Round 1 What to watch
Tiger Woods’ quest to make a good year a great one begins at 9:35 a.m. (ET) when he tees off with 2002 PGA champion Rich Beem and defending champion Padraig Harrington. Like him or not, you have to pay attention to where he is and what he’s doing at all times, especially when he comes in having won in each of the previous two weeks. To say Woods is the favorite is the understatement of the year. If he doesn’t win it’d be the first time since 2004 that he went a year without a major and it’d only be the fourth time in a year he hasn’t won.
“I’d say he’s got a pretty good chance,” Stewart Cink said. “He’s driving it pretty well, he’s got a short game that history has never known, he’s got the clutch putting that history has never known and he’s got the ultimate tank of confidence to draw from. So case closed.”
Let’s just hope his group doesn’t get put on the clock for slow play.
Much already has been made of Hazeltine’s par 5s this week. The shortest of the bunch is the 572-yard seventh hole. The other three (Nos. 3, 11 and 15) all are over 600 yards at 633, 606 and 642 yards respectively. At first glance it appears that the length would favor the longer hitters but it’s quite the contrary. There aren’t many (if any) players in the field that’ll be able to reach three of the four par 5s in two, taking away the advantage. So, for a change, those playing the par 5s well this week will have to do so by having a stellar wedge game.
“The only one I really see a decent percentage of the field having a go at is 7,” Jim Furyk said. “The other three, you might have a guy here and there. But you’re not going to have a third of the field going in any of those par 5s. Might be a little bit of an equalizer.”
Round 1 leaders
Recent history says the winner won’t be amongst the leaders after the first round. The past three years the highest position a winner has found himself in after first round is Woods in 2006 where he was tied for 10th place. Woods was tied for 23rd in 2007 after Round 1 and Padraig Harrington was tied for 16th after the first round last year.
Club pro moment
This is, afterall, the PGA Championship, which means 20 PGA Club Professionals are in the field. Sure, they often get overlooked, but at times the do jump up and make a name for themselves for a round or two. There are four club pros in the field this year that have made the cut in previous appearances. Lee Rinker, from Jupiter, Fla., has played the weekend in four of his six PGA Championship appearances. Mike Small, the men’s golf coach at the University of Illinois and Club Pro National champion this year, has made two cuts. Ryan Benzell of Bothell, Wash., and Steve Schneiter of Sandy, Utah, each have made a cut.
Off the radar, Part IV?
Will history play out for the year and deliver a fourth consecutive heartbreak finish or will the golf gods give us a break and deliver the most intriguing major of the year? It’s been widely written and talked about how the first three majors of the year have given us exciting moments and building emotion only to be left wanting more
There was Tiger, Phil and Kenny Perry as the leading men at the Masters until Angel Cabrera won; Phil and David Duval thrilled the New York galleries at the U.S. Open before Lucas Glover jumped up to capture the hardware; And 59-year-old Tom Watson was the toast of Turnberry for 72 holes until he coughed up the Claret Jug to Cink in the four-hole playoff.
How will the final chapter of the 2009 major season be written?
Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome
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 ...
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
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.