After Further Review: Wraparound season needs fixing

Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. In this edition of After Further Review, our writers weigh in on the PGA Tour's lack of playing opportunities for grads, why the LPGA needs an event in Rochester and a farewell to one of the PGA Tour's good guys.

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem spoke to an assembled group of media Sunday at the Wyndham Championship, taking the time to extoll the virtues of the wraparound season he helped to create.

While he identified that access to tournaments for Tour graduates is a “weakness,” he also added the Tour has no plans to make any changes to address the issue next year.

The Tour may hope this was a “one-year phenomenon,” as Finchem put it, but such an approach is myopic and will result in players, media and Tour officials alike having the same discussion in 12 months.

The first year of the wraparound only proved to top-100 players the value of getting off to a fast start in the FedEx Cup points race – just look at how Jimmy Walker’s season played out – so it’s unlikely that big names will opt now to sit out the early events en masse.

While some slight increases to field sizes for fall events will help, the fact remains that while the players who survive the gauntlet of the Tour Finals next month will receive a PGA Tour card, whether they’ll be able to put it to much use is uncertain. – Will Gray

It’s clear the PGA Tour’s new qualifying system is more closed than ever before.

This week’s Wyndham Championship marked the end of the circuit’s first full season under the new system, and the biggest flaw with the new format appears to be a severe lack of playing opportunities for the graduates from the Tour Finals.

Consider that the final 10 players who earned their Tour cards at last year’s Finals averaged 15.4 starts. It’s no surprise that not a single player out of those final 10 managed to finish inside the top 125 on the regular season FedEx Cup point list. – Rex Hoggard

The LPGA has to find its way back to Rochester. Or maybe it's the other way around. Maybe it's Rochester that has to find a way to bring back the LPGA.

Really, it all boils down to finding a title sponsor that wants to host a regular tour event here again. It's that simple, because this community's love affair with the LPGA can't end.

It's not right that they should be kept apart after 38 terrific years. Rochester embraced the tour again Sunday, sending the women off in style, with big galleries, a picturesque sunny day and a big-bang fireworks show after the trophy presentation.

Let's hope it wasn't goodbye. Let's hope it's just a temporary parting. – Randall Mell

Joe Ogilvie was never the most talented PGA Tour player inside the ropes, but the Duke University graduate has always been one of the smartest, as proven by his insightful candor during interviews and passionate long-term career goals.

In 15 years as a Tour pro, he won once, but will be better remembered as a man who always had an opinion on the direction of the Tour and someday wanted to be named commissioner.

Instead, Ogilvie will retire and move into investment banking. Following his final round, he tweeted, "Damn lucky to be a part of the traveling circus/family that is the PGA Tour for the last 15 years."

Consider the rest of us damn lucky, as well, to have a guy who always tried to make the PGA Tour a better place. – Jason Sobel

Getty Images

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.