Champions Tour Top 5 in 2004
No. 5 -- 3M Championship
In golf, everyone has a losing record. Tom Kites winning percentage is around .03 ' and hes in the Hall of Fame. That means Kite has won 25 and lost 792 in his combined PGA and Champions tour careers. That being said, losing, though often, is never easy to stomach, and is made all-the-more difficult when you blow final-round, back-nine leads in major championships. Kite did that in both this years Senior British Open and U.S. Senior Open ' in back-to-back weeks. One week after his second straight Sunday meltdown, however, Kite soared back into the winners circle at the 3M Championship. This time, he birdied three of his final seven holes, including the last, for a one-shot victory over Craig Stadler. It was more than just sweet redemption; it was his first taste of success in 22 bitter months.
I'm proud of this win, especially after what's happened the last two weeks, Kite said after his seventh career victory on the 50-and-over set. Out here, you've got to have selective memory.
No. 4 -- Bank of America Championship
Craig Stadler won 13 times on the PGA Tour. He has eight Champions Tour victories in just two years. Hes got a Masters title and two senior majors to his credit. But its his win at this years Bank of America Championship that may head that list of accomplishments. Its not that the BOA is the most prestigious event on the senior schedule, or that he broke any records or did anything spectacular along the way to victory. Its a combination of what he did and what happened some 550 miles away that made this triumph so special. Moments after Stadler shot 64 to whip the field in Massachusetts, he watched in the scorers tent as his son Kevin won his first Nationwide Tour event in Findley Lake, N.Y. They became the first father-son duo to win in the same week since Bob (Emerald Coast Classic) and David (The Players Championship) Duval did so in 1999.
'I never dreamed of both of us winning on the same day, the elder Stadler said. This is probably the best golfing day I'll ever have. Individual accomplishments don't even come close to this.
No. 3 -- Senior PGA Championship
There is supposed to be a window of opportunity on the Champions Tour. A window that usually closes around the age of 55. Hale Irwin, however, has broken that window into shards, and has shattered records in the process. He started the 2004 campaign with 38 tour wins and added another at ' appropriately enough ' the Legends of Golf. No. 40 would come at the Senior PGA Championship. The odds were stacked against him at Valhalla Golf Club. The course was listed at nearly 7,200 yards and was playing even longer under wet conditions. Add into the stop-and-start nature of the tournament, due to Mother Natures interference, and there was no way a man nearing 59 years of age with a bad back should win this senior survival. Unless that man is Hale Irwin. After five days of play and countless weather delays, Irwin was the last man standing. Tied with pre-tournament favorite Jay Haas, who was making his tour debut, Irwin birdied the final hole for a one-stroke victory. It was his fourth Senior PGA title and his first major victory since the 2000 U.S. Senior Open.
It's been an awkward week for everyone,' Irwin said. I'm proud, I'm relieved and I'm glad it's over.'
No. 2 -- JELD-WEN Tradition
There was a lot of debate as to who was the leading candidate for player of the year leading up to the tours final major of the season. Craig Stadler was among that select list, but he lacked a major title on his 2004 resume. And it didnt appear that would change at the JELD-WEN Tradition. That was until the 15th hole in Round 3. Eight strokes off the lead, Stadler holed a 4-iron from 207 yards for double eagle. He managed to cut his deficit to four by the start of the final round, yet still found himself well in arrears on the back nine Sunday. But while the leaders stalled and stumbled down the stretch, Stadler closed like a champion. He birdied each of his final four holes for a one-shot victory over Jerry Pate and Allen Doyle. Local favorite Peter Jacobsen, whose production company ran the Portland, Ore. tournament, excited the crowd with a share of the 54-hole lead. But a double bogey on the 71st hole sealed his fate in a tie for fourth.
Eighty of us come out here and all 80 of us don't want to spoil Peter's party,' Stadler said, before adding a wry smile.
I'm still shocked I won this week, he added. I got up to the 18th green and saw the leaderboard with the bogeys and said, 'you know they keep opening the door a little bit and somebody's going to stick their foot in there, and fortunately it was me.
No. 1 -- U.S. Senior Open
Peter Jacobsens rookie season on the Champions Tour was supposed to be a boon for both the tour and for his pocket book. Having won on the PGA Tour at the age of 49, Jacobsen was supposed to tally trophies, rake in the money, and attract legions of fans along the way. But leading up to the U.S. Senior Open it had been one big pain in the hip. Jacobsen had played in just two tournaments and had to withdraw from two more thanks to a balky ball and socket, which required surgery on April 20. He was going to skip the Senior Open, as well, but decided to give it a try -- only because it is the Senior Open. After two rounds it seemed to be a wise decision; he was tied for the lead with Tom Kite. That was the good news. The bad news was, rain had washed away play on Friday, so there would be a 36-hole Sunday. It was a worrisome proposition for a man two months removed from hip surgery, forced to traverse 36 holes in one day (carts are not allowed in senior majors). Kite moved two clear of Jake with a third-round 65, and appeared ready to add a U.S. Senior Open crown to his 1992 U.S. Open title. But back-to-back bogeys at the 15th and 16th holes in the final round derailed his confidence, and a double bogey at the last ' while he was still tied for the lead ' was the ultimate train wreck. Kite, whose daughter Stephanie was watching in the gallery, finished a heartbreaking two back. Hale Irwin and Jay Haas, both of whom have ties to the Bellerive area near St. Louis, Mo., each could have tied Jacobsen with birdies at the last, but both failed, with Haas' birdie pitch clipping the hole. Jacobsen then calmly made his necessary par for his improbable victory.
It feels unbelievable, said Jacobsen. I've played in USGA championships since I was 15 years old. U.S. Juniors, U.S. Amateurs, U.S. Opens and now my first U.S. Senior Open I competed in. I won it. I'm speechless practically.
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.
Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia
Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.
Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.
Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.
Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.
It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.
The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.