Major meltdowns: What happened to 2009 champs?

By Will GrayAugust 16, 2012, 3:28 pm

In October 2009, four men gathered in Bermuda to celebrate reaching a pinnacle in the game. Angel Cabrera, Lucas Glover, Stewart Cink and Y.E. Yang had combined to win the four biggest tournaments and the Grand Slam of Golf served as an informal competition aimed more toward celebrating their crowning achievements.

Three years later, all four have fallen precipitously from their perch. 

Consider the fact that combined, they have played the weekend in less than 50 percent of the tournaments they’ve entered in 2012, and each has yet to record a top-10 finish this year. Three of the four currently find themselves outside the top 150 in the Official World Golf Ranking, and as the regular season concludes this week, all four sit outside the top 125 on the points list.

For three members of the group, the issues have been somewhat injury-related. Lucas Glover – the only one to win a Tour event since taking home his major trophy in 2009 – opened his season by falling awkwardly off a paddleboard in Hawaii. The resulting knee injury forced him to withdraw from the Hyundai TOC in January, and Glover was not able to make his return until the Transitions Championship in March. He has been a shadow of his former self since returning, though; Glover has missed 10 cuts in 15 starts, and his best finish this year is a T-46 at the Memorial. While he ended up 20th in the all-around ranking in 2009, he has slipped this year to 188th. His scoring average of 72.31 places him 186th on Tour, and after ascending to 18th in the world after the 2009 U.S. Open, Glover has now slipped to 153rd.

Y.E. Yang, the 2009 PGA champion, has also battled injury. Neck and shoulder strains have plagued him throughout the last nine months, dating back to his withdrawal from the Dubai World Championship in December. Yang also missed the Memorial with what he described as a neck injury, and his practice was limited due to a similar injury as recently as last month’s British Open. A T-29 finish in Houston represents his best result in a stroke play event on Tour this year, and he ranks 121st on Tour in scoring average. He is outside the top 150 in the all-around ranking (158th), total driving (164th) and GIR percentage (186th). The Korean who defeated Tiger Woods down the stretch at Hazeltine has missed seven cuts in 19 starts this year, and his world ranking – which reached 34 after his PGA win and peaked at 19 in early 2010 – has fallen back to 81.

Like Glover and Yang, former Masters champion Angel Cabrera has faced some health issues this year. Not one to take on an overly taxing schedule – the Argentine has never played more than 19 Tour events in a year – he withdrew from the Zurich Classic in April with a leg injury, followed by another WD at The Players after an opening-round 78, citing “personal issues.” Cabrera has made the cut only five times in 16 Tour starts this year and is still without a top-20 finish. While he ranked 25th in scoring average in 2009, “El Pato” now stands 180th in the category for 2012. He is currently 175th on Tour in GIR percentage, 188th in birdie average and 176th in the all-around ranking. Cabrera reached 18th in the world after slipping on the green jacket, but has now dipped all the way to 233rd in the world.

Perhaps the most surprising decline – and the one least attributable to injury – has been that of former British Open champion Stewart Cink. After spoiling Tom Watson’s bid for a sixth claret jug, Cink was seen as one of the most consistent players in the world. At the end of 2010, though, he split with swing coach Butch Harmon; in the subsequent two seasons, he has recorded only a single top-10 finish (T-9 at the 2011 Wells Fargo Championship). This year, Cink has eight missed cuts in 19 starts and ranks outside the top 150 on Tour in scoring average (156th), ball striking (172nd) and the all-around (184th). Now having fallen to 135th in the FedEx Cup points list, Cink is the only member of this group not in the field at the Wyndham Championship – meaning he will miss the Playoffs for the first time since their inception in 2007. He did not qualify for any WGC events this year, will likely not participate in the Ryder Cup next month for the first time since 1999, and after reaching as high as ninth in the world ranking following Turnberry, Cink has dropped to 210th in the current standings – right between Johan Edfors and Anirban Lahiri.

Even those fortunate enough to peak on golf’s grandest stages are not immune to the humbling stretches experienced by nearly every golfer, professional and amateur alike. More than anything, these tales of hardship serve to emphasize how fleeting glory can be, and perhaps how much it should be appreciated once achieved. Although less than three years have passed since the exhibition that brought these four men together – won, incidentally, by Glover – it often seems as though it’s been much longer since this group was hoisting the game’s most iconic trophies. For these former champions, though, the hope still remains that they can regain their top form – and perhaps earn a return trip to Bermuda someday.

 

Getty Images

Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

Getty Images

Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'


President at the Presidents Cup


Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump


Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


Cart on the green


Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green


Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National


Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


Trump golf properties

Vandalism

Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses

Finances


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers


Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up


Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm