Cut Line Cups Half Full
In a rare “house divided” edition the Pavins, that’s Corey and wife Lisa, end up on opposite ends of the weekend axe, but at least neither of them have to suffer through four rounds at Cog Hill, which is about as popular as another September swoon by the Cubs.
Corey Pavin’s picks. If Captain America didn’t exactly take a page from Paul Azinger’s Ryder Cup playbook when he announced his four wild-card picks on Tuesday it was more a byproduct of circumstance than it was a wholesale philosophical shift.
This year’s matches may not be an entirely different game than the “us against the world” spirited home game that was Valhalla, but it’s close, and that had to factor into Pavin’s picks.
If Pavin is culpable of anything it is locking into his picks a tad early. He confirmed on Tuesday that his picks didn’t change over the last week, which likely cost Charley Hoffman a spot on the team. But given the hand Pavin has been dealt it’s hard to find fault in three veterans and a five-tool prospect.
FedEx Cup. It’s not perfect. May never be. But PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem’s big finish is 3-for-3 in crowning the correct champion and identifying the year’s top players.
In order, the cup has gone to Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh and Woods; and only three players have finished in the top 15 the last three years – Steve Stricker, Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk.
Not a Boise State in the bunch. Take that BCS.
Tweet of the Week: @stewartcink “Just finished at Deutsche Bank and my phone is eerily devoid of text, voice or e-mail from You Know Who.” Good news for Cink and his loyal army of followers he got the call, or maybe the news came via a Tweet.
Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)
Phil Mickelson. We’ve been on this treadmill since The Players Championship, Lefty poised on the mathematical doorstep to become the world’s top-ranked player for the first time in a Hall-of-Fame career, and yet each week slips by with another pedestrian performance and an unchanged lineup card.
To put Lefty’s lofty struggles in context, Woods has dropped five times more points in his average ranking (4.96) since January than Mickelson has gained (.82).
The BMW Championship marks the 260th week Mickelson has held the also-ran ranking – exactly twice as long as the next guy on the “bridesmaid” list, Nick Faldo (130 weeks). That’s not 19 runner-ups in major championships, but not a bad measure of a career or a man.
Cog Hill. Mickelson has never been shy in his assessment of Rees Jones’ nip/tuck of the South Side staple, but his discontent was joined by a chorus of other disgruntled players at this week’s BMW Championship.
“Two things you don’t want to hear as a player, Rees Jones and SubAir,” Paul Casey told XM Radio.
What’s lost in the Cog Hill bashing, however, is that Jones’ 2009 makeover of the public-access gem was prompted by the possibility of landing a U.S. Open on the Dubsdread layout, a possibility that turned long-shot when the U.S. Golf Association awarded the 2017 national championship to Wisconsin’s Erin Hills in June.
A word of caution to Tour types on this, you may not love Cog Hill, but the alternative is no stop at all in Chicago. And that’s not good for anyone.
Lisa Pavin. The captain’s better half has not been bashful in expanding the role of the first lady, but a recent interview in Avid Golfer (Dallas) magazine may have stretched the boundaries of a captain’s wife, to say nothing of the fodder she has provided the United Kingdom press.
The article includes numerous photos of a scantily clad Lisa Pavin and comments that stretch the traditional role of a captain’s wife.
“I want this position to stand out. And I want to help the PGA brand the Ryder Cup to another level. To another market. To another niche. I think that’s where my business mind comes in,” Lisa Pavin said in the article. “It’s not just about clothes; people think my job only involves clothing. I’m thinking how to take the PGA of America to other people who wouldn’t normally be interested. That’s just my business mind working versus doing the usual responsibilities that a wife does. We’ll see if it works.”
Works for us, but the PGA of America may want to handle the U.S. team’s wardrobe if the magazine’s photos are any indication of Lisa Pavin’s sense of style.
New groove rule. News that the U.S. Golf Association is testing a potential “tournament ball” has drawn the attention of golf-dom, none other than Woods himself addressed the topic last week in Boston. But before the blue blazers consider any new regulations they may want to take a closer look at what happened the last time the organization adopted a similar rollback.
This year’s new groove rule was supposed to put more emphasis on hitting fairways and make greens harder to find for Tour types, but entering the season’s final month the measure seems to have been counter-intuitive.
Although Tour players are hitting slightly more fairways in 2010 (63.57) compared to previous years (2009, 62.91; 2008, 63.16; 2007, 63.03; 2006, 63.26) – a bump that could just as easily be attributed to wetter, more-receptive courses – the percentage of greens hit from 125 yards and in, the kind of wedge shots that were supposed to be impacted the most by the change, has actually gone up slightly (2010, 81.77; 2009, 81.38; 2008, 81.59; 2007, 80.31).
“Oh, no doubt, it's helped. I think (the new grooves) made it almost easier,” Ryan Palmer said. “I mean, look at the 59 (Paul Goydos at the John Deere Classic), the 60, 61s, and what did they do at Canada, Carl Pettersson shooting 59, Colonial, breaking records. The greens are soft and nobody is spinning the ball, and they're controlling their lob wedges easier.”
Just a hunch, but “easier” can’t be what the USGA had in mind.
Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome
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 ...
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
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.
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
Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double
Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open
Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open
Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row
Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow
Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship
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
Photo Galleries: Best of ...
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com counted down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below. And click here for the full collection of articles.
Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge
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.