Hooks and Cuts: Setting the scene

By Rich LernerFebruary 6, 2013, 7:14 pm

A couple of big victories by both Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have set the scene for what could be a tantalizing early season run up to Augusta National and the Masters.

•  Tiger Woods, it appears, finally owns his swing. But it was his command of the short game at Torrey Pines that was most telling. That had been missing. If it’s back, then he’s all the way back.

•  Phil Mickelson is a genius with a club in his hands. Genius can wander off and get lost, genius can grow disinterested, but genius can also solve problems, paint pictures and write poetry. Genius takes a spark and makes a bonfire. Genius is inspired by a challenge and a setting, as Phil was last year at Pebble Beach on Sunday alongside Tiger. Genius rides waves, as Phil did last week in Scottsdale in front of half a million fans all week.

• The beauty of golf is the varied landscapes. TPC Scottsdale was 6-inch stilettos and rock concert noise while Pebble Beach is argyle sweaters and crashing waves.

• It seems more people these days would rather surf the web than hit the links. Looking ahead, it’s hard to see a whole lot of kids getting hooked on golf when they’re hooked on iPhones.  Convincing them to spend five hours on a golf course, when they can’t go five minutes without texting, is going to be a huge challenge.

•  The PGA Tour, perhaps in an unofficial event late in the season, should sanction and promote a nine-hole tournament so the public can get comfortable with new numbers: 34 instead of 64 – or in the case of amateurs – 45 instead of 95; and maybe most importantly, two hours instead of five hours.

•  I’d be disappointed if Jim Harbaugh didn’t bark at his golf ball. And speaking of the Super Bowl, with due respect to Joe Flacco, Jacoby Jones should have been the MVP. He peeled off two of the most electrifying plays in the game’s history.

•  Fifteen-handicappers should play no more than 6,000 yards, which with smart design, can be a fun challenge for a 5-handicapper as well.

•  Among my favorite celebrity memories at Pebble Beach was ESPN’s Chris Berman hitting a hybrid about 10 yards out of heavy rough on the first hole at Spyglass. Never breaking character, he turned to our cameras and with his gravelly voice said, “Campbell’s chunky soup.”

•  Kobe Bryant’s vicious dunk against the Brooklyn Nets reminded me yet again of Tiger, who like Kobe and Michael Jordan, are cold-blooded, competitive predators.  They smell weakness and feed on it.

•  Guessing Rory McIlroy’s hit a few balls with his new clubs in the last two weeks. If he wins in the next month on top of Tiger and Phil already winning in 2013, then the hype machine kicks into overdrive for The Masters.

•  Brandt Snedeker possesses Nick Price-type rhythm and could someday have a resume to match. That might be a bit of a bandwagon leap, but his ball-striking, his body and his confidence are all growing stronger. His putting, of course, is Watson-esque, or even Faxon-ish.

•  It’s naïve to assume that PEDs couldn’t help a golfer, or that a game in which players police themselves is beyond reproach. If there are millions to be made and an edge to be gained, then guardians of any sport need to be vigilant.

•  Best celebrity golf moment I’ve ever witnessed came at the Dunhill Links at St. Andrews two years ago. Samuel L. Jackson walked to the practice tee with his clubs and a bag of balls. From behind the ropes, a fan trying to get his attention yelled over and over, “Hey Samuel, Samuel L.” It went on for about a minute. The fan was loud and relentless. Samuel L. wouldn’t look. The guy wouldn’t quit. Finally, Samuel L. stopped dead in his tracks. In full 'Pulp Fiction' mode, he glared straight at the guy and hollered, “I heard you, mother- @#%*&!” 

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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.