Wake Me When Its Over
Tiger Woods got off to a hot start on the par-70 Firestone course, but simmered quickly for a 3-under-par round of 67. At 18-under, Woods is nine shots clear of a Hal Sutton, Phil Mickelson and Welshman Phillip Price.
Thanks to rounds of 64-61, Tiger took a seven-shot lead into the third round of the $5 million event. With the eventual outcome having all-but-been decided through 36 holes, the only point of interest was to see if Tiger could shoot a sub-60 round.
Woods had scared 59 in each of his first two rounds. Thursday, Tiger was 7-under through 12 holes. Friday, he was 8-under through 12. Saturday, he was 4-under through three.
Woods began the third round birdie-eagle-birdie to move to 19-under for the tournament. It was the third consecutive day he eagled the par-5 2nd. His lead was now eleven, and 59 was certainly in sight. But an errant approach shot led to a bogey at the par-4 4th. Woods' momentum was halted. His round only stalled from there.
Tiger carded 14 consecutive pars to finish the day with a rather routine 67. Still, Woods managed to increase his overnight lead by two shots.
'(I'll take a) big lead any time,' Woods answered when asked if he would rather have a competitive final round or a blowout. 'I've said it again and again, and I will continue to say it.
'Granted, it's more drama for all of you and the people watching when you a finish like we did last week. But I would much rather have it where's it's a lot like the U.S. Open.'
With Tiger matching Old Man Par stroke-for-stroke over the final 14 holes, the rest of the field had a chance to make up some ground - which they failed to do.
Playing side-by-side with Tiger, Mickelson carded only one birdie on the outward half. He picked up three more over his first seven holes on the back nine, but finished bogey - double-bogey to post a 1-under-par 69. In the process, the left-hander relinquished his spot in the final pairing on Sunday to Sutton.
'I putted what I thought was pretty atrociously,' said Mickelson, who used a new flatstick on Saturday. 'To finish the way I did is what's upsetting.it's a sickening feeling.'
Sutton, who defeated Tiger down the stretch at this year's PLAYERS Championship, recorded an ace at the par-3 12th. The 2-time winner in 2000 holed a 5-iron from 188 yards to move to 7-under for the tournament. He then added a pair of birdies over his final two holes to earn his way into the Sunday's final group.
Remember, it was just a week ago at Valhalla, where Sutton missed the cut after limping around the course with an ankle injury.
Only one thing threatened Tiger in the third round - and it wasn't one of the 36 others in the field. At the 15th, Woods tried to swat a wasp out of his putting line. The little fellow took offense and left Mr. Woods a tiny gift in the form of his stinger.
'Right on my finger tip,' said Woods. 'It hurt pretty good, actually. The stinger's still there.'
If you're looking for a reason to watch on Sunday, Woods needs to shoot a 64 for an aggregate of 256. That would be an all-time PGA TOUR record.
Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome
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 ...
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
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.
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
Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double
Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open
Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open
Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row
Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow
Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship
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
Photo Galleries: Best of ...
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com counted down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below. And click here for the full collection of articles.
Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge
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.