Calcavecchia Remembers Troon in 89

By Golf Channel NewsroomJuly 13, 2004, 4:00 pm
TROON, Scotland -- Mark Calcavecchia left Royal Troon 15 years ago with a claret jug and the bright promise of other majors to come. He's back this week still seeking his second major championship, but now Calcavecchia acknowledges it will take something short of a miracle for him to do it again.
'I would have thought for sure I'd have had at least one more major by now,' Calcavecchia said. 'I don't think I'm done, by any stretch, but at this point I wouldn't say 'underachiever' would be a definition, but I should have won far more.'
Calcavecchia was 29 and a budding star when he beat Greg Norman in an odd playoff that ended with Norman not even finishing the final hole.
It seemed a given he would be a major factor in the 1990s. But, though Calcavecchia's won assorted tournaments, he's yet to win the ones every player wants most.
Calcavecchia isn't sure where the time has gone. He's had a respectable career, but yearns for more.
He's back at the scene of his greatest triumph this week knowing time is running out. He also knows this: If he could somehow, some way, find a way to win another Open, it would be even sweeter at age 44.
After making a handful of birdies Monday in a practice round, he cautioned against counting him out.
'I've still got a lot of good shots in me, and we can still wreak some havoc somewhere,' Calcavecchia said. 'Hopefully, six days from now a miracle could happen.'
Miracle might be the right word for Calcavecchia, who has struggled this year with only one top-10 finish in 13 tournaments. He's a feel player who hasn't felt well on the course recently, and he admits he needs to lose some weight and get in better shape to compete on a weekly basis.
That wasn't the case in 1989 when he birdied the final hole in regulation and the final hole of a four-hole playoff to cost Norman yet another major.
'Obviously the greatest thing that's ever happened to me in the game of golf,' Calcavecchia said.
He and Norman were tied going into the final hole of the four-hole playoff when his tee shot that was going way right bounced safely off a spectator and left him with an open shot to the green.
Norman, on the other hand, watched in disbelief as his perfectly struck tee shot rolled and rolled into a fairway bunker he thought was unreachable. After watching Calcavecchia stick his second shot 5 feet away, he tried for a miracle shot and reached a greenside bunker, then hit that shot out of bounds.
It left a stunned Calcavecchia holding the claret jug - which still contains his name.
He's never really contended again for a major, though he finished fourth in the 2001 Masters and PGA.
'Being 44 years old and winning this tournament - or winning any major - would mean far more today than it did 15 years ago, at least in my position and my mind,' he said. 'But that was a great day for me. And I remember it very well.'
Tiger Woods also remembers winning majors well. But that memory is fading as he tries not to extend a streak of eight majors in a row he hasn't won.
Woods won in 2000 at St. Andrews, contended at Royal St. George last year and would like nothing better than to make this his ninth major championship.
On Monday, he walked to the 10th tee at the far end of Royal Troon and turned to face a freshening breeze off the Irish Sea. Glancing back at the first nine holes he played, Woods grinned and said, 'That was a nice little course, wasn't it?'
Then, staring ahead at a blind tee shot over mounds of prickly gorse bushes on a 438-yard hole that begins one of the most daunting back nines in the British Open, Woods said sternly, 'This is where it starts.'
'That was the JV,' he added. 'This is the varsity.'
Perhaps no other links in the British Open has two nines that are more diverse.
The outward nine plays with the prevailing wind and is only 3,462 yards with two par 5s, one of them reachable in two with as little as a 7-iron. The inward nine is 3,713 yards and plays into the teeth of the wind, yet it has only one par 5.
'You're going to see a lot of birdies and sure enough some eagles on the front nine,' Calcavecchia said. 'But then you get to the 10th tee, and the fun starts. If the wind is blowing pretty good, which I hope it does, I've got to believe the back nine will play ... five shots harder.'
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    Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 18, 2017, 3:22 pm

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.