Who should be most thankful in 2011?

By Randall MellNovember 25, 2011, 1:53 am

It's been a remarkable year for many players on all tours. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, GolfChannel.com senior writers Jason Sobel and Randall Mell debate which player has reason to be most thankful.


Let’s get things straight right off the bat: This isn’t about the best player of the 2011 season. It’s not about the luckiest or most fortunate. Those all may sound like similar adjectives, but they can produce very different answers. Same goes for the player who should be most thankful this year.

In my mind, that player is Bill Haas.

His year will always be remembered for him winning the Tour Championship and, as a result, claiming the FedEx Cup title, too. That was a one-day windfall of $11.44 million – and really, if you can’t be thankful for an eight-figure payday, you should lose your cranberry sauce and stuffing privileges and get sent back to the kids’ table.

Haas wasn’t the best player of the entire season, but he did play the best when it mattered the most – at least monetarily. He should be thankful for the format, thankful for the obscene grand prize and thankful for the low water level in the pond by East Lake Golf Club’s 17th hole, allowing him to splash out perhaps the greatest shot of the season.

He should also be thankful that two days later he was chosen to represent the United States in the Presidents Cup. He may have only turned the opportunity into a 1-3-1 record, but his play was better than that mark indicates, as he helped the team to victory.

That was only part of the story, though. Bill got a chance to play on a team assistant-captained by his dad Jay, something no previous player had ever done.

Haas had an excellent year and certainly deserves all the fortune that has come his way, but if there’s one professional golfer who should own an extra-wide smile at the Thanksgiving table this week after everything that’s happened, he’s the guy.


Who has more to be thankful for than Erik Compton?

With his victory at the Mexico Open, he locked up a PGA Tour card for this coming year, clinching his spot through the Nationwide Tour.

Courage is normally too large a word to describe what it takes to hit a golf shot. With Compton, you can use it to describe every shot he hits.

After two heart transplants, one as a 12-year-old, another after he suffered a heart attack three years ago, Compton persevered this year to realize his lifelong dream of earning PGA Tour membership. At 32, he’ll join Tiger Woods, Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy and the top players in the world on golf’s best tour.

“Miracle” gets thrown out too casually to describe feats in golf, but Compton’s truly a medical miracle in how he has overcome the challenges his body presents in trying to play at the highest level. Compton practices less than just about any tour pro because of the fatigue he fights. He has learned to be efficient in his preparation, limiting the number of balls he hits on the range, limiting his practice rounds, often to just nine holes, to conserve energy. There have been issues with his heart rate in the past, and I’m not talking about the impact nerves have when a player is in contention to win. He takes medications with side effects other players don’t battle.

There are two sides to Compton we can all be thankful for this holiday season. There’s the man who understands how his story inspires other transplant patients, who reaches out to mentor and encourage men, women and children who are full of fear over how their lives will change after surgery. He’s their great hope. He didn’t always want that role as a boy, but he embraces it now. But there’s also Compton the player, the competitor who wants to be measured solely on his golf skills, who relishes the cold, cut-throat nature of a scorecard and wants to make a mark based on that criteria. The fact that he measures up so well as a humanitarian and a competitor makes him the most remarkable story in golf.

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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

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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.