Woods eliminating old residual patterns at Chevron

By Rex HoggardDecember 3, 2010, 6:17 am

THOUSAND OAKS, Calf. – Sixty-five strokes over 18 silly season holes does not a comeback make, but given the depths Tiger Woods has plumbed in 2010 his opening effort on Thursday at the Chevron World Challenge was anything but silly.

As the host with the most scaled the steep hill leading to Sherwood’s stately clubhouse fresh off his lone bogey at the last hole the newest member of Team Tiger offered a quick word of encouragement.

“Old residual patterns,” were Sean Foley’s words of encouragement, and it quickly occurs that Woods is no longer looking back – not at a forgettable year or the mistakes of the past.

The 65 matched Woods’ best Tour card of the year and moved him a shot clear of the Northern Irish two-ball of Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell. More importantly, it offered the best evidence to date that his fourth swing change is a switch for the better.

Hunter Mahan, more so than many, should know. Mahan was with Woods for the first two days at this year’s Players Championship, just days before an injury-induced withdrawal and Woods’ official split with former swing coach Hank Haney.

After Quail Hollow, where he missed the cut, and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, where he may have hoped for a cut to miss, The Players may have been Woods at his worst.

“Hearing him talk before (he started working with Foley, who Mahan also works with) he was just wrong,” said Mahan, who has played numerous practice rounds with Woods this season. “He can’t overcome a wrong theory.”

If Mahan’s subtle, and likely unintended, jab at Haney sounds a tad harsh, Woods’ play of late is a more substantial indictment of the old.

To put Woods’ Thursday in context, his 16 greens in regulation (88 percent) is nearly three full letter grades better than his 64 percent season average and his nine fairways hit looks nothing like the 57 percent clip he posted under duress in 2010.

“I was putting together streaks of holes earlier, two, three, four, five holes of this, and then I'd lose it for a little bit,” Woods said. “Eventually I told you I needed to get to a full round and then eventually a full tournament, and today was a full round, so that's a good start.”

There is also something to be said for how Woods dismantled Sherwood, not with lengthy putts and guile but with power and precision. In a line plucked from a 2006 scorecard, Woods birdied all five par 5s and reached four of the five in two shots.

He’s also regained some pop in his driver, estimating he hits his driver 7 to 8 yards longer, and was even hitting his 3-wood past Steve Stricker’s driver on Thursday.

“He’s not moving off it as much going back and looks like he has a lot more control over his club head,” said Stricker, who has played more with Woods on Tour than any other player. “It has that sound back.”

There was a concern, among observers and even Woods, that signing on to another makeover would take months, if not years, to properly gel, and the results remain very much undecided. But it’s becoming increasingly difficult to separate the reality from the hyperbole.

The real test remains almost two months away at Torrey Pines, where Woods is likely to make his 2011 Tour debut, but he has carded rounds in the 60s in six of his last 13 rounds, and that doesn’t include his eight-birdies-in-15-holes effort on Monday at the Ryder Cup.

“The way Tiger works and the way Sean works it won’t take that long (for the changes to take),” Mahan said. “That it could take two years sounds crazy to me.”

Woods is nothing if not a realist and his 65 is little more than progress.

“It’s not totally natural yet,” Woods said. “I hit a bad shot at (No.) 10 but I fixed it. When I first started working with Sean I couldn’t fix it. Now I know what the fixes are.”

It’s a sign of Woods’ progress that Foley retreated to Sherwood’s practice tee with his other two players in the Chevron field, Mahan and Sean O’Hair. Not Woods. No need.

“Old patterns” was Foley’s assessment of Woods’ wayward tee shot on the 18th that led to trouble, but from where the world No. 2 currently sits on the leaderboard it’s starting to look more like a familiar pattern with every round.

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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

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.