US Tour Not Just for Americans
That is gratifying to Freddy Couples. Couples is 45 now, but he can recall the days 15 years ago when there was a decided undercurrent of resentment amongst the U.S. players against anyone who was an international. Greg Norman, for example, battled this resentment forever. The lower-echelon players did not take kindly to a foreigner coming here and taking up their spots on the PGA Tour ranking.
Those days, thank goodness, have just about ended. Everyone is welcome now. And what has evolved has been the world tour where the best players play, regardless of nationality. Couples couldnt be more pleased.
Our tour is the strongest tour. It has the best golfers, he says simply. There are almost as many foreign players as there are American players in the top 125.
Singh is No. 1 in money earned, but Americans hold down the next seven slots. From No. 8 to No. 18, though, there is a very wide latitude of players from around the world.
Number 9 is Irelands Padraig Harrington and No. 10 is Spains Sergio Garcia. No. 12 is an Australian, Adam Scott, and an Englishman ' Luke Donald ' sits at No. 13, while a South African, Retief Goosen, is 14th.
Thats six different countries represented in the top 14 ' I forgot, counting the U.S., thats seven. Another Australian, Peter Lonard, is No. 16, and another South African, Ernie Els, is No. 18. Combined, thats eight international players in the U.S. tours top 18.
And, the U.S. Open was recently won by New Zealands Michael Campbell.
The U.S. Open brings the best out of players, Couples explained. Michael Campbell is a very, very solid player with a good swing. He had a great week. He won. I don't think it is a shock to most of the players, but I think it is a nice thing to see. I think he's well-liked.
He came over here a few years ago and didn't play well at all and I have a lot of respect for the guys that come over here. Some enjoy it, some travel a long way, some buy houses here. So our tour is flourishing on great play.
But the bottom line is Michael Campbell is a golfer and he plays extremely well on the European Tour and he struggled here. People don't know him as well, but he is a top-notch player.
My eyesight isnt as good as it was in younger years, but I believe there are 35 players inside the top 125 who were born in another country than the U.S. Ten years ago, in 1995, there were only 12 international PGA Tour members in the top 125.
If you look at our tour, they're all coming to play, said Freddy. I think it's nice, but I think it's hard for a lot of guys because they're being pushed out from everyone all over the country.
And we have the foreign players who are showing their stuff - Justin Rose and Aaron Baddeley are playing well, Ian Poulter. Those are strong players a lot of people don't know about. I just played with Graeme McDowell, who is a very, very good player. He didn't play that well on Sunday, but he is a good player.
They are going to continue to keep coming if they keep their cards. They are going to love it over here. We play great courses, great tournaments. There is no other better spot to play.
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Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome
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 ...
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
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.
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
Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double
Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open
Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open
Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row
Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow
Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship
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
Photo Galleries: Best of ...
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com counted down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below. And click here for the full collection of articles.
Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge
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.