The Biggest Story Ever

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2010, 1:01 am
The Dalai Lama must be scratching his head again.

The Tibetan spiritual leader only recently discovered who Tiger Woods was after being asked about him in an interview.

We can only imagine his reaction around the water cooler at The Office of His Holiness when the news hit today that Woods is returning to golf.

“Somebody, please, what is the Masters?”

The news that Woods will return in three weeks at Augusta National was beamed around the world with such force that it’s a wonder it hasn’t knocked satellites off their orbits.

The Tiger Woods story is a worldwide fascination because his golf will be about so much more than sport now.

Woods may not be bigger than the Masters, but his story is.

Woods may not be bigger than golf, but his story is.

Woods now towers over every player and storyline in the history of the game.

That’s because people who don’t understand or follow the game care more about how his story turns out than they’ll care how this Masters turns out.

The Masters is known for its spectacular finishes, but this one will be remembered for the spectacle of its start. And we’re not talking about Jack Nicklaus’ and Arnold Palmer’s ceremonial first tee shots Thursday morning. If this was any tournament but the Masters, Jack and Arnie might need helmets to protect themselves from the stampede that follows the opening of the front gates.

Ernie Els accused Woods of being selfish when he staged his public apology during the Accenture Match Play Championship. There will be players who see the same trait in Woods’ decision to return at the Masters, where he will be more protected from entertainment media and unruly fans who could make his return something ugly.

“Whenever he comes back, it's going to draw a lot of attention to that tournament and the focus is going to be on him coming back,” Stricker told media at Doral last week. “I don't know if Augusta would like that to happen, you know? To turn it into Tiger's comeback instead of the Masters tournament itself.”

Stricker is Woods’ friend, but he’s right.

If Woods doesn’t win the Masters, it might take an incredible finish to make anyone remember this Masters as anything more than Tiger’s return.

The curiosity over how Woods will respond to the challenge of rebuilding his life and reputation reaches beyond the drama framed between the ropes of a golf tournament. That's why his story is bigger than the Masters. He is Lord Jim come to life, novelist Joseph Conrad’s shamed protagonist seeking heroic redemption after a scarring betrayal of duty. Though the young British seaman at the heart of that classic story wins back his honor with the ultimate sacrifice, the story ends badly for him. The compelling lure of Tiger’s tale is the possibility that it ends well for him.

Though Woods is certain to be the target of cruel stupidity, there are millions of folks who will root for his redemption, who will eagerly encourage a man’s sincere desire to be something better.

For some, this is only about golf, about the scores Woods will post.

For others, it’s about emotionally investing in the journey Woods is about to resume, taking the steps with him because that is what being a fan means to them.

Woods is finally about to re-embark on golf’s greatest journey, the pursuit of Jack Nicklaus’ record 18 professional major championship victories. Woods has four to go to tie the mark, five to surpass it.

While Woods doesn’t owe anyone outside his inner circle an apology, the idea that he’ll reach outside it anyway could change the nature of the journey. Devoted fans want to like the stars they’re following. They want to like the men who break sport’s most esteemed records. It’s the difference between making the journey something to celebrate or something to dread.

Woods changes the nature of the journey by inviting us along in some meaningful way.

Millions will be tuned in when Woods makes his start at the Masters, many of them to see if they like the guy who’s coming back.

Woods’ story will be bigger than the Masters, and stories thrive on the nature of the characters who bring them to life.

Will Woods be a protagonist or antagonist?

The answer begins at the Masters.
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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

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.