Momentum favoring International team at Presidents Cup

By Randall MellOctober 10, 2009, 5:30 am

Presidents CupSAN FRANCISCO – What’s Justin Leonard going to do now?

When the Internationals stole momentum from the Americans with a late rally on Day 1 of the Presidents Cup, Leonard had a clever answer.

After missing a 3-foot putt in a confusing finish Thursday, Leonard left the course with shoulders slumped and head down.

The next time teammates saw Leonard, he was marching into the team room, slamming the door behind him. He made a beeline to the bar, where he had five shot glasses lined up for him. He proceeded to throw back the shots, one after another with barely a breath between. And then he chugged a bottle of beer.

Greg Norman Presidents Cup
International captain Greg Norman cheers Tim Clark's eagle Friday. (Getty Images)
Unbeknownst to his fellow Americans, Leonard arranged for caddie Mike “Fluff” Cowan to fill the shot glasses with water.

“The beer tasted a lot better than the water did,” Leonard said. “I think a few of the girls were a little nervous for me when I was doing that, but my wife said she just kind of rolled her eyes. She knew exactly what I was doing.”

And what was that?

“Just to kind of let everyone know I was OK,” Leonard said.

Another stunt might have been needed after Day 2 ended.

The Americans still lead, but sometimes scoreboards don’t make sense.

For two days now, play has ended with the big electronic television screen at the 18th green telling us something that didn’t quite register.

The scoreboard showed the Americans leading 6 ½ - 5 ½ Friday, but it sure didn’t feel that way, not with the Internationals winning the final hole in thrilling fashion, not with captain Greg Norman’s team celebrating in the fading light with so many American fans staggering out of the bleachers in stupefied silence.

When Tim Clark rolled in the last putt of the day, a 14-foot eagle at the final hole, he turned the day upside down.

Clark, the diminutive South African who delivered the day’s giant-sized shot, put an exclamation point on another late rally by the Internationals.

One down with two to play, Clark and Vijay Singh won the final two holes to defeat Lucas Glover and Stewart Cink.

Down in five of six matches, the Internationals rallied to split the first round of fourball.

The scoreboard may show the Americans ahead, but the Internationals felt as if they won the day with their comeback.

“We feel like today we’ve come out a little ahead, certainly after that start,” Clark said. “It certainly didn’t look good there for awhile. We are feeling good.

“We have got to think that they have to be, not down, but they may feel like they let a few points slip. It seems like most of the close matches that come down to the last couple holes, we have been able to salvage a halve, or even win a point, which is huge.”

The Internationals have owned the last hole this week.

Clark’s eagle at the 18th was the second of the day by the Internationals. Mike Weir stole another match earlier with his eagle there.

That ought to make American captain Fred Couples nervous.

The Internationals closed hard on Day 1 when Leonard missed that short putt that left the Americans with a one-point lead instead of a two-point cushion. Leonard might have been thrown off over confusion as to whether Retief Goosen was going to concede that last putt, but the miss gave the Internationals a lift.

“It’s a two-point swing, in a way,” Clark said.

Clark, a short hitter, delivered in the clutch at the 18th hole, a 525-yard par 5. He hit a 3-wood from 251 yards to 14 feet to set up his closing eagle.

“I got on the tee not knowing if I could actually reach the hole in two,” Clark said. “In the practice round, I didn’t get there.”

Clark’s putt barely creeped in, curling around and in the cup as it lost speed. His knees buckled when it disappeared.

“Really a shot in the arm,” Norman said. “I can tell you our team cabin is very, very happy right now and very excited about the way we turned things around. It really could have been a disastrous situation.”

If these matches get to Sunday with the Internationals close, they’ll take a lot of confidence to the 18th hole.

Before Clark’s big finish Friday, Weir and Ernie Els closed hard there, coming from 1 down with three holes to play to defeat Jim Furyk and Anthony Kim, 2 up. Weir hit a 3-wood from 255 yards to 21 feet for a conceded eagle.

Couples tipped his cap to Norman’s team, but he saw Leonard’s stunt. He knows the confidence his team carries. He knows how hot Tiger Woods, Steve Stricker and Phil Mickelson are.

“Timmy Clark eagling that last hole was a big boost for them,” Couples said. “At the same time, our guys are awfully excited about the way they are playing.”
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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.