held the 54-hole lead (or co-lead) at a PGA Tour event and fourth time in a major championship. It was his fourth win in such events.

McIlroy with the 54-hole lead at PGA Tour events 

 Tournament Finish
 2014 Open Championship Won
 2014 Honda Classic Lost playoff
 2012 PGA Championship Won
 2012 Honda Classic Won
 2011 U.S. Open Won
 2011 Masters T-15

McIlroy dominated on the par-5 holes at Royal Liverpool, especially on Saturday when he made eagle on the 16th and 18th holes to take what became an insurmountable lead of six strokes into Sunday’s final round. For the week, McIlroy was one of four players to shoot 12 under on the par-5 holes.

Scoring leaders on the par-5s at the Open Championship

 Player Scoring on par 5s 
 Rory McIlroy 12 under 
 Paul Casey  12 under
 Francesco Molinari  12 under 
 Victor Dubuisson 12 under

Long-term, it won’t soon be forgotten how well Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler played at the Open Championship. Their 15-under 273 totals would have been good enough to win all but three Opens since 2000. Fowler, who also finished T-2 in the U.S. Open at Pinehurst, is the only player to finish in the top five of all three majors in 2014. He’s the sixth player to do that since 1990. Fowler and Ernie Els in 2000 are the only players to finish in the two at both Opens in the same year since 1980.

Players who were in the top five at the Masters, U.S. Open and Open Championship since 1990

 Year Player  Masters  U.S. Open  Open Championship
 2014 Rickie Fowler  T-2  T-2 
 2005 Tiger Woods  Won  Won 
 2004 Phil Mickelson  Won 
 2000  Tiger Woods Won Won 
 2000 Ernie Els  2 T-2  T-2
 1990 Nick Faldo  Won  T-3  Won 

Fowler is also one of three players to finish in the top 15 in this year’s first three major championships.

Players with top-15 finishes in all three majors in 2014 

 Player  Masters  U.S. Open  British Open 
 Rickie Fowler T-5  T-2  T-2 
 Adam Scott T-14  T-9  T-5 
 Jim Furyk T-14  T-12 

Garcia was second in a major championship for the fourth time, but he looks more confident than he has at any time since he first finished second to Tiger Woods at the 1999 PGA Championship at Medinah, when he scissor-kicked his way up the leaderboard. Along the way he became downcast as the defeats, most notably in his playoff loss to Padraig Harrington at the 2007 Open Championship at Carnoustie, took their toll. After a third-round 75 at the 2012 Masters took him out of contention, a frustrated Garcia told Spanish reporters he’s “not good enough ... I don't have the thing I need to have,” to win majors. That appears to have changed, as Garcia's confidence has grown as he has matured. The T-2 at Liverpool was Garcia’s sixth top-three in a major, only Lee Westwood has more top-three finishes at majors without winning. 

Most top-threes at major championships without winning

 Player Top threes 
 Lee Westwood 
 Sergio Garcia  6
 Colin Montgomerie  6
 Doug Sanders  6
 Harry Cooper  5
 Bruce Crampton
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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

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.