Family affair for Thompson at LPGA finale

By Randall MellNovember 19, 2013, 1:25 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – She’s the baby sister.

There is no more profound analysis of why Lexi Thompson is rocketing up the ranks of the women’s game.

With Sunday’s victory at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational, Thompson notched her third LPGA title and cracked the top 10 in the Rolex Women's World Rankings, making her the second highest ranked American woman in the game.

She’s still 18.

At 12, Thompson became the youngest player to qualify for a U.S. Women’s Open. At 15, she turned pro. At 16, she won her first LPGA event, which made her the youngest player at that time to win on the tour.

If Thompson seems as if she’s in a hurry, that’s because she was programmed that way. That’s how it is when you are the baby sister always racing to keep up with two talented, older brothers. She wasn’t pushed as a prodigy so much as she was pulled along in the powerful drag her brothers created.

“They’re the reasons I’m playing golf,” Lexi says. “If it wasn’t for them, I might be playing soccer right now.”

CME Group Titleholders: Articles, videos and photos

Thompson is relishing her appearance in this week’s LPGA season finale at the CME Group Titleholders in great measure because the brothers she followed everywhere as a kid will be here at Tiburon following her.

With Nicholas, 30, on the PGA Tour, and Curtis, 20, playing for LSU, it’s rare when all three are together on a golf course anymore. This week, Curtis will be inside the ropes with Lexi, toting her bag as her caddie in a special, limited appearance. Nicholas will be outside the ropes. He’s making the trip with his wife and their 6-week-old baby boy, Nico. It will mark the first time Curtis meets his new nephew.

While much has been made of the impact Nicholas has had on Lexi’s game, Curtis probably had the greater impact. As the middle child, Curtis hasn’t yet received the attention Nicholas and Lexi have received, but he’s got game. He led LSU in scoring last season. He won medalist honors in stroke-play qualifying at the 2010 U.S. Junior Amateur, besting defending champion Jordan Spieth by a shot. He won the 2011 Dixie Amateur.

“Curtis is the most gifted of the three of us,” Nicholas likes to say. “He has the most talent.”

There might not be a single, greater influence on Lexi’s game than Curtis. That’s because they are so close in age and spent so much time playing and practicing together. They were inseparable as juniors, training and home schooling together.

Curtis set the bar for Lexi in so many ways.

“It choked me up when Lexi told me she was going to ask Curtis to caddie for her,” said Judy Thompson, the mother. “It will mean a lot seeing them out there together.”

For so long, Lexi never knew anything other than family as her caddie. Her father, Scott, was her caddie her first two years as a pro, until they hired Greg Johnston early last year. Johnston and Lexi parted ways a couple weeks ago.

“It just felt like it was time for a change,” said Bobby Kreusler, Lexi’s manager. “Lexi thinks the world of Greg, but it was time to try something different.”

Benji Thompson, no relation, was brought on as Lexi’s new caddie and helped her win in Mexico Sunday in his first week on the bag. He used to caddie for Casey Wittenberg and will be back on Lexi’s bag in the future.

This won’t be the first time Curtis caddies for his sister. He toted her bag when she played some men’s mini-tour events in South Florida after she turned pro. He also caddied for her at the CVS Caremark Charity Classic this past summer.

“I love having my brother on the bag,” Lexi said. “He knows my game, and we do make a good team. We have a lot of fun together on the golf course.”

Scott Thompson, the father, says Lexi’s ability to hit it so long came in trying to keep up with Curtis.

“I was trying to keep up with Nick, and Lexi was trying to keep up with me,” Curtis said. “I think it was kind of like a chain reaction there.”

Curtis and Lexi didn’t play just for fun growing up. They played for chores. They played knowing the loser had to make the other’s bed for a week, or do double duty washing dishes, or taking out the garbage.

“Curtis and Lexi were so competitive it wasn’t funny,” Scott once said.

Curtis says he and Lexi have grown to appreciate each other even more as they have gotten older.

“It’s not so much because we’re older, but because we are apart now,” Curtis said. “We aren’t together competing all the time.”

As much as Lexi’s star rises, she’ll always be baby sister to Curtis and Nicholas. It defines her in so many ways.

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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

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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.