Just Like Old Times

By Mercer BaggsAugust 19, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 PGA ChampionshipMEDINAH, Ill. -- The 1999 PGA Championship will forever be remembered for Tiger Woods winning and Sergio Garcia chasing ' both Tiger and his ball up to the green on 16.
That was the first major championship which I ever attended. And when I recall the event, I always think back to something else that happened that Sunday.
Mike Weir
Mike Weir is looking to win his second career major championship.
While Woods was basking in the glow of his first major triumph in 2 years, and Garcia was finding warmth in the prospect of a very bright future, there was Mike Weir, face ashen, looking like the victim of a hit-and-run.
Weir was competing in his first PGA Championship that week, just his third career major, and managed to make his way into the final twosome alongside Woods in the final round.
Then came Sunday. Sunday, bloody Sunday. If their physical appearances had matched their scorecards, Weir would have looked like Gerry Cooney to Tigers Larry Holmes.
Weir shot 80 that day, eight worse than Woods.
It would have been easy for Weir to just walk away after that. Not from the game, but from the scorers tent, into his courtesy car, and to any place not named Medinah.
But he didnt. He stopped and allowed a group of reporters and television types, myself included, to hound him about his most miserable performance.
He answered every question. Never made a snarky comment. Never made excuses. All he did was praise Woods and say, Its not like I was trying to shoot 80. Thats just the best I could shoot today. I tried my best.
He was the definition of professional. It was quite impressive.
Looking back, Weir, who was just in his second full season on the PGA TOUR at the time, admits that the situation was just too overwhelming. Everything in the periphery distorted his focus.
It was painful. It wasnt a fun day, Weir recalled. I remember feeling after about nine holes, just kind of spacey, just kind of spun out. I couldnt believe what was going on.
I think it was just inexperience.
Of course, Weir has since redeemed himself on a major level, winning the Masters Tournament in 2003 while playing in the final group. Now, a veteran winner of seven TOUR events, he has a chance to take a measure of revenge on Medinah.
To do so, hell once again have to beat Woods, this time from arrears, and he may have to fend off Garcia as well.
While this years principals hearken back to 1999; the event itself is reminiscent of 2000.
Woods won his second straight PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club, doing so in a Sunday shoot-out with Bob May. The winning score that year was 18 under, seven lower than it was the year before, and it appears were headed in that direction.
Woods, who hasnt won the PGA since 2000, held the 54-hole lead that year at 13 under ' one higher than this year. The big difference this time, however, is that many of his pursuers have major credibility.
May, Scott Dunlap, J.P. Hayes and Greg Chalmers have been replaced with Luke Donald, Weir, U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy, Garcia and 2003 winner Shaun Micheel.
On a day in which red numbers reigned, Woods tied the course record, shooting 7-under 65 to grab a share of the third-round lead with Donald, who had a 66.
Weir is alone in second place after his own 65, two back at 12 under. Ogilvy overcame a first-hole double bogey to shoot 68 and get to 11 under. Garcia (67) and Micheel (67) are four back.
In most major championships, you make par and sprinkle in a couple of birdies here and there, youre looking pretty good. Today, you would have just been run over, Woods said. Tomorrow, I think anyone who wants to win this championship has to make birdies.
'Somebody from the pack is going to charge out and make some early birdies and go low,' Donald said. 'So pars are not going to be very good tomorrow.'
'It's going to take something pretty special,' said Ogilvy. 'It would not be out of the realm of possibility a 20-under (score) could win this tournament. That (means) me shooting 9 under.'
Ive got to go out there and Ive got to do it, said Garcia. Its as simple as that.
Fate and Destiny appear to be on hand this week. But for whom are they rooting?
Are they for Woods, who won here the last time the tournament was contested? Are they for Donald, who lives in the area and attended nearby Northwestern University? Are they for Garcia, whose best major performance came here in 99? Are they for Micheel, who told his caddie prior to the start of the tournament that Medinah reminded him a lot of Oak Hill, where he won his one and only TOUR title?
Or are they conspiring for Weir, whom they double-kicked in the choppers in the final round here seven years ago?
Weir hasnt won on TOUR since the 2004 Nissan Open. The one time he had a chance to do so this year, when he held a share of the 54-hole lead at Pebble Beach, he closed in 78.
Things didnt look promising out of the gates this week either, opening with a modest 72. But he has since turned things around, even to his surprise, going 67-65.
History tells us that Fate and Destiny are always in the corner of Woods in this situation. Hes 11-0 when holding at least a share of the lead entering the final round of a major championship.
But, as Weir says: Im about due.
I know everybodys expectations are that (Tigers) going to go out and go win the championship, because hes done it so many times from the front, Weir said. But theres always a time to stop the streak. Hopefully I can do it.
Email your thoughts to Mercer Baggs
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - 88th PGA Championship
  • Full Coverage - 88th PGA Championship
  • 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

    Getty Images

    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.