Americas Best?

By John HawkinsMarch 16, 2011, 6:38 pm

To quote the immortal Jeff Spicoli, a 10th-place finish on the PGA Tour is worth righteous bucks: roughly $150,000 on any given week, depending on the purse size and how many others also wind up 10th. There was a five-man tie for 10th at Doral last week, a pileup that included Tiger Woods, and though it was Tiger¹s first top 10 since last June's U.S. Open, some top 10s are a lot better than others.

A pop-up, a snap-hook, a bushel of missed putts, then a 66 on Sunday. It all added up to $129,000, good work if you can get it but not exactly a billboard heralding the return of the Woods Dynasty. Top 10s can be very misleading – Woods and his fellow T-10ers ended up eight strokes behind Nick Watney. In Tiger's case, he teed off Sunday with basically no chance of contending, so that 66 probably deserves an asterisk.

He calls it progress. I call it a nice round played under zero competitive duress, which makes the Dude in the Red Shirt one heck of a warmup act.

Anyway, a T-9 was worth $150,800 at Torrey Pines and $163,800 at Pebble Beach. If Uncle Sam gets a third of that money, so should Sir Eldrick, whose extended stretch of greatness is the only reason everybody is playing for more than $5 million a week.

Not that you noticed or really care, but 'Top 10 Finishes' is now an official statistical category on the PGA Tour. I hear people talking about top 10s as if a four-way tie for seventh is better than a week in Cancun with Halle Berry. I hear people wondering aloud if Matt Kuchar, with his three career victories and an enormous collection of top 10s, has become America's top golfer.

Excuse me? Does past performance count for absolutely nothing when discussing the identity of our nation's finest? Once upon a time, Tiger Woods was the Greatest Golfer Who Ever Lived, and though he's still alive, I¹m guessing his brilliance will grow exponentially after he's gone. We love to glorify the past and hasten to the future, and thus, we rush to judgment on everything and everybody. Nowadays, the present is just a reason to look back and hurry forward.

You have to win tournaments to be the best – not just this week and next, but in the big picture as it is debated in taverns and clubhouses from coast to coast. Kuchar might be America's most consistent player, but calling him the best is a leap of nearsighted perspective. I understand the need to view this world in the here and now, but a slew of solo eighths does not a superstar make.

That said, the game's competitive landscape definitely is changing. At one point last Sunday, the top four spots on the leaderboard were occupied by young Yanks. Woods and Philly Mick were gassing up the jets, and more than on most weekends, you could feel the game's balance shifting. Out with the gold, in with the kinda new, but Kuchar hasn¹t come close to doing what Steve Stricker did for three years, and nobody referred to Stricker as America's best.

Woods hasn't looked very good in recent months, and at Doral, there were several swings that came straight from the land of the 12 handicap.

Compared with the glory days, it's easy to think that his best golf is far behind him, but that doesn't mean he can't win three or four tournaments a year and continue an honest pursuit of Jack Nicklaus' all-time record of 18 major championships.

The British oddsmakers have made Woods and Mickelson their co-favorites for next month's Masters, which ought to tell you something. Personally, I think Dustin Johnson has the best chance of winning, and if he were to wrap his chiseled shoulders in one of those snazzy green jackets, I still wouldn't consider him decorated enough to earn the label as America's best. Now and for the foreseeable future, that title belongs to Tiger.

It¹s not all about what you've done lately, but the entire body of work.

If the future is the great unknown, if the present is a work in progress, the past must count for something. Especially when your past features 14 majors and 71 Tour victories. By the way, that's a lot of top 10s.

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

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.