A Cluttered Mind

By Rex HoggardDecember 7, 2009, 3:39 am

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – We’ve played 90 holes, more or less, and accomplished nothing save for one alarming thought – if the final stage of PGA Tour Q-School was a Little League game, experience would be a slaughter rule victim to youthful indifference.

If true knowledge is a desire to learn what you don’t know, then many among the crop closing on 2010 Tour cards are dumb as a flagstick, at least as it applies to the Fall Classic.

“I can’t handle the nerves,” sighed Jay Williamson following his fourth round early Sunday.

For the record, Williamson was tied for second place at the time and riding one of the most impressive Q-School streaks (having successfully advanced out of final stage six times in seven trips) since Michael Allen stopped making his annual Q-School annuity. Yet no amount of upside could quiet Williamson’s racing mind.

At Q-School, knowing too much is nowhere you want to be.

David Duval and Shaun Micheel may have been the established headliners at Bear Lakes Country Club when the mini-series started on Wednesday, but the stage has been overtaken by the young at heart and, with all due respect, empty of head.

Check the board, Troy Merritt and Graham Delaet shared the lead for much of a windswept day on their way to the Tour doormat via Boise State, of all places. Who knew the blue field was also home to the game’s Birdie U?

Of course, Rickie Fowler is the king of indifference, quietly self-confident and fearless regardless of circumstance. If the mop-headed phenom is nervous few, if any, can tell.

“No one would know,” said Fowler’s mother, Lynn, who added she has seen her prodigy nervous on the golf course once three years ago at the Walker Cup. Sounds about right.

Fowler is not alone on that indifferent island – Merritt and Delaet, first and second, respectively, when officials blew the whistle late Sunday due to darkness, seemed more interested in their Broncos’ BCS plight following the morning round than a leaderboard – while Billy Horschel and Nathan Smith had the look of players who knew something the rest of the field was missing.

This next wave of Tour pro is athletic and lacking a fear of failure that is born from a half dozen or so trips to Q-School. Fowler raced motocross growing up, while Smith was a talented pitcher. They react to changing conditions almost instinctively and without a hint of doubt.

Fowler plays golf as it should be played, with the mind of a hunter-gatherer and a sprinter’s heart. If, as he appears likely to do, Fowler earns a Tour card he could put the Snail Tour back 20 years with his rapid-fire game.

Perhaps even more importantly this week, players must have short, or in many cases, no memories.

Rule 1 of Q-School: check your baggage at the door. Rule 2 of Q-School: leave the calendar there as well.

The year’s longest week has been made into an even more mind-numbing marathon thanks to a storm on Saturday that sent the schedule sideways and an unfavorable forecast for Monday’s big finish.

According to the weatherman there will be a din to match the mood for the vast majority of players on Monday. This many hearts haven’t been broken in south Florida since the Miami Hurricanes stopped recruiting criminals.

Just don’t expect Fowler and the fellow Q-School knuckleheads to be among the jilted, proving once and for all that Q-School is no place for a cluttered mind.

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

Getty Images

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.