Hearn (64) enjoying final Tour event with anchored stroke

By Rex HoggardNovember 19, 2015, 9:47 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Thursday at gloomy Sea Island Resort was pulled straight from Welsh poet Dylan Thomas’ famous verse:

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

This week’s RSM Classic is the swansong for anchored putting on the PGA Tour with next year’s ban looming, and David Hearn appears to have plucked a page from Thomas’ poem with an opening-round 64 that left him tied for second place and in the hunt for his first Tour title.

This week’s stop isn’t Hearn’s last on Tour, but it will be the last time the Canadian will be allowed to anchor his signature broom-handled putter in competition.

“I obviously prefer to putt the way I am right now, but I am just going to enjoy it this week,” said Hearn, who plans to try a cross-handed grip when he changes to a non-anchored putter. “It's the last week I will be putting with it. I putted last weekend actually with a short one in Mexico and felt fine.”

The move back to something familiar paid off on Thursday, with Hearn rolling in putts from 17 feet (No. 10 and 14), 14 feet (No. 3) and 10 feet (No. 8) to match his lowest round of the young 2015-16 season.

Hearn, like most players who currently anchor, voiced a familiar refrain on Thursday – when it’s time to change he’ll figure it out.

“Obviously I put a lot of thought into it. Fortunately for me I putted on Tour when I first got on in ’05 with a short putter. It's something I have done at a high level,” Hearn said. “I'm confident in my transition, but only time will tell.”

Tim Clark faces the same unknown after a particularly difficult year on the greens.

The RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

“It’s been so much on my mind,” Clark said following a first-round 1-under 69 on the Seaside layout that included 31 putts. “My putting has been really bad no matter what I used this year. Once it’s done I can just move on and stick with it. I’ve been stuck between two minds.”

Following surgery on his left elbow that forced him to miss 22 weeks of competition, the South African switched to a non-anchored putter when he returned at the Travelers Championship.

It was an experiment that lasted just one tournament before he switched back to the broom-handle model he’s been using since he was in college due to a congenital problem with his arms in which he can't supinate his wrists.

“It’s been 20 years, figured I’d give it another few weeks,” said Clark, who plans to try the “Matt Kuchar” method of putting next year with the end of the putter grip pressed into his forearm. “It’s not like I’m going from belly putter to a normal putter, I’m going to be using a completely different way of putting. That’s going to be the hard part of next year.”

If either Hearn or Clark needed a paradigm of putting hope on an overcast day they could have taken a peek at Adam Scott’s Round 1 card at the Australian Masters.

Scott carded a 7-under 64 in what he called “stress-free golf” with a non-anchored putter after a rocky transition away from an anchored model. After a rough week at the Presidents Cup last month, he saw progress with the new putter at the Japan Open (T-7) and CIMB Classic (second), and needed just 28 putts on Thursday in Melbourne.

“I didn't putt well at all this year with the long putter,” Scott said. “My stats were horrible and it was a very frustrating year, so the change has actually been quite refreshing for me.”

While Scott’s transition has been anything but “stress free,” and a few good starts against relatively weaker fields is hardly a definitive statement, he does provide those facing a similar overhaul a reason to be optimistic heading into next season and a new era of non-anchoring.

Until then Hearn and Clark have 54 holes to make the most of anchoring, which the R&A and U.S. Golf Association announced they were banning in 2013.

“For now I'm just going to enjoy it this week and see if I can make a few putts and take the anchored putter out on top,” Hearn said.

Dylan Thomas couldn’t have said it any better.

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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.