Is Colin Montgomerie a Hall of Famer

By Mercer BaggsNovember 9, 2009, 1:39 am

Hall of Fame inductees

NICE FOURSOME: Christy O'Connor Sr., Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jose Maria Olazabal and Lanny Wadkins were inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame last Monday. Eisenhower, whose love of the game helped dramatically increase golf participation during his presidency, became the first U.S. President to become a member of the Hall of Fame.
Backspin There are a lot of intriguing names on the PGA Tour and International ballots who are still waiting for the requisite number of votes, but none more so than Colin Montgomerie. Monty has 31 European Tour wins, eight Order of Merit crowns [including seven in a row] and a 20-9-7 career Ryder Cup record. Yet he never won a major or a PGA Tour event. With the open-door policy that the WGHF seems to have, Montgomerie will one day be enshrined. But he wouldn't get my vote. In today's game, in which money and modernization have made cross-continental travel much, much easier, you can't be a Hall of Fame member when fellow countryman Martin Laird has as many major championships as you and one more Tour title. 
Phil Mickelson

AAAAYYYYY!: Phil Mickelson won the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, China by one shot over Ernie Els. Mickelson started the final round with a two-stroke advantage over Tiger Woods and finished five shots clear of the world's No. 1.
Backspin Mickelson, who usually hibernates after the PGA Championship, has now won the Tour Championship and this event. Considering the year he and his family have had [wife and mother diagnosed with breast cancer], these have to be two of his most fulfilling non-major victories. We likely won't see him in action again until the Buick Invitational in February, 2010. We hope it is a positive next three months for the Mickelson clan.

Tiger Woods

UNFORGIVING FINISH: Woods finished the HSBC Champions in a tie for sixth, five back of Mickelson. Woods started the final round trailing Mickelson by two but could only muster an even-par 72. He missed a 4-foot birdie on the second hole, a 10-footer for birdie on the third, and then knocked his tee shot into the water on No. 4 en route to a double bogey.
Backspin Woods is like Eastwood. Clint was a total badass for years and then he started making movies with orangutans. Woods is in his orangutan phase. He's still a tough guy; he's just not intimidating right now. Eastwood became a badass again and so will Woods. It's just a matter of time before William Munny shows up on a golf course.

Steve Williams and Tiger Woods

EVERYWHERE THE SIGNS: Along with a world-class field, Woods had to battle incessant camera clicks and phone rings during the HSBC Champions. One man, described as 'beer-soaked' was escorted off the course Saturday after he wouldn't stop screaming 'Tiger!' Another spectator was 'manhandled' by security  –  according to the Associated Press  – after a camera clicked on Woods' tee shot at the seventh Sunday.
Backspin Here's what should happen: people should be allowed to bring cameras and cell phones to events for photos or in case an emergency arises. They should be allowed to take snap-shots when players are walking or waiting. But if a phone rings or a camera clicks during a shot, the offender should be severely punished. Like having to interview Vijay Singh.

Ernie Els

ALMOST PERFECT: Ernie Els finished runner-up at the HSBC Champions, shooting a course record-tying 9-under 63 in the final round. Els was seven shots back of Mickelson and manged to grab a one-stroke lead at the par-5 18th. He then 'duffed' a 5-wood into the greenside pond and made bogey.
Backspin Els said he was pleased with his performance, but dropping balls into the drink while in contention has become an all-too-familiar ending for the South African. Being an Els fan must be like watching 'Old Yeller' over and over again, each time thinking the dog isn't going to get shot.

Doug Barron

THE UNUSUAL SUSPECT: The PGA Tour announced last Monday that it was suspending Doug Barron for one year due to a violation of their Anti-Doping policy. Neither the Tour nor Barron would state what the infraction was. Barron, who is the first person to run afoul of the policy, played in only four tournaments on the Nationwide Tour and one event on the PGA Tour in 2009, failing to make a cut.
Backspin The Tour is Skull and Bones secretive when it comes to players breaking rules. They won't even let the public know when a player has been fined for using foul language. But this isn't a minor infraction. The people who watch this game, support this game and pay money to attend this game deserve to know this kind of major information.

Greg Norman

SHARK BITES OPEN: Greg Norman withdrew from the Australian Open, which takes place the first week of December. Norman cited a slower-than-expected recover from his shoulder surgery. The loss hit tournament organizers hard due to the fact that Tiger Woods' Chevron World Challenge and the Nedbank Challenge will be contested at the same time.
Backspin Twenty-eight of the top 32 players in the world are scheduled to compete in either Tiger's event or the Nedbank, including Australian Open defending champion Tim Clark and Aussie Robert Allenby [both Nedbank]. The Open does have Geoff Ogilvy, Adam Scott and John Daly, but even this late in the year it will have a difficult time getting publicity in the shadows of two limited and lucrative events.

Bo Bae Song

NOT-SO BLUE BAE-YOU: Bo Bae Song captured the Mizuno Classic in Shima, Japan for her first LPGA victory. The 23-year-old South Korean overcame a bout of nerves to finish three shots clear of Lorena Ochoa, Brittany Lang and Hee Young Park. Song is the eighth different South Korean winner on tour this season.
Backspin Half of the 26 events played thus far in 2009 have been won by Asian-born players. Americans, on the other hand, have claimed four titles by four different women [Angela Stanford, Pat Hurst, Cristie Kerr and Brittany Lincicome]. Two events remain on the calendar. Jiyai Shin still tops the money list and the Player of the Year rankings. She is, by the way, from South Korea.
Ryan Moore

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Ryan Moore signed a deal with Scratch Golf to not only use their clubs but become a part owner of the company. ... Paul Casey pulled out of the HSBC Champions Sunday on the fourth hole due to aggravating a previous rib injury. ... Stuart Appleby decided to compete in his homeland's Australian Masters instead of the Children's Miracle Network Classic near his Isleworth home in Florida.
Backspin Moore has been purposely logo-free recently and he continues to do things his own way. ... That should all but end any chance Casey had of winning the Race to Dubai bonus pool. ... Appleby will lose full exempt status on the PGA Tour for the first time since his rookie year.

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

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 12:30 pm
Getty Images

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.

Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

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.