What We Learned: Snedeker, Ko with impressive victories

By Damon HackFebruary 11, 2013, 12:30 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com offers thoughts on 'what we learned' from the world of golf. This week, our writers weigh in on Brandt Snedeker's impressive victory at Pebble Beach, 15-year-old Lydia Ko's third professional win in just over a year and the downfalls of a pro-am style tournament.

It isn’t very often that a golfer calls his shot, but that’s nearly what Brandt Snedeker did at Pebble Beach. Last week, fresh off a second straight runner-up finish to one of the game’s icons, Snedeker said he was tired of second place. To be great, Snedeker explained, he had to win tournaments.

So one week later, along the Monterey Peninsula, that’s exactly what Snedeker did, winning his fourth PGA Tour event since the start of the 2011 (as many as Tiger Woods, one less than Rory McIlroy) and fifth Tour win overall.

Snedeker hadn’t even clutched his crystal trophy yet before he started talking about winning majors, starting in April at Augusta National.

Snedeker was in contention there in 2008 before a final-round 77 left him in tears.

He’s grown up a lot since then, enough to be taken seriously nearly every time he tees it up. – Damon Hack

As a society, we’ve become desensitized to certain things. From violence on TV to unpredictable weather, we learn to live with issues that would have been bigger news for previous generations.

A similar desensitization has happened in the game of golf. Not that long ago, a teenager could tee it up with the world’s best professionals and that alone – score and result notwithstanding – would have been enough to warrant major headlines. But now? It’s become a weekly standard to see young men and women competing alongside their heroes. Check that: competing well.

And so when 15-year-old Lydia Ko won the New Zealand Women’s Open on Sunday – already her third victory in a professional event – much of the golf world offered a collective shrug toward the accomplishment.

Been there. Done that.

We’ve seen players such as Michelle Wie and Morgan Pressel set the game afire at a young age, so we’re now accustomed to it.

Well, forget suspending disbelief; it’s time we suspend belief when it comes to young players winning tournaments in general and the exploits of Ko in particular. What she has done prior to her Sweet 16 is nothing short of remarkable. Her “career” – if you can call it that for a sweet kid with a brilliant smile – has already surpassed those of some big-name professionals. It doesn’t look like there’s any end in sight, either, as she’s got all the tools to become a superstar. Yes, I know. You’ve heard that before. And like Roger Daltrey once screeched, we won’t get fooled again. But take a minute to realize just how impressive Ko has been and just how bright her future is.

In other words, stop the desensitization. – Jason Sobel

Barring injury, Brandt Snedeker will be the first FedEx Cup champion to play the Tour Championship the next season. Following back-to-back runner-up finishes at the Farmers Insurance Open and Waste Management Phoenix Open, Sneds cruised to victory on Sunday at Pebble Beach and has 1,282 FedEx Cup points. That was good enough to rank 18th on last year’s regular-season points list and likely good enough for a return trip to East Lake. – Rex Hoggard

I learned – no, it was brutally enforced – that it should be pros-only during the final round at Pebble Beach. Let the celebs have their fun on Saturday, which is always the most unwatchable telecast of the year, and then clear the way for the pros. That’s the way it is at the Humana Challenge – the amateurs play each of the three courses in the tournament rotation, and never have there been complaints about pace of play there. But it’s unfair for the play-for-pay types to endure rounds of five-plus hours when they’re trying to win the event or grinding to improve their status for the reshuffle. Watching three days of wayward driving and yippy putting is already torture enough. – Ryan Lavner

Lydia Ko's desire to remain an amateur has been admirable, but the 15-year-old is giving away so much money doing so. The pressure to turn pro ratchets up with her third professional title in 53 weeks.

It isn't just the money she is leaving on the table. More than that, it is the fact that she is just too talented to get much more out of the amateur game. If she is going to continue to get the most out of her remarkable gifts, she is going to have to do it as a pro. The amateur game has little left for her, and yet she is so young to live in a competitive adult world.

If you are Lydia Ko, or the folks who love her, it's a tougher call today than it was last week. If she wants to go to college, to round out her life experiences, it might have to be as a pro, on the same route that So Yeon Ryu and Michelle Wie took. Ko is too talented to play for a college program. – Randall Mell

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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.