Why should athletes have to talk after a painful defeat?

By Rex HoggardFebruary 10, 2016, 8:10 pm

For an entire historic season Carolina quarterback Cam Newton spoke volumes, both with his play on the field and into the hundreds of media microphones that were placed in front of him.

Newton is exuberant and outgoing, much like Rickie Fowler, who has made his own competitive statements lately with four worldwide victories since last May.

But on Super Sunday both opted for varying degrees of radio silence in the wake of essentially similar defeats.

Sure, Newton’s loss in Super Bowl 50 will linger longer than Fowler’s playoff defeat at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, but at such heights pain born from athletic performance isn’t necessarily proportional.

This reality of diminishing returns was evident in both star’s post-play press conferences on Sunday.

Subdued and somber, Newton offered just 87 words to the media following the Panthers’ 24-10 loss to the Denver Broncos, with most no more than clipped, two-word responses.

“Got outplayed,” Newton said moments before he bolted the interview area with a quick, “I'm done, man.”

Following Fowler’s playoff loss to Hideki Matsuyama at TPC Scottsdale the game’s quintessential millennial wasn’t much more effusive, answering just four questions, for a total of 240 words, before offering a final emotional response followed by a quick exit.

“I mean, the hard part is having, you know, all my friends and family and Grandpa and my dad who haven't seen me win. But I will be able to kind of hang with them tonight,” Fowler said as he fought back tears. “I’ll be all right. With how good I'm playing, I know I can win. That's the hard part.”

Before you break the Internet debating how misguided are comparisons between Fowler, one of golf’s most likeable if not sometimes guarded players, and Newton, who can be as petulant as he is entertaining, the purpose of this correlation is only to acknowledge the emotions that accompany the enormity of such moments.

“It’s going to hurt because I felt like I had it, especially with the way I was swinging,” said Fowler, who found the water twice on the 17th hole at TPC Scottsdale on Sunday.

“That was a bit unfortunate. I hit it right on line, hit it exactly where I was looking [at No. 17]. That's kind of the unfortunate part to hit the shots that I did and to pull them off and then it kind of backfired.”

To be clear, Newton was not nearly as talkative as Fowler in loss, particularly when asked the keys to Carolina’s defeat.

“Got outplayed,” he mumbled.

But the point is neither player was in much of a mood to talk, and it’s hard to blame them.

It’s all part of the same DNA that makes athletes like Fowler and Newton so entertaining in victory, yet so difficult during emotional defeats.

Some are able to compartmentalize loss better than others. When Jordan Spieth’s birdie attempt at the 72nd hole at last year’s Open Championship rolled wide it cost the 22-year-old more than his name on the claret jug.

Spieth had been vying to win the third leg of the single-season Grand Slam, and yet after he’d signed his scorecard and spoken with the media he joined the crowd behind the 18th green to watch Zach Johnson win the playoff.

Similarly, when Brandt Snedeker struggled to a final-round 77 at the 2008 Masters after heading out in the day’s final group on Sunday he was just as overcome by emotion in his post-round Q&A with reporters, but showed an impressive amount of resilience answering 14 questions.

“You know, I have no clue why I am so emotional. I was laughing outside. I'm crying in here. I couldn't tell you. You know, it's just ...” Snedeker said through tears.

They say players learn more from defeat than they do in victory and in golf the latter is a way of life with even the game’s best players coming up short more times than not. The same can be said of what can be learned about players in victory and defeat. 

While it’s easy to think the examples set by Spieth and Snedeker should be the standard, that entirely too simplistic logic ignores individual personalities.

Fowler’s emotion is a measure of how much winning means to him, not a weakness to be corrected.

A few days after his post-Super Bowl press conference, Newton summed it up best: “You show me a good loser and I'm going to show you a loser.”

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.