Punch Shot: Who could pull off the U.K. double this year?

Phil Mickelson won the Scottish Open and British Open in successive weeks last year. Who is the best bet to pull off the U.K. double in 2014? GolfChannel.com writers offer up the most likely candidates.

By REX HOGGARD

The 2010 Open Championship was Paul Casey’s best chance to win the event that means the most to the Englishman. Since that near miss, where he stumbled late and finished tied for third at St. Andrews, things only became more difficult.

Casey dropped to 169th in the Official World Golf Ranking and he lost his Tour card. But he rallied with his victory last year at the Irish Open and has steadily continued his climb back to the top.

He led through two rounds at the Memorial Tournament in May and posted another top-25 finish in his last start (BMW International Open), proving that he has discovered the consistency to claim the “Links Slam” starting with this week’s Scottish Open at Royal Aberdeen.

Casey also has the experience to whether consecutive weeks on weather-torn golf courses. This will be the 36-year-old’s 12th Open Championship, where he has finished in the top 25 three times and made seven cuts.

But most importantly, Casey has endured enough off the golf course – including numerous injuries and a painful divorce – to make any adversity on the pitch appear trivial.

In 2010 at St. Andrews, Casey proved he had the game to compete for the claret jug. Now he has the toughness to win the “Links Slam.”


By RYAN LAVNER

Luke Donald.

Phil Mickelson’s double dip may have been an anomaly, but it’s worth noting that each of the past four winners of the Open Championship have teed it up the week prior at the Scottish Open. Donald won this event in 2011, when it was played at Castle Stuart, and he added top-20s in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2012.

The former world No. 1 is still major-less, but he’s proven to be a strong performer at the year’s third major. Since 2009, he has two missed cuts but also three finishes inside the top 11. The high rough around many of the greens at Hoylake will put an emphasis on short-game creativity, and no one in the world is better with a wedge in his hands than Donald.

Though he’s coming off a few shaky starts at Memorial and Pinehurst, Donald tied for third at the BMW PGA the last time he played across the pond.


By RANDALL MELL

Have 16 years really passed since Justin Rose stormed onto the international scene finishing fourth as a 17-year-old amateur at the British Open at Royal Birkdale?

It doesn’t seem possible, but after some early trials and tribulations all the promise he showed that week has come together for this man in his major championship prime. He broke through to win the U.S. Open at Merion a year ago and nobody will be surprised if he shows he’s ready to finally claim the claret jug. He’s coming off that Quicken Loans victory at a tough track at Congressional in his last start and so takes a load of confidence with him to this week’s Scottish Open and next week’s British Open at Royal Liverpool. It’s no easy task winning them both as Phil Mickelson did a year ago, but Rose is as game as anyone to sweep the Scottish and British opens. He has the all-around game, confidence and momentum to pull it off.


By JASON SOBEL

Let's not think too long and too hard about this question, because the list of players capable of winning back-to-back big-time events doesn't extend past a lonely few. So I'm taking a guy who's shown in the past that when he gets hot, he gets really hot and can go on the type of two-week victory jaunt that we witnessed from Phil Mickelson last year.

I'm taking Rory McIlroy.

And yes, I know the knock on Rory is that he plays his best golf on long, rain-soaked courses and has yet to conquer fast, firm, links tracks, but that only means he hasn't, not that he can't.

McIlroy is one of the few players in the world who can get into a two-week zone and be dialed in from start to 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

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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.