McDowell follows McIlroy in withdrawing from Rio

By Will GrayJune 23, 2016, 12:30 pm

The Irish Olympic golf team lost its second potential member in as many days when Graeme McDowell followed Rory McIlroy in withdrawing his name from consideration for Rio.

McIlroy withdrew on Wednesday, citing concerns over the Zika virus and leaving McDowell in line for the second and final automatic qualifying spot for Ireland alongside Shane Lowry. But McDowell's wife is pregnant with the couple's second child and is expected to give birth in early September, leading the Ulsterman to announce via Twitter that he won't make the trip to Brazil:

"I made the decision many months ago, before I was on the team, that I would not play or travel outside the U.S., where my family and I live, in the weeks running up to the birth," McDowell said. "Unfortunately, I will therefore not be available to replace Rory on the team. I have informed (Irish Olympic golf captain) Paul McGinley and the Olympic Council of Ireland of my decision."

The International Golf Federation issued a statement, saying in response, "We recognize the unique circumstances for Graeme and his family and, while we are disappointed that he is not available for the Olympic Games, we sympathize with his position. There are many considerations for players but those who compete will have the opportunity to be part of a truly global celebration of sport."

The virus, which can be transmitted sexually, has been shown to produce birth defects in pregnant women who get infected.

McDowell's withdrawal means the second Irish spot among the 60-man field is expected to go to Padraig Harrington, who is ranked No. 167 in the world.

McDowell, 36, told "Morning Drive" that when he laid out his schedule early in the year in light of his wife's pregnancy, he knew that a trip to Rio was not in the cards.

"This was always potentially on my radar, that the automatic spot might come to me with Rory and Shane both being young guys," he said. "I knew it potentially could've been on my radar, but unfortunately for me it was never really going to be an option."

McDowell becomes the ninth player to withdraw from the upcoming Olympics, most of whom have cited either Zika concerns or the busy summer golf schedule for their decision. Others skipping the event include McIlroy, Adam Scott (Australia), Marc Leishman (Australia), Charl Schwartzel (South Africa), Louis Oosthuizen (South Africa), Vijay Singh (Fiji), Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spain) and Tim Wilkinson (New Zealand).

McDowell admitted that a "little sort of spark" went off in his head once he realized McIlroy's withdrawal put him in line to represent Ireland, but ultimately after weighing the options with his wife he decided to stick with his original decision.

"I don't want to be away from my family at that stage of the year. I'm going to spend the entire month of July away from them, and I want to be here," he said. "I want to be here in Florida a couple weeks before my baby boy gets born, and unfortunately the Olympics is just not something that can happen for me.

"Hopefully I'll be fit and healthy and well enough to play in 2020 in Japan, because this is something special," he added. "Until the first golfer stands there with a gold medal around his neck, we're not really going to sort of grasp the concept of what the Olympic Games mean for golf. But it's going to be a big deal, and something I want to be a part of going forward."

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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.