Spin Doctor

By Mercer BaggsMarch 14, 2010, 8:51 pm

Ari Fleischer
ARI YOU KIDDING ME?: Tiger Woods hired former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer to help plot his strategy for a return to golf, the New York Post reported Wednesday. Fleischer runs an eponymous sports communications firm [with backing from IMG] which deals with, among other things, crisis management. He most recently advised St. Louis Cardinals hitting instructor Mark McGwire on his public admission to using steroids.

BackspinThat worked out well, with the whole steroids-didn't-make-me-hit-more-homeruns thing. What strategy will Fleischer use with Woods: 'Cheating on my wife didn't make me any less a family man?' All people want from Woods is honesty and humility. Instead we'll likely get a bunch of half-truths and more roundabouts than a British roadway. Time will tell, but this could be a bad move, Tiger.

Tiger Woods
WE'LL SEE YOU ...: Reports conflicted this past week as to when Tiger Woods would be returning to competition. The New York Post said he would be playing the Arnold Palmer Invitational, two weeks before the Masters. The Associated Press said he wouldn't play any sooner than at Augusta. And Mark O'Meara said he wouldn't be surprised if Woods played the Tavistock Cup, which is the Monday and Tuesday of Bay Hill week on his home course at Isleworth.

Backspin Both the Post and AP cited multiple anonymous sources for the inside information. If they are legitimate sources, it shouldn't be hard for Woods to figure out who is leaking information. Does he even have four people inside his camp? Of course this could all be strategic, just so no one really catches the scent of his trail. As for his return, Tavistock and the Masters offer ideal conditions regarding crowd control. But as far as the media is concerned, where he returns shouldn't really matter. The PGA Tour governs who covers its tournaments. Think Tim Finchem, or even Palmer, is letting TMZ through the gate?
Ernie Els
THIS IS BIG [EASY]: Ernie Els won his first PGA Tour event in over two years, capturing the WGC-CA Championship. Els, a winner are Doral in 2002, closed in 6-under 66 to finish four strokes ahead of countryman – and roommate for the week – Charl Schwartzel. The victory was Els' 17th on Tour.

BackspinEls is a first-ballot Hall of Famer. But, as is the case for many players in the Tiger Woods era, there's always been a feeling that he should have accomplished more. Two things have always stood in his way: his confidence and Woods. It's probably no coincidence that Els has regained his mental edge in Woods' absence. And if that's the case, so be it. Golf needs a player like Els. There are a lot of great players around the world, but there are only a handful – like Tom Kite small hands – of players who are true worldwide superstars. Els is one of them.

WGC-CA Championship
WORLDWIDE APPEAL: The WGC-CA Championship had true international appeal, as South Africa, Germany, the United States, Ireland, Australia, England and Spain were all showcased in the final top 10. In all, there were 19 countrys represented in the field of 68.

BackspinThe World Golf Championships are a bigger misnomer than Grape-Nuts. These events act like everywhere outside the U.S. is infected with SARS. The underlying issue is that American golfers don't like to travel internationally to play. Well, there were only 25 yanks in the field at Doral. If you're going to contest these events under the umbrella of WORLD Golf Championships, then spread them out around the globe. If certain Americans don't want to travel, let them stay at home.

Puerto Rico Open

Plagued by a deluge, the Puerto Rico Open was delayed Thursday and Friday, and has been pushed to Monday, when they will try and complete 72 holes. Kevin Streelman [through 7] and Chad Collins [through 5] share the overnight third-round lead at 12 under. Golf Channel will air the conclusion on tape delay, beginning at 3 p.m. ET Monday.

You might want to dismiss this tournament and say, 'Who cares if it ever finishes,' but this is a very important event to a whole bunch of players [Twenty-three players are within four shots of the lead]. The winner might not get an automatic bid into the Masters, but he will get a check for $630,000 and a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour. That's plenty of reason to play it out, and play hard.
Ping Eye 2

IT'S TIME TO GO: Ping chairman and CEO John Solheim announced Monday that Ping would waive its rights that prevent the PGA Tour from prohibiting the use of Ping Eye 2 wedges made before April 1, 1990 that have deeper, wider grooves no longer allowed under current U.S. Golf Association regulations. The controvertial wedges will become inelgible on Tour starting March 29.

BackspinFor all the ballyhoo [code for excessive whining and complaining] that went on earlier in the year over players being able to use these wedges, this issue died with little fanfare. Much like the English language.

Yani Tseng

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Yani Tseng won the Women's Australian Open by two shots over Laura Davies. ... Official reports from the Florida Highway Patrol showed that Elin Woods was not allowed to ride with her husband, Tiger, in the ambulance following his Nov. 27 crash because the ambulance crew suspected domestic violence. ... Peabody Award-winning cartoon series 'South Park' will lampoon Tiger Woods to begin their 14th season.
Karrie Webb, fresh off her seventh Aussie Masters title and seeking her fourth career Australian Open, shot 74 to finish third. ... Not sure if looks can really kill a person, but we'll find out if someone asks Woods about that whenever he has his first real press conference. ... 'South Park' is nothing but juvenile, potty humor. I will not watch this when it airs. I'll DVR it.

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.