Reflection and anticipation from The Players to Colonial

By Brandel ChambleeMay 18, 2011, 8:46 pm

As I ruminate about The Players Championship, it occurs to me that it’s stuck between the Masters and the U.S. Open and, like a middle child, it is searching for an identity.

Some call it a major but it’s only a major if you have to park in a dusty or muddy field and fight for a spot on a shuttle bus with other frazzled, disheveled media types who all want to be Dan Jenkins.

It is only a major if, in fact, you see Dan Jenkins in the media center and while pondering some pithy comment about Ben Hogan to engage him, he passes by eating an ice cream and you, the obtuse wannabe journalist, realize that you are, in fact, a twit.

It’s only a major if those running the event react to someone on a cell phone as if they were standing before the Last Supper with a can of spray paint. So what is The Players if not a major?

It is a 37-year-old event that every year gives us a gut full of drama with one of the year’s best fields on a course that is more gauntlet than golf. While some events on Tour and even a few majors have the appeal of cold grease, The Players is like a soap opera on Telemundo. It’s a head-jerking, eye-popping, four-day gladiatorial contest between millionaires in snappy clothes and Pete Dye with a little help from his wife Alice.

This year’s Players did not disappoint, even if curmudgeonly critics say that the combatants in the playoff had all the appeal of a kazoo horn at Easter service. I thoroughly enjoyed the week and now three days removed from the Tour’s biggest event, I am back in my home state for the Colonial, the tournament that meant the most to me growing up.

Started in 1946, no other course has hosted a non-major longer than Colonial Country Club, though far easier now then when it was designed, is still a favorite amongst players for its antique feel and for the history that lingers in the air.

Ben Hogan won the event the inaugural year and four more times after that with his last coming in 1959. Zach Johnson won last year with a score of 259, some 20 strokes lower than the average score that it took to win there in the ‘60s, and in the process set a record that is sure to stand for some time.

This year’s field is full of stars and storylines, like Sergio Garcia, Jim Furyk, David Toms, Davis Love, Hunter Mahan, Paul Goydos, Rickie Fowler and Vijay Singh – just to name a few – but perhaps the best story coming into the week is Jason Day.

This young man who won the Byron Nelson last year and finished second in the Masters and sixth at The Players this year is a member at Colonial and has agreed to wear a microphone for Golf Channel during the first round. Having just left an era where the game’s best players were not always willing to cooperate with the requests of TV, more and more players are opening up in the media center and being more animated on the course.

Perhaps it’s the social media age we find ourselves in or perhaps it’s that the Tour has done a very good job of communicating the need to help us tell their stories. Regardless, the bottom line is that you, the viewer, get a better look at the players.

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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

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.