Hide and Sneak
It’s a very popular mind game played in professional golf.
It requires pros to hide their eyes from leaderboards while sneaking around them. The object is to keep their focus on the shot at hand in their bid to win.
It’s remarkable how many PGA Tour pros do not like to look at leaderboards. A lot of them leave the scoreboard watching up to their caddies, who are instructed only to alert the player to his standing if it requires the player to change strategy down the stretch. This avoids the Jesper Parnevik finish. Parnevik might have lost the British Open because he didn’t know where he stood on the leaderboard at the 72nd hole when Nick Price won in 1994 at Turnberry.
Is Hide and Sneak smart golf? Or is there some kind of weakness in trying to trick your mind to take the nerves out of the finish? Even the game’s best players will debate the point.
I’ve never seen Hide and Sneak more thoroughly played than Crane played it Sunday at the Farmers Insurance Open. Crane said he actually did not know he won the tournament when he putted out at the 72nd hole. He said he didn’t know until fellow competitor Ryuji Imada congratulated him for winning.
“I did not know that I had won when it was over,” Crane said. “I didn't know who was playing well. I didn't know what was really going on in front of me. I had no idea, really, what was going on.”
Anyone else out there astounded by that?
Tiger Woods always looks at leaderboards. So did Jack Nicklaus. But there are a lot of terrific players who would play it just like Crane did.
I once asked six-time major championship winner Nick Faldo what he did.
“I've done it looking and not looking,' Faldo said. “I think it all depends on your confidence at the time. If you're feeling confident, you look at the board.”
Paul Azinger, a 12-time PGA Tour winner, felt similarly when I asked him a few years back.
“If you are real secure, you want to know,” Azinger said. “If you are a little bit insecure, you want to stay wrapped up in your own little world. That can be effective in helping you plot your way around, but it can be dangerous, too, because at some point you have to know where you stand.
“I think the whole idea is getting comfortable [in contention]. That's the ultimate challenge. If you're comfortable knowing where you stand, you're going to have an advantage on somebody who isn't comfortable knowing where they stand.”
Parnevik will confirm that. He didn’t know he had a two-shot lead stepping to the 72nd hole at the ’94 British Open and blew his chance attacking the final pin. This was back before he had won a PGA Tour event.
“I was so caught up in the situation, birdie is all I could think about,' said Parnevik, a 5-time PGA Tour winner. 'I wasn't very experienced, but I learned.
“I think in the end, you really have to know where you stand, but if you know that knowing is going to mess you up, then it's better not to look at all.'
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.