Contenders will face weather 'apocalypse' at Torrey

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 31, 2016, 12:32 am

SAN DIEGO – Torrey Pines’ vaunted South Course annually ranks as one of the most difficult non-major venues on the PGA Tour.

Now throw in periods of driving rain.

And sustained 35-mph winds.

“It sounds like the apocalypse is coming,” Jimmy Walker said.

Which means that Sunday should be wildly entertaining for just about everyone but the 71 players still alive here at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rookie Michael Kim has played hundreds of rounds on the South Course and can’t ever recall playing in winds stronger than 30 mph – it’s Southern California, after all. But gusts in the final round are expected to exceed 50 mph, which should wreak havoc on scores because the fairways are already framed by deep, juicy rough.

Scott Brown and K.J. Choi lead at 9-under 207, but it’d be a massive surprise if, given the forecast, the winning score was that low. Fourteen other players are within three shots of the lead heading into what will be a lightly attended final day.

“It sounds like it’s going to be brutal,” Brown said. “I think even par is a really good score tomorrow from the way the course has been playing so far.”

Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos

Only eight players shot a round in the 60s Saturday, on a day with little wind. That group includes Jimmy Walker, who birdied the last two holes for a 68 and now sits just one shot off the lead.

Walker grew up in Oklahoma, played college golf at Baylor – located in Waco, Texas – and said he is comfortable flighting his ball into the wind. To win, though, he knows he can’t once again hit three of 14 fairways and rely on “short-game wizard stuff.”

In fact, fairways hit might be the most important statistic Sunday. With severe crosswinds on several holes and the course stretched to 7,700 yards (the longest on Tour), players will need to take lines over bunkers, hazards and cliffs just to keep the ball in the short grass.

Three holes played at least three-tenths of a stroke over par Saturday – and that was with virtually no wind.

“I’m realistic,” Walker said. “If it’s as bad as everybody says it’s going to be, it is going to be a grind. Is it going to be a ton of fun? Probably not. We’re just going to be out there getting slammed.”

The worst conditions that Brown, whose lone Tour title came at the 2013 Puerto Rico Open (where he outlasted a 19-year-old named Jordan Spieth), said he ever played in was at the 2011 Tour Championship, when the winds ripped 35 mph over the weekend. He finished second that week.

“I enjoy the grind of it,” he said. “I like conditions to be tough, and I like tough golf courses. I think we’re going to have both tomorrow.”

The final round figures to be as much a mental challenge as a physical one, which should help thin out the list of contenders.

Gary Woodland, who is one shot back, said he was excited when he heard the forecast.

“That’s what you want,” he said. “You want it to be as tough as you can. You want to go out there and earn it.”

And the winner Sunday – after surviving heavy rain, strong wind and a brutal U.S. Open-type setup – will most certainly deserve it.

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.