18 majors later, Tiger stuck in 18-major quest

By Rex HoggardJuly 15, 2014, 11:51 am

HOYLAKE, England – Eighteen.

That’s how many major championships Tiger Woods has played since he last hoisted Grand Slam glory, which is significant because it has always been Woods’ magic number.

It was Jack Nicklaus’ 18 major victories that Woods had tacked to the wall of his childhood home in Cypress, Calif., and the standard that has driven him throughout his Hall of Fame career.

Getting to 18, matching Nicklaus, was always the headline.

That was always the fine print, particularly when he was winning majors at an alarming clip, but since that last walk-off at Torrey Pines in 2008 Woods has come up short time and time again due to equal parts ignominious play, increasingly deep tee sheets and injuries.

It is the latter that was the topic du jour when Woods arrived for his media meet and greet on Tuesday at Royal Liverpool, site of his last Open Championship victory in 2006.

“I couldn't get out of bed. I couldn't move around the house. I couldn't do anything. That made me appreciate just how fortunate I was to be able to play at that level for such a long period of time,” Woods said of life before back surgery.

Pick apart his game, swing and psyche at your own risk, the primary culprit behind Woods’ Grand Slam swoon has been his inability to play in Grand Slam events.

Since that historic victory in 2008 at Torrey Pines, Woods has been sidelined by various medical ailments – most recently it was a microdiscectomy surgery on March 31 – and missed five major starts.

Of all the obstacles standing between Woods and his major mountain, it will be his ability, or in recent history his inability, to avoid the MRI machine.

But if Woods gleaned anything from his most recent bout with the OR it is a much more reasoned approach to his health. At 38 he has come to terms with the reality that he is no longer the Man of Steel.

Too many surgeries, too many missed opportunities – like this year’s first two major turns – have forced him to come to grips with the reality that his body is on a ball count.

No longer can he punish himself with endless hours on the practice tee in South Florida. The days of grinding through injuries with force of will are gone, replaced by the realities of age and an aggressive swing.

Even last month at Congressional Woods took the long view. Although he missed the cut at his Quicken Loans National, he made a statement to himself that life could return to normal.

“Playing at Congressional was a big boost to me. The fact that I was able to go at it that hard and hit it like that with no pain. It wasn't like that the previous time I played,” Woods said. “I've gotten more explosive, I've gotten faster since then. That's going to be the case, I'm only going to get stronger and faster, which is great.”

He can also take some solace from his return to Hoylake. Just two months removed from the death of his father, Earl, Woods put on a clinic – hitting 48 of 56 fairways for the week (first in the field), 58 of 72 greens in regulation (T-2) and just a single driver for 72 holes.

In a rare moment of retrospect, Woods recounted that triumph eight years ago in nostalgic terms – the calm that he enjoyed on Sunday, the control that led to arguably the best ball-striking week of his career. 

“I felt at peace. On Sunday I really felt calm out there. It was surreal at the time,” Woods said. “I really felt that my dad was with me on that one round. I said it back then in ’06 that it was like having my 15th club. I felt that type of at peace when I was out there.”

This Open will be different, thanks to fairways that are shimmering on the greener side of Pinehurst and a forecast that looks like a scene out of “The Day After Tomorrow” (rain chances range from 80 percent on Saturday to 60 percent on the Sunday).

This much is certain, Woods will hit more than one driver this week at Royal Liverpool and those otherworldly numbers he posted in 2006 will be difficult to duplicate.

The encouraging part for Woods, however, is that he is at Hoylake. Baby steps. You know the drill, you can’t win an Open Championship if you don’t play in an Open Championship.

While the talk about town has fixated on Woods’ seemingly slim chances to claim his fourth claret jug – the British odds makers have him at 25-to-1, well down the betting board – he was quick to remind those in attendance that he has won a major straight off the DL before.

“If you remember in ’08 I had knee surgery right after the Masters. I teed it up at the U.S. Open and won a U.S. Open,” said Woods, who arrived in the Wirral peninsula on Saturday and added a third practice round on Tuesday alongside Hunter Mahan and David Duval.

Whether he can duplicate that feat remains to be seen, but for Woods his quest to Jack’s record and beyond depends entirely on his health and that key component seems ready to resume the march to 18.

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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.