Missed cuts give some stars extra time at Augusta

By Will GrayMarch 31, 2017, 9:05 pm

HUMBLE, Texas – The leaderboard at the Shell Houston Open will be a little light on star power this weekend.

The tournament lost Dustin Johnson early in the week, and now must face a conclusion without a number of the biggest names sticking around.

Adam Scott, Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth entered this week ranked Nos. 1-3 on the PGA Tour in consecutive cuts made. Collectively, they had played the weekend in 63 straight events.

After closing out their respective rounds Friday at the Golf Club of Houston, each heard the same sound emanate from the trunks of their courtesy cars.

Slam. Slam. Slam.

Granted, they were not alone among the Augusta-bound contingent who have some Houston hotel reservations to cancel. Henrik Stenson also missed the cut by several shots, as did Matt Kuchar and Lee Westwood.

Spieth and Scott’s second rounds were particularly peculiar given that they had both gotten off to strong starts the day prior. But Spieth chased an opening 69 with a 5-over 77, while Scott matched that second-round total after starting with 68.

It’s hardly the Masters momentum either player was hoping for, but one look at the local weather forecast and it’s clear that not all missed cuts are created equal.

Rain is heading to Houston in the coming days; it’s just a matter of when and how much. The current forecast calls for a 100 percent chance of rain Sunday with up to 2 inches of forecast precipitation, putting the tournament in an awkward position.

No event ever wants to hear the phrase “Monday finish,” but this one would be especially delicate given how many players come here specifically to prep for next week’s first major. A Monday finish has not been required at this tournament since 2004, three years before it moved to the week before the Masters.

Scott suffered a four-putt on his third hole of the day and ended up taking 36 putts Friday, but he was hardly broken up about it after missing his first cut since The Barclays in August 2015.

Shell Houston Open: Articles, photos and videos

“I’m going to look at the positives. I’ll be fresh for next week,” Scott said. “The weekend weather looks a bit dodgy here, so things may work out as good as they can considering it’s a missed cut. But I think I saw enough out there. I’ve got some time on the range today and tomorrow to really come up with my plan for what I’m going to do next week.”

Scott now expects to head to Augusta National on Saturday evening and will play a practice round there Sunday, as the weather forecast in Augusta on Monday is as bleak as the one for Houston over the weekend.

“An extra day there is not going to hurt,” he said. “In fact, it’ll be most enjoyable.”

Spieth had what he described as an “off day” that included bogeys on three of his final five holes, but he didn’t view his early exit in exactly the same light as did Scott.

“I was not playing this tournament just as a lead-in to the Masters. I was playing this tournament because I love this tournament,” Spieth said. “The weather in Augusta is not good on Monday, either. I’m not sure what’s going to happen with the end of this week into next week.”

Spieth’s revised plan will likely include a trip to Augusta on Saturday night to get in ahead of the weather, followed by an appearance at the Drive, Chip and Putt Contest on Sunday and an afternoon of work on the course.

Spieth was quick to point to his record from 2014, when he finished second to Bubba Watson at the Masters despite missing the Houston cut the week prior, and had seemingly wiped away any sense of lingering disappointment just minutes after completing his round.

“I think we know, and the other players that are playing next week know, that we strike fear in others next week,” Spieth said. “So that’s our idea, that’s going to be my confidence level going in, and we’ll step on the first tee ready to play.”

Granted, there will still be a few notable names sticking around for a wet finish in Houston. Rickie Fowler held the opening-round lead, while Justin Rose comfortably made the cut after rounds of 67-71.

Rose is currently planning to go home to Florida following the final round and wasn’t heading to Augusta until Tuesday, but he admitted that a Monday finish here is far from ideal for all parties involved.

“It’s tough, because it’s a big tournament in its own right, but the Tour and everyone needs to understand as well that a lot of guys play it for a certain reason,” Rose said. “If there’s an opportunity to get it done, we should try to do what we can to get it done before Monday. Because that really alters, and actually really puts you at a big disadvantage versus the rest of the field who have prepared a different way.”

For many big names, the final stages of Masters prep have been cut abruptly short. But they’ll hope to follow in the footsteps of Trevor Immelman and Angel Cabrera, who won the Masters in consecutive years despite each missing the Shell cut the week prior.

For those left in Houston to try to chase down Sung Kang, there are two more competitive rounds and the hope that Mother Nature will cooperate enough to crown a champion before flights headed for Augusta need to be rescheduled.

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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.