Best of the rest: Most anticipated non-major

By Jason SobelJanuary 3, 2012, 1:30 pm

The Masters in April, the U.S. Open in June, the British Open in July and then finally Glory's Last Shot – the PGA Championship in August. The Big 4. But looking past those four premier events, which non-major will be this year's most anticipated? GolfChannel.com senior writers Jason Sobel, Randall Mell and Rex Hoggard weigh in.

By JASON SOBEL

Executives in Ponte Vedra Beach headquarters aren’t going to like this. They’d like us to believe that the most anticipated non-major of any year is The Players Championship – or at the very least, The Tour Championship by Coca-Cola, the season finale to the FedEx Cup playoffs. And yes, those guys never forget a presenting sponsor mention.

Excuse me for being short-sighted, but the non-major I’m most looking forward to this season is coming up very soon. And it isn’t even on the PGA Tour schedule.

Instead, put me down for the Abu Dhabi Championship, part of the European Tour schedule, which will be contested Jan. 26-29.

The event will include each of the world’s top four players – Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy and Martin Kaymer – making their season debuts. It will feature three of last year’s four major winners – McIlroy, plus Darren Clarke and Charl Schwartzel. It will host a bevy of young talents, led by Tom Lewis and Matteo Manassero.

And yes, there’s the obvious Tiger factor, too. Coming off his first win in more than two years, Tiger Woods will be playing in Abu Dhabi for the first time, which always adds plenty of intrigue to the festivities. 

As if all that wasn’t enough, the tourney occurs during a week in which it should get top billing on this side of the pond. During the bye week between the NFL conference championships and Super Bowl and with pro and college basketball still in early-to-mid-season mode, the world’s best players competing nine time zones from the East Coast should garner plenty of attention.


Ryder Cup trophy

By RANDALL MELL

You know what they say, don’t you?

The golf season doesn’t really begin until Abu Dhabi.

With Tiger Woods making his 2012 debut there later this month, the United Arab Emirates feels like it will be the center of the golf universe. So many folks want to see if Woods is ready to build on his Chevron World Challenge win and step on some necks again.

With that said, the Abu Dhabi Championship isn’t the best non-major scheduled this year. Not even close. It’s a Ryder Cup year. No event outside the majors compares to the Ryder Cup. No event, including the majors, is more electric with galleries singing and chanting like they’re at a football game. There’s suspense over every match in a Ryder Cup. There’s drama over practically every shot. The atmosphere at Abu Dhabi won’t compare to what will unfold at Medinah in September.

The Americans want the cup back, but Europe is formidable with the top four players in the world from there and with the Euros having won four of the last five Ryder Cups and six of the last eight.


Tiger Woods

By REX HOGGARD

You won’t have to wait long to scratch your marquee golf itch in 2012. Just three weeks, in fact, until the golf world descends on the United Arab Emirates for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship and what can only be described as a mid-major.

In just the year’s fourth week the field will include no fewer than three of the top 10 players in the World Golf Ranking, led by No. 3 Rory McIlroy, a wealth of European Ryder Cup team implications and the guy in the red shirt.

You remember Tiger Woods, right? He finished 2011 with a near-miss at the Australian Open, clinched the winning point at the Presidents Cup and played much better than that 2-3-0 record suggested, and outdueled Zach Johnson down the stretch to win the limited-field, silly-season Chevron World Challenge.

Chevron was significant because it was his first 'W' of any kind in more than two years regardless of official money or field size, but Abu Dhabi looms as an exclusive litmus test for a swing still something of a work in progress.

“Last year, when I went to (the Dubai Desert Classic), I got exposed again because the wind was right to left and I couldn't cut the golf ball into it,” said Woods, who started the final round last year in Dubai a stroke out of the lead but finished with a windblown 75.

For Woods, Abu Dhabi is more than just a full dance card, and for the rest of us it’s much more than just another sleepy January stop.

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

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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

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.