The same place that gave us Jack Nicklaus, who won one for mid-life crises everywhere, in 1986, and Ben Crenshaw, who won one for Harvey Penick, in 1995, delivered the trifecta in 2010.
An off-form Phil Mickelson, who arrived at Augusta National with just a single top-10 finish, shook the pines with bold, and borderline reckless, play on Sunday to win his third green jacket and then shed tears moments later when he embraced wife Amy, who had been absent from Tour life for 11 months due to a battle with breast cancer. It was a storybook finish too good, or maybe too unbelievable, for Hollywood, but perfect for Augusta National. – Rex Hoggard, Senior Writer
Come Sunday morning in the final round of a Masters, I like to go down to Amen Corner and sit in the media bleachers above the 12th tee to soak in the grandeur long before the leaders go off. I wasn’t there when Jack Nicklaus won the best Masters ever in 1986, but I got an unexpected echo of what it must have been like in ’98, my second Masters. That’s when Nicklaus, at 58, made an early charge that ended in a tie for sixth. I remember sitting there, enjoying the peacefulness, when this roar detonated up on the hill behind me and cascaded through the pines.
“What the hell was that?” I asked Helen Ross, a fellow writer who had been to a lot more Masters than had I. “That can only be one thing,” she said. “That’s a Nicklaus roar.” Moments later, Nicklaus’ name was put on the leaderboard above the 11th green. Sitting down there in Amen Corner, we heard one roar after another as Nicklaus mounted a charge that would ultimately fall short. But the sounds Nicklaus created before his magic ended, it was like listening to a symphony. – Randall Mell, Senior Writer
Phil Mickelson's victory in 2004 stands out most because I was there. The roars on the second nine were unlike anything I'd ever heard on a golf course with the game's heavyweights, Mickelson and Ernie Els, trading blows. Ultimately Mickelson’s 18-footer finally took the major championship monkey off his back and did so in fine fashion. Els shot 67 that day and thought he had finally done enough to wear the green jacket. When he realized he didn’t, he was as gutted as anyone I’ve ever seen following major disappointment.
Realizing the defining moment was going to be something special – and knowing I’d never get a clear view of the 18th hole – I ducked into the players locker room to watch the final hole. Padraig Harrington, Nick Price and Fred Couples were all glued to the TV. When Phil’s final putt dropped the room went crazy and the ground shook. Phil jumped in the air and yelled “I did it!” I’ll never forget it. – Jay Coffin, Editorial Director
I've worked every Masters for the past 15 years – for the most part – so my most indelible moment takes place in the office. For as much as I recall the panic of trying to cut a highlight tape for 'Golf Central' after Tiger won in '97 (I aged three years that day), and as proud as I felt to see Zach Johnson profess his faith after winning in 2007, it was Tiger's chip in on 16, during the final round in 2005, that stands out most. The collective gasp of about 15 employees in and around the newsroom when Woods' ball stopped on the lip of the cup, a producer falling to his knees, the collective scream when the ball dropped, people recreating Tiger's dorky celebration. Good times. – Mercer Baggs, Managing Editor
The 1996 Masters ranks as one of the worst all-time sporting days in my life. Greg Norman played so masterfully for the first three days. As one of my favorite athletes, not just in golf, I foolishly felt confident that Sunday. And then came the short missed putt at No. 11 and the Dead Man Walking march was on. I felt sick the rest of the day. I still get pissed knowing that he isn't at the Champions Dinner every year. – Brian Koressel, Senior Producer
‘Surreal.’ That’s the word Zach Johnson used over and over again when he was asked about holding off Tiger Woods down the stretch to win at Augusta in 2007.
Having played against Johnson at a rival college and then rooming with him on the mini-tours thereafter, the moment Phil Mickelson draped that crested coat across his shoulders was about as surreal to his longtime friends as it was to him. I’ll never forget his tenacity on those last few holes; that chip on the 18th. And, of course, the embrace with wife Kim and newborn son Will after the victory. All Masters memories are great. This one, I’m just grateful to have. – Jon Levy, Associate Editor
There are certain moments in life when the emotions of others around us, particularly those of our loved ones, can be so fervent that by mere observation, we are overcome with sentiment. That’s what the 2004 Masters was for me – the osmosis of my parents’ passion and euphoria over Phil Mickelson’s victory into joy of my own.
Not that I wasn’t happy in my own right to see Mickelson win the green jacket, but at a mere 17 years of age, I was unable to comprehend or appreciate the significance of the event I had just witnessed on TV. Experiencing the excitement of Mickelson’s victory through my parents’ happiness was all the convincing I needed to know that a special moment in history had just occurred. – Bailey Mosier, Contributing Editor
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.