Its Getting Hot in Here

By Mercer BaggsAugust 13, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 PGA ChampionshipSPRINGFIELD, N.J. ' J.L. Lewis signed his scorecard and then hesitantly emerged from the air-conditioned facility.
 
Geez, its hot, he said in exasperation.
 
The heat beat down on players Saturday at Baltusrol Golf Club like the LAPD.
 
Jerry Kelly
The heat index reached 105 degrees Saturday at Baltusrol.
It was so hot that Hal Sutton looked like some kid had taken him down in a dunking booth. His shirt was drenched from his belt buckle to his chest ' and he hadnt even started his round.
 
It was so hot that Joey Sindelars dry-cleaner thanked him for not making the field.
 
It was so hot that John Daly drank ' gasp! ' water.
 
Not that he completely forsook his Diet Cokes. A member of Dalys gallery, one of his club manufacturers, carried a portable cooler full of water and the soda that has become his lifeblood.
 
He needs his Diet Cokes, the tag-along said. But in this weather
 
By the time Daly teed off at 12:50 p.m., the heat index had already exceeded 100 degrees, and was rising faster that the price of gas.
 
Vaughan Taylor was in the first group out at 8:00 a.m. He played alongside a marker, Mike Sparks, head pro at Royce Brook Golf Club in Hillsborough, N.J., and completed play a little over four hours later, shooting a 1-over 71. When asked if there was any advantage to going out early he said, Not really. Hot is hot. As soon as you wake up in the morning the humidity just hits you.
 
Tiger Woods was in the third group out. His shirt, which was a faint yellow when he first donned it, had turned a mustard color due to sweat by the time he walked off with his 66. He spent most of the day tugging on it, trying to detach the soggy micro-fibers from his skin.
 
In his post-round interview, he rested his left arm on a towel, which absorbed a waterfall of perspiration, while his right hand hugged a bottled-water.
 
Its hot out there, but its not brutal, he said. The worst weather I ever played in was Malaysia. Nothing could be as bad as that.
 
Thomas Bjorn, who tied a mens major championship record with a 63, said the same thing: Oh, you try and play in Malaysia and Singapore and Australia and its going to get a lot worse than this. Malaysia this year is probably the worst Ive ever been on a golf course.
 
New Jersey in the summertime might not be South East Asia, but it was awfully hot this Saturday. And hot is hot.
 
Its just like home, added Woods, an Orlando, Fla., resident. Unfortunately, we cant wear shorts.
 
Caddies could wear shorts, and each and every one did. Damon Green, Zach Johnsons looper, wasnt looking forward to lugging the industrial-sized tour bag around the 7,400-yard layout.
 
I was hoping theyd give us a cart, he joked while bathing himself in sunscreen.
 
LPGA professional Laura Diaz is caddying this week for her brother Ron Philo, Jr. Philo mercifully allowed his four-month pregnant sibling to carry a light-weight, kick-stand bag.
 
Phew, was about all she could manage after the round, before going into the players dining area for refreshments and a more comfortable environment.
 
The heat was a huge factor for me, said club pro Darrell Kestner, who shot 78. I felt dizzy and you get sweat pouring out of your eyes. Its a factor.
 
It was for Daly, and not just because he's a chain-smoker with a Buddha belly. The heat and humidity loosened the epoxy holding his putter head to the shaft, forcing him to belly an L-wedge on the greens over his final eight holes.
 
Outside of the ropes, patrons not only gulped down gallons of water but some carried umbrellas and parasols for protection. Others found shade among the oaks, which may not have been the safest place considering that a massive limb fell Friday on the fourth hole and broke a mans leg, but it was certainly worth the risk.
 
A better bet may have been the multiple misting stations.
 
Everyone needs to take precautions, said Dr. Norman Luka, who was heading one of the first-aid stations on site. You need to drink a lot of fluids and that means more than just water. (Sports drinks) provide glucose and potassium. And you need to eat; thats very important. People forget to eat when its hot.
 
Woods echoed that last statement. When asked if there was anything that he was going to work on after his round, he said: Yeah, eating. When its this hot, you dont want to eat much, and I need to get the calories in so I (can) keep my weight up.
 
While the players and caddies cant do much to avoid the menacing sun during the course of competition, they are able to replenish much of what these oppressive conditions take from their bodies.
 
Coolers are set up on every tee box, filled with water and sports drinks, as well as candy bars, granola bars, crackers and fruit. Sandwiches are also available.
 
Dr. Luka wouldnt offer any advice to the players. Theyve done this for so long, they know what theyre doing out there, he said.
 
'I think I pretty much drank a bottle of water on every hole,' said Bjorn, who teed off at 11:20. 'I've eaten a couple of bananas and a couple of energy bars in the round, and I made sure that I had a good breakfast.'
 
Saturday was an endurance test for all those doing the carrying, the swinging, the walking and the watching.
 
Thats why I run in the heat, said Woods. Thats why I run all those miles down there in Orlando.

But for Woods and the rest of the 79 men who made the cut, it wasnt just a physical test; it was mental and emotional one as well.
 
If you play well, youll be cooler, Davis Love III said, implying mind over matter.
 
He might have even felt a bit nippy after his 2-under 68 earned him a share of the 54-hole lead.
 
Love was among the afternoon participants. They received a bit of a reprieve when clouds masked the sun around 4:00. A weather warning was posted, but it proved only an innocuous threat.
 
'That almost-storm we got cooled it down about 10 degrees on the back nine,' said Steve Elkington, who shot 5-under 31 on the inward half en route to a 68.
 
Sundays forecast calls for less extreme conditions, with the mercury rising into the upper-80s to lower-90s. Theres also a 60-percent chance of scattered thunderstorms throughout the day.
 
After a day in which the heat index maxed out at 105 degrees, it shouldn't be quite as hot temperature-wise. But on Sunday of a major championship, thats when the heat is really turned up.
 
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  • 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


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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.

    Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

    By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

    Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

    Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

    Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

    Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

    It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

    The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.