Never Ceasing to Amaze

By Jay CoffinJuly 14, 2010, 8:43 pm

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Tom Watson desperately would love to muster one last charge at the home of golf. The Scottish fans would love to see a performance that mirrors last year’s at Turnberry. A better ending would suffice, too.

Is it possible for Old Tom Watson to find the magic at an Open Championship one more time?

When Watson takes to the first tee Thursday morning with Padraig Harrington and Ryo Ishikawa it will be for his seventh Open Championship at the Old Course, but likely his last here. He has an exemption through the 2014 at Royal Liverpool and would need to do something special to make it back here to St. Andrews for the 2015 championship.

Anything indeed is possible, as Watson has shown us over the past 52 weeks. He’s wowed galleries at just about every turn beginning with his Open performance at Turnberry last year. There he arrived with memories of winning the Duel in the Sun – the famed slugfest against Jack Nicklaus in 1977 – and nearly created more memories as he was the leader standing on the tee of the 72nd hole, but ultimately lost to Stewart Cink in the four-hole playoff.

Tom Watson
Watson lost in a playoff at the 2009 Open Championship. (Getty Images)
Just when people thought he couldn’t find his swing again, Watson shot a first-round 67 at the Masters this year and was a shot out of first place. He tied for 18th place.

Less than a month ago Watson, 60, playing on a special exemption, arrived at Pebble Beach for what could be his final U.S. Open. An opening-round 78 made him a virtual afterthought until he shot 71 in the second round to make the cut on the number, then followed it up with a third-round 70 to get him into the top 20. He shot 76 and tied for 29th place.

Point is this man just never ceases to amaze.

“I never think about my history at the Open,” Watson said. “What I think about is I’m still here as a competitor to try to play the golf course the best I can, and that’s what I’m doing.”

Watson contends that his ballstriking is not as crisp as it was a year ago, although it was getting better during each of his three practice rounds. His wish is to hit nine out of every 10 shots the way he prefers rather than the 50-60 percent range he’s been stuck in since Sunday. He is pleased with his putting, which is the one thing that kept him from winning more major championships over the years. He’d have won at Turnberry last year had he converted a par putt from 8 feet.

“Every time I play with him I see that it’s possible [for Watson to contend] because he hits the ball very solidly, and I think if the wind blows, if it blows a lot and the course is dry and firm, that’s when Tom Watson has the best chance,” said Cink, who played a practice round with Watson Monday at Watson’s request. “He has a very good head on his shoulders and his swing is standing the test of time before all of our eyes.”

Watson is perhaps the best links player in the history of golf, having won the Open Championship five times on five different golf courses. But the one glaring omission – if there is such a thing from a man with his resume – is that Watson never won an Open on the Old Course. His second attempt was the closest in 1984, but he shot 73 in the final round and lost by two shots to a hard-charging Seve Ballesteros. Watson hasn’t finished better than a tie for 31st place in his next four championships here.

“When I went out to play on Sunday, it was like I was playing it all over again for the first time,” Watson said. “St. Andrews is a hard course to understand, and you have to relearn it and relearn it and relearn it all the time. That’s how I felt on Sunday and then Monday and yesterday. The same feelings come back.”

He’ll need to rely on all those past feelings of joy and find a way to dig deep this week, as the windy, rainy conditions will make contending a much more difficult task.

Following his performances at last year’s Open Championship and this year’s Masters and U.S. Open, it will be a tall task to expect Watson to provide one more thrill for the golf masses.

“There are certain places that I’ve enjoyed over my career where I’ve played and had some wonderful experiences,” Watson said. “Obviously the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach was at the top of my list. Playing at Augusta, I’ve had success there. It’s been a very special time.

“And here at St. Andrews, it would be a great triumvirate if I did well here at age 60.”

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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.