Hold Onto the Ball Lefty

By Rich LernerJanuary 16, 2002, 5:00 pm
Phil Mickelson, debuting this week at the Bob Hope, apparently possesses an excellent grasp of football. Hell, I'd sooner ask Lefty whom he likes in the Bears/Eagles game than which way a putt breaks. He cashed in for major six figures on the Ravens a year ago and let it be known that he's bet on the Rams to win the big show next month.
No doubt Mickelson understands the value of playing mistake-free football. What he's yet to do to is apply that fundamental to his own golf game.
If Mickelson doesn't turn the ball over, he figures to have a great shot to win because his skill level is just that much better than most of his opponents. Not unlike the St. Louis Rams, Mickelson can do things, scores points, put up crazy numbers and take and make shots that other guys can't.
To carry the football analogy futher, take a closer look at David Duval at Royal Lytham at last year's British Open. Not only did he not cough up the ball as he was driving for victory, he shoved it down the throat of the rest of the field. Mickelson at the majors has yet to do that. Phil, when driving for victory at the Masters, the PGA Championship and the U.S. Open, has failed to convert the critical third or fourth down with time running out.
Speaking of football, Jerry Kelly credits Brett Favre for helping him finally break through for his first PGA Tour win. Kelly just moved back from Florida to his native and beloved Wisconsin. He unabashedly calls himself a cheesehead. Favre's dogged determination, Kelly said, inspired him in Hawaii. And while we're on the subject of football, Philly beats Chicago, the Rams fly by the Packers, The Bus rolls over the Raven and the Raiders rock the Patriots. Just hunches, so don't bet on it. I mean, who do you think I am, Phil Mickelson?
Just a thought on Sergio: Someone asked me if I thought Sergio was slow. I said great players who are slow aren't slow. They're deliberate.
By the way, fines for slow play will be more strongly enforced this season. Would I like to see pros play faster? No question. But what really drives me nuts is to watch 15-handicappers imitate every mannerism of a Tour player, grind for 40 seconds over a shot and then bunt the ball back to the pitcher's mound. Each cart should be equipped with a timer which blurts out, 'Pull the friggin' trigger already!'
Moving on, here's something to ponder: Is Tiger hurting his chances of catching Snead's alltime PGA Tour victory mark of 81 by playing overseas? He's already got 29 wins in 5 1/2 years, an average of more than five per season. At the current rate, he'll hit 81 in 10 years.
Conservatively, if he averages three wins a season, he'd need to play about 17 more years to make it happen. Snead was 52 when he won for the 81st time and took roughly 31 years to amass the record, averaging 2.6 victories per season. So the answer to the original question is probably no, Tiger is not significantly hurting his chances. Still, it makes you wonder how much more he would win if he played more frequently in the States. Or does he win now because he's generally so fresh?
Finally, Casey Martin had a scare over the weekend. Makes you appreciate even more fully just what he was able to accomplish on basically one leg. No matter where you stand on the cart issue, it's damn hard to deny him a spot in the field consisting of real life winners and courageous heroes. Get back soon, Casey.
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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.