Remedy for The Seniors
Let's begin by changing the name to Classic Golf. Scrap the cookie cutter TPCs, then shrink the fields as well as the number of events. Jack Nicklaus has begged Tim Finchem to make the course setups on the Senior Tour harder, arguing that he would likely play more and that the cream would rise the more difficult the layout. And while they're at it, how about staging more events on the legendary venues, ones considered obsolete for Tiger and the young power hitters. Those tracks, like Salem Country Club this past weekend, would be perfect for the over 50 gang as well as for the legions of fans who recall the Merions of the world with great fondness.
For the viewer, each stop in the 'Classic' series would be an opportunity to not only see strong competition, but to relive the great moments which transpired at that particular venue, like, for example, Hogan's 1 iron to the last in 1950 at Merion. So, give me a tour which stops at Merion, Pinehurst, Baltusrol and 15 or so other fabled layouts. Set them up like U.S. Opens of past vintage and I'm betting Jack and Raymond and Tom and Lee would welcome the challenge. It might rekindle some spectator interest as well. Will it happen? No. But it doesn't hurt to dream, does it?
By the way, Bruce Fleisher delivered the rejoinder of the year in his interview with our own Senior Tour legend, Tom Nettles. Tom asked Bruce's wife, Wendy, what she thought of her man. She said something to the effect, 'He's great, even better than yesterday.' Flash couldn't resist and said, 'Hopefully I'll be even better tonight!' Is Viagra a Senior Tour sponsor?
Speaking of revivals, Jack makes any tournament in which he's contending thoroughly enjoyable to watch. I lived and died with every single shot he hit on Sunday. And if the pitch shot he hit at 14 drops, Salem Country Club would still be picking up the remnants of the grandstands, which would have come down in the ensuing bedlam. Most amazing of all, but given the Bear's nature probably not surprising, is that at the long par three 15th, the hardest hole on the course, Jack tried to draw a one iron. 61 year olds do not hit one irons. No, if you're 61 you try to feather a five wood towards the green. Jack made bogey there, and another at 16. It looked as though the dream had vanished, but then you remember this is Jack. Needing a birdie-birdie finish to catch Fleisher, Jack hit a long birdie putt at 17 dead in the jar. But with too much juice, it spilled out, and the crowd let out an ear-piercing moan. Fully aware that we may not see many more charges from Jack, the gallery was fiercely clinging to the hope that we might live through one more glorious moment.
And that's the only tinge of sadness left over from a stirring weekend for the seniors. Golf's so damn good when Jack's stalking, but realistically how much longer will it last?
Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome
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 ...
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
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.
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
Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double
Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open
Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open
Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row
Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow
Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship
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
Photo Galleries: Best of ...
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com counted down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below. And click here for the full collection of articles.
Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge
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.