Newsmaker of the Year: No. 9: Charl Schwartzel

By Randall MellDecember 12, 2011, 1:00 pm

[Editor's note: Click here for the Top 10 Newsmakers selection process and article release dates.]

Nobody ever closed like that before at the MastersJack Nicklaus won six green jackets, but he never birdied the final four holes on a Sunday to win. Arnold Palmer won four green jackets, but he never did that, either.

Sarazen, Nelson, Hogan, Snead, Player, Watson, Ballesteros and Faldo all produced magic closing out victories at Augusta National, but none of them ever conjured the kind of sorcery Charl Schwartzel showed us winning there in April.

On a dizzying day of lead changes and hard charges, Schwartzel stole the final scenes to win his first major championship in unforgettable fashion.

“So many roars,” Schwartzel said. “That atmosphere out there was just incredible. It was just a phenomenal day.”

In terms of brilliant closing acts in major championships, Schwartzel’s finish ranks with Johnny Miller’s 63 when he won the U.S. Open at Oakmont in 1973 and with Arnold Palmer’s charge from seven back when he won the U.S. Open at Cherry Hills.

“It’s a dream,” Schwartzel said.

Newsmaker No. 10: Darren Clarke

Eight different players held at least a share of the lead in one of the most frenetic final rounds in 74 years at Augusta National.

“The way he played, with those birdies to finish, that’s as good a golf as I’ve ever seen,” three-time Masters winner Gary Player said. “I can’t get over how he finished.”

Fifty years after Player jolted his South African homeland by becoming the first international player to win the Masters, Schwartzel made that nation proud again. At 26, Schwartzel closed with a 6-under-par 66 to join Player and Trevor Immelman as South African Masters’ champs.

Four shots back of Rory McIlroy at day’s start, Schwartzel gave more than a hint of what was to come by chipping in for birdie from 75 feet at the first hole. He followed up with an even better shot at the third, holing out from the fairway with a sand wedge from 114 yards for eagle.

At one point through all the dramatic twists and turns of this final round, five players were tied for the lead.

The action was head spinning all day long with Tiger Woods charging from seven back to grab a share of the lead on his way to a front-nine 31. There was McIlroy’s collapse at the 10th, where a wild drive among the Augusta National cabins derailed his bid. There was Geoff Ogilvy’s run of five straight birdies on the back nine, Bo Van Pelt’s pair of eagles back there. Jason Day, Adam Scott, Luke Donald, K.J. Choi and Angel Cabrera all had their chances.

In the end, here’s how Schwartzel closed it out over those final four holes:

No. 15 – A shot behind Scott at the tee box, Schwartzel hit a strong drive and a 6-iron just over the back of the green. He chipped to 10 feet and made the birdie putt.

No. 16 – An 8-iron settled 15 feet from the cup, setting up birdie.

No. 17 – A precise 9-iron to 12 feet set up that birdie.

No. 18 – A pitching wedge to 18 feet gave Schwartzel his final birdie and an exclamation point to end the day.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Schwartzel said of the day’s denouement.

In all of the Masters’ rich history, nobody else has, either.

Getty Images

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.