Hot Seat: Feeling the Masters glare

By Randall MellMarch 13, 2012, 6:16 pm

You might want to get yourself something cold to drink. The heat never abates in this column.

With players taking their places on golf’s Hot Seat again this week, here is our special heat index for the PGA Tour’s Transitions Championship and the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup.

Klieg light heat – Tiger Woods’ medical team.

Woods may need some more help from his medical team if he’s going to reach the finish line he envisions for his career. If Woods is going to scale past Jack Nicklaus to reach golf’s mountaintop, he will need his body to hold up for the rigorous remaining climb. There appears to be good news following his withdrawal Sunday at Doral, and we’ll know how good if he makes it to the Arnold Palmer Invitational next week.

With his new swing, there is more work for Woods to do to get his game back to the level required to win the five more majors it will take to pass Nicklaus. Woods relished being healthy enough to finally be able to do the “reps” it takes to hone his new swing. That’s the thing about a swing overhaul. It takes more work than maintaining a swing you already own. Woods worked his way through all the other swing changes he made in his career, but what kind of a work regimen will his body be able to endure the rest of his career? Sunday’s WD raises the question anew.

Even if this Achilles’ injury is a minor setback, we’re left to wonder how hard Woods can continue to push himself to get the required reps. His Masters’ prep was cut seven holes short at Doral. How much more prep time will be lost or limited?

Then again, Ben Hogan showed us less can be more. He won three majors in 1953 on legs made wobbly after a head-on bus crash. He won them in just six overall starts that year. He won six of his nine majors after the crash.

Ben Gay burn – Paul Casey

Casey has some work to do to make up for lost ground in the European Ryder Cup standings. After missing the first two months of the season with a dislocated shoulder from a snowboarding accident, he knocked some rust off tying for 51st in a field of 74 players at the WGC-Cadillac Championship. Casey is back in action at the Transitions Championship at Innisbrook’s Copperhead Course in Palm Harbor, Fla.

With the Ryder Cup scheduled Sept. 28-30 at Medinah, Casey has about five months to make the team on points. He is 19th on Europe’s World Ryder Cup points list (based on world-ranking points) and 37th on the European points list (based on European Tour money). He must crack the top 5 on at least one of those lists to automatically qualify for the team. Casey doesn’t want to rely on one of Jose Maria Olazabal’s two captain’s picks. That didn’t work out so well last time with Colin Montgomerie leaving Casey off the team in Wales two years ago.

Walking on hot coals – Padraig Harrington

Move over, Mr. Casey, make some room for Paddy. You’re walking the same path.

Harrington also has some work to do if he’s going to avoid being left off his first European Ryder Cup team since 1997. Harrington has played in six consecutive Ryder Cups, dating back to his first in 1999. Harrington is No. 43 on this week’s European points list, six spots behind Casey. Harrington is 39th on the Euro World points list. Harrington is also in this week’s field at the Transitions. He has shown flashes this year, tying for 10th at the Volvo Champions on the European Tour and tying for seventh at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in his best PGA Tour finish since tying for fifth at the Travelers Championship 21 months ago.

Florida spring sizzle – Ernie Els

Big Easy fans want to see their man in another Masters. Els craves a return, too. That’s why he has been so busy this spring. The Transitions marks his fourth PGA Tour start in five weeks. It might have been his fifth in a row if he had been eligible for the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral last week. To make it to the Masters, Els has to win one of the next three PGA Tour events, or jump into the top 50 in the world rankings the Monday after next week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational. Els has played in every Masters since 1994, finishing second twice.

Sonoran sunburn – Karrie Webb

Webb has nothing to prove. She is already a Hall of Famer with a career beyond what even she dreamed, but she is the defending champ, and there is always pressure to defend. Webb is doing just that this week at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup. She was the perfect winner for last year’s inaugural event. As a Hall of Famer, with great respect for the game’s traditions, Webb eloquently honored LPGA pioneers winning at Marriott’s Wildfire Golf Club in Phoenix.

This event, the risky brainchild of LPGA commissioner Mike Whan, is evolving even better than Whan could have hoped. It was risky in that Whan created the event asking players to donate all their winnings to charities. In hard times for the LPGA, that was a big ask, but the tour’s sacrifice is paying quick dividends. While the charity component is still in place, the inaugural event was such a hit, RR Donnelley upped the ante. This year, there is real prize money, too. Give Whan credit; it was a bold vision.

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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.