Best Augusta Story from a Pastor

By Golf Channel NewsroomApril 9, 2008, 4:00 pm
1987-1990 I served as pastor of Central Christian Church in Augusta. We had several members of our congregation who worked at Augusta National. I, being an avid golfer, mentioned one evening during a home visit to one of those employees, 'I would sure love to see the clubhouse and course someday if there is an 'off season' opportunity.' Months went by and I had forgotten the casual, not so serious remark. One April evening after a Sunday night service his son came up to me and said, 'Dad wants to know if May 28 will be OK? For what?' I replied. 'To play the Augusta National,' he said. 'I'm sure it will!' I immediately responded. I had only asked to see the course never dreaming that I could play it.
One lady who worked in our church office, an Augusta native, said when hearing of my blessing, 'If I die don't worry about it.' Guess what else happens on May 28? My wedding anniversary. God Bless my wife. She was very understanding as I not only played that year but the next as well, both on the same date. Needless to say we went out to a very nice place for dinner, even a B&B, but after playing the par 3 all morning and the big course in the afternoon, I was exhausted. Lastly, the first year I was there, the friend who had invited me (during employees week), took me on a tour of the clubhouse. When I went upstairs in the champions locker room I saw a phone in the corner, I had to call someone, so I called my father, and said, 'Youre not going to believe where I'm calling from.'
Best of all I thoroughly enjoyed both rounds. Shot 86 the first time, and 77 the second (playing the championship tees on the backside). The highlight was reaching #15 in two and 2 putting for birdie after an approach at 14 rolled 2 feet from the whole--birdie birdie. Sadly I bogied 18 both times, so finished on a low note, but pared #12 both years. I thought #5 and #11 were the hardest holes on the course.
The par 3 is a great experience. The 2nd year a man in my foursome had a local caddy. He helped all of us read putts. On the last hole I had the longest downhill putt possible, with the pin right by the water. My fear was putting it in the water so I asked one of my foursome to stand behind the hole and catch the ball before it rolled in the water. I was not about to putt a ball in the water! The caddy (nicknamed 'Bull'), said 'let it die right here', and pointed to a spot 10 ft left and 20 feet above the hole. Amazingly I did, and watched with unbelief as the ball picked up speed and turned toward the hole. All the time Bull was commanding the ball, 'slide for me now, slide for me now.' It obeyed and my 60 foot put disappeared in the cup.
- Pastor Stephenson, Deltona, FL
Return to all Augusta stories
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

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.