Podcast: Brandel and Jaime reveal Golf Channel’s 25 most impactful moments

Golf Channel celebrates its 25th anniversary on Jan. 17. In honor of the occasion, Brandel Chamblee and Jaime Diaz dedicate their podcast to revealing Golf Channel’s 25 most impactful moments over the last 25 years.

Was it easy to come up with just 25 moments? No.

Did Brandel and Jaime agree on the final list? Absolutely not.

Check out the podcast below for both the top-25 countdown and the lively debate and click here to listen to the Golf Central Podcast that details Day 1 at Golf Channel, with the people who lived it.

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Smith wins first PGA Tour title in Sony Open playoff over Steele

HONOLULU – Cameron Smith of Australia won his first PGA Tour title on his own Sunday when he least expected it.

Two shots behind with two holes to play, Smith made an 8-foot birdie putt on the final hole to force a playoff against a faltering Brendan Steele, and won the rain-soaked Sony Open with a two-putt par from 10 feet on the first extra hole.

Steele had a three-shot lead when he holed a bunker shot for birdie on the 11th hole and he never trailed the entire day until it fell apart at the end. He missed a 6-foot par putt on the 17th, and then hit a wild hook from the fairway on the par-5 18th and never had a reasonable look at birdie.

On the 10th hole for the playoff, Steele was in ideal position in the fairway, 88 yards from the hole, when he hit wedge over the green. He chipped off the mud and wet grass to 15 feet and missed the par putt. Smith, who had driven into right rough, chased his shot to 10 feet.

It was only easy at the end for Smith, a two-time Australian PGA champion who shared the team title with Jonas Blixt in the Zurich Classic three years ago.

”Just had to hang in there. No one was playing good golf today, it seemed like,” Smith said after a 68. ”Just hung in there, and what do you know?”

The victory assures Smith a spot in the Masters. He also is assured a return to Hawaii next year for the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

”That’s been one I’ve wanted to tick off for a long time, to finally say I’ve won an event by myself,” Smith said. ”It’s quite good.”

Steele was trying to win for the first time in just over two years. This was hard to take.

”Everything that could go wrong went wrong today,” Steele said. He closed with a 71.

They finished at 11-under 269, the highest winning score at the Sony Open in 15 years. The wind finally died to normal strength instead of 30 mph gusts. But the rain was steady, and the course was soaked.


Smith battles back to topple Steele in Sony Open playoff

Smith battles back to topple Steele in Sony Open playoff

Sony Open in Hawaii: Full-field scores | Full coverage


A final round that was wet, gray and full came to life in the final hour, which is about how long it took to play the last two holes because the maintenance crew kept having to squeegee the 18th green.

Steele brought possibilities into play when he missed the green to the left on the par-3 17th, pitched to 6 feet and missed his par putt, reducing his lead to a single shot.

Ryan Palmer and Webb Simpson were in the group ahead, both one shot behind. From a fairway bunker, Palmer went with fairway metal and sent it soaring so far to the right that it bounced off the metal railing atop a monster video board, beyond the corporate tent and vanished, presumably in a backyard. He had to return to the bunker and made bogey.

Simpson’s wedge skipped off the soaked green and settled 15 feet behind the hole. He narrowly missed the birdie putt, shot 67 and finished alone in third.

Steele, who had to wait 15 minutes to tee off, had to wait another 15 minutes to hit his second shot from the fairway. He went just as far offline as Palmer, just the opposite direction. It bounced off the roof of the tents left of the green and stopped near the ropes lining the 10th fairway. Given free relief from the grandstands, he hit wedge from the muck to 30 feet and two-putt for par.

”The lie was good,” Steele said. ”It was just a 2-iron to win a golf tournament. It’s hard.”

Smith holed his 8-footer for birdie for the second playoff in two weeks.

With his bogey on the 18th, Palmer had to settle for a 68 and tied for fourth with Graeme McDowell, who had a 64 to match the low score Sunday, and Kevin Kisner, who played in the final group but made only one birdie on the back for a 69.

Lanto Griffin extended his steady play. The Houston Open champion, who opened with a 71 and was in danger of missing the cut, closed with a 64 to tie for seventh. In his 10 starts this season he has finished in the top 20 eight times.

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Davis, Steele share 36-hole lead at Sony Open

Halfway through the Sony Open, Brendan Steele and Cameron Davis have handled the winds best at Waialae Country Club and share the lead. Here’s what you need to know:

LEADERBOARD

T-1. Brendan Steele (-6)

T-1. Cameron Davis (-6)

T-3. Cameron Smith (-5)

T-3. Keegan Bradley (-5)

T-3. Russell Knox (-5)

T-3. Ryan Palmer (-5)

T-3. Sam Ryder (-5)

T-3. Collin Morikawa (-5)

T-3. Bo Hoag (-5)

T-3. Rob Oppenheim (-5)

T-3. Rory Sabbatini (-5)

Click here for full leaderboard.

WHAT IT MEANS

A day after 22-year-old phenom Collin Morikawa grabbed the solo lead, tied atop the leaderboard are two players ranked outside the top 300 in the Official World Golf Ranking, Davis (310) and Steele (403), who are at two different stages in their career.

Davis, a 24-year-old Australian, is coming off a rookie season on Tour in which he needed to retain his card via the Korn Ferry Tour Finals. Steele, a three-time Tour winner and 12 years older than Davis, was inside the top 50 in the world just two years ago.

With marquee names such as Justin Thomas and Patrick Reed missing the cut, the weekend will feature less star power, leaving the stage for the veteran types like Steele, Bradley and Knox, and unproven types like Davis, Hoag and Oppenheim.

HOW IT HAPPENED

After brilliant ball-striking led to a bogey-free round Thursday, Morikawa carded three bogeys in his second round. Two late birdies, at Nos. 17 and 18, got him to even par on the day, but at 5 under, Morikawa is no longer in the lead.

Instead, Steele totaled six birdies and an eagle, closing his round with five birdies and a double bogey in his final six holes, to rise to the top of the leaderboard. Davis had a less up-and-down round, making five birdies, including two in his last two holes.

SHOT OF THE DAY

Sabbatini joined the 5-under group thanks to an incredible second shot into the 18th green. From 232 yards, Sabbatini hit it to 21 inches to set up the tap-in eagle.

BEST OF THE REST

There weren’t a ton of low scores again Friday, but four players tied for third – Smith, Knox, Oppenheim and Hoag – managed to shoot the round of the day, 5-under 65. That foursome combined to make just three bogeys while Oppenheim went bogey-free.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT

A week ago, Thomas and Reed were battling in a playoff at Kapalua. On Friday, they were packing their bags as each finished at 3 over. Thomas’ second-round 71 included two double bogeys while Reed shot 5-over 40 on the front nine before shooting 74.

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South African teenager a shot off lead at home European Tour event

A teenage amateur is looking to crash the pros’ party this weekend at the European Tour’s South African Open.

Jayden Trey Schaper, an 18-year-old from Benoni, South Africa, is just one shot off the lead after 36 holes at Randpark Golf Club in Johannesburg.

Schaper caught fire on the back nine, making five birdies in a six-hole stretch beginning at No. 11, and finished with a second-round, 4-under 67 to move to 10 under on the leaderboard, where he is only behind leader Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland.

The last amateur winner of the South African Open was Denis Hutchinson in 1959.

“We’re all here to try and win, but my goal is just to go out and take things one shot at a time and see what happens,” Schaper told reporters on Thursday.


Full-field scores from the South African Open


Schaper is ranked 85th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking and last month played in his second Junior Presidents Cup. He also won the AJGA Junior Players and South African Stroke Play Amateur last year.

“Jayden’s got this wonderful ball flight off the tee with a little cut,” said Louis Oosthuizen, Schaper’s golf idol who played with the teenager during the first two rounds. “A lot of the guys hit high draws for more distance, but what Jayden has is pure class. We’ll be seeing him right at the top in the future.”

Oosthuizen is two shots behind Schaper in a tie for 11th, part of a group that also includes fellow South Africans Branden Grace and George Coeztee.

Recent UNLV grad and GB&I Walker Cupper Harry Hall is in a four-way tie for seventh at 9 under while Schaper is joined by four other players at 10 under, including former Florida standout Sam Horsfield, who fired a bogey-free 68 on Friday.

Pulkkanen has made just one bogey through 36 holes.

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Morikawa’s 3-putt from 4 feet costs him more than $100K

Lost in the craziness of Sunday night’s wild finish at the Sony Open was a most disappointing end to an otherwise-solid week for Collin Morikawa.

Morikawa, who won his first PGA Tour title as a non-member last summer at the Barracuda Championship, was 1 over for the day but appeared headed for a final round of even-par 70 as he stared down a short putt for birdie at the par-5 18th.

Instead, he three-putted from 4 feet, racing the first putt by the hole and lipping out the comebacker for bogey and a round of 2-over 72.

Just how expensive were those short misses?


Sony Open in Hawaii: Full-field scores | Full coverage


A birdie, a 7-under finish and a four-way tie for ninth would have netted $173,250.

A par, a 6-under finish and a 10-way tie for 12th would have still paid out $112,530.

As for Morikawa, his bogey, 5-under finish and seven-way tie for 21st amounted to $64,350.

That all said, the 22-year-old has already earned more than $2.3 million in 15 starts as a professional and is arguably the most promising prospect on Tour. So he’s got that going for him, which is nice.

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Ricochet off television tower costs Palmer, who regrets nothing

While Brendan Steele was granted free relief from the grandstands of the 72nd hole at the Sony Open on Sunday, Ryan Palmer wasn’t so lucky in his encounter with a temporary immovable obstruction.

Playing in the second-to-last group and trailing by just one, Palmer pulled 3-wood from the fairway bunker at the par-5 18th. His ball then sailed to the right and ricocheted off the top of a very large, very tall television screen, never to be seen again.

After his three minutes of search time elapsed, Palmer took a long cart ride back to the fairway bunker, from where he advanced his fourth shot to short of the green. Although he nearly holed his pitch shot for par, he was left to settle for a bogey, a round of 68 and a tie for fourth at 9 under par.

Asked if he knew that he was just one back at the time or if he would have done anything differently, Palmer answered: “Yeah, no, I knew I was one back. It’s a shot I hit every time. There is no doubt about it.”

He even doubled down on Twitter after the round:

Apparently, the only thing Palmer does regret is his misjudging of the carom: “I told [rules official Slugger White] driving up, I was trying to hit the left side of the cylinders holding up the scoreboard, not the right side.”

Oddly enough, it was Palmer’s flare to the right that prompted Steele, watching in the group behind, to violently miss to the left after a 15-minute wait in the fairway.

“I was watching Ryan and trying to figure out what he was doing,” Steele explained after his playoff loss to Cameron Smith. “I was trying to figure out where he could have possibly hit it, and then I was thinking, ‘Oh, he’s hit it out of bounds right.’

“I was like, well, we don’t want to do that. So that wasn’t positive at all.”

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Playing for fire-ravaged Australia, ‘things just fell into place’ for Smith

After the first two holes of the Sony Open, Cameron Smith was already 4 over par. With two holes remaining, he was still two shots behind Brendan Steele.

But with an eye on the troubles facing his homeland, Smith persevered through both situations and found a way to lift the trophy at water-logged Waialae Country Club, defeating Brendan Steele in a playoff for his first individual PGA Tour victory.

It was an unexpected turn of events given how well Steele played for much of the weekend, and it came despite the 72nd hole being engulfed in drama for the second time in as many weeks. Smith needed to hole a 9-foot putt on the final green simply to force overtime; he did so with gusto, then authored the decisive shot of the week when he escaped from under a tree on the first extra hole and rolled his approach to within 15 feet.

It capped a breakthrough week for Smith, 26, who won the Zurich Classic team event in 2017 when paired with Jonas Blixt but had been searching for his first taste of solo triumph on Tour.

“You just had to hang in there. No one was playing good golf today, it seemed like,” Smith told reporters. “That’s been one that I’ve wanted to tick off for quite some time. I’ve been out here four or five years now, and to finally say that I’ve won an event by myself is quite good.”

With weather a factor all week, Waialae was a soggy shell of its former self during the final round. Mud patches were abundant, the 18th green had to be squeegeed as the leaders lined up their final shots and the playoff was shifted to the par-4 10th because of the poor playability of the home hole.

Several professional golfers are doing their part to raise money for those affected by the Australian bushfires.

Those wet conditions offer a vivid juxtaposition to those experienced in Smith’s native Australia, where brushfires continue to ravage much of the continent. Smith and fellow Aussie Marc Leishman spearheaded a charitable donation effort based on birdies and eagles this week and encouraged other players to join; Smith’s uncle is one of thousands of Australians directly impacted by the fires. The Tour offered to match player donations this week and the International Team from last month’s Presidents Cup chipped in $125,000. 

Smith’s victorious play translated into $10,500 in donations based on his personal scorecard, and he shared with the trophy by his side that his early-week efforts to scrape back into contention were fueled in large part by a desire to chip in as much as he can toward ongoing relief efforts.

“I’ve always been quite good at not giving up. I’ve never felt the need to kind of mentally check out in any way,” he said. “I started bogey, triple bogey (on Thursday), and then finished that day even par and progressed from there. So yeah, I mean, it was a big fight all week basically.”

Just one month after the playing of the Presidents Cup in Australia, the International team announced Saturday that it will donate $125,000 from its charitable fund toward bushfire relief efforts.

Smith has been in and out of the top 50 in the world rankings over the last few years, reaching as high as No. 24 last spring. But despite his team win with Blixt a few years back and numerous triumphs in Australia, he’s largely viewed behind the likes of Leishman and Adam Scott when it comes to Aussies playing regularly in the U.S.He narrowly missed out on a top-50 ranking at the end of 2019, meaning he entered the new year without a Masters invite secured.

But prior to that he was a surprising force in front of partisan crowds at the Presidents Cup, where his normally stoic and soft-spoken persona flashed a rare air of emotion. And thanks to his comeback victory on Oahu, he can safely book travel for Augusta in April.

With an Olympic berth now a realistic goal, Smith can ditch the asterisk that comes with having a lone Tour victory come from a team event. He’s a winner on the biggest stage in his own right, the product of an unlikely comeback during a week when the resiliency of his homeland has been on full display.

“Things just fell into place,” Smith said. “Sometimes you just need a little bit of luck to kind of fall your way, and you never know what can happen.”

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Morgan & Friends raise $1 million to fight cancer

Morgan Pressel started the new year continuing her fight to end the disease that took her mother’s life.

The 13th annual Morgan & Friends Fight Cancer event at St. Andrews Country Club in Boca Raton, Florida, on Monday raised $1,000,622. It marked the fifth consecutive year the effort topped $1 million, raising total funding to $9.5 million over the years.

Pressel’s mother, Kathryn Krickstein Pressel, died in 2003 of breast cancer.

“When we first started this, the thought was if we can save one person, one life, one family, everything that goes with breast cancer and all the heartbreak that goes with that, it will be worth it,” Pressel told LPGA.com.

The effort’s impact has reached far beyond that, with the monies raised supporting patient care and research at the Boca Raton Regional Hospital, funding the Kathryn Krickstein Mammovan and also helping efforts at the Sylvester Cancer Center at the University of Miami.

Juli Inkster, Paul Creamer, Lexi Thompson, Brooke Henderson, Brittany Lincicome, So Yeon Ryu, Jessica Korda, Gerina Piller, Billy Horschel and Martin Hall joined Pressel in the effort.

Pressel grew up at St. Andrews and still lives there today with her husband, Andy Bush. She credits the tight-knit community for continuing to inspire her with its level of support in honor of her mother’s memory.

“I’m so thankful for all the people who have been here from the beginning,” Pressel said.

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Morikawa’s 3-putt from 4 feet costs him more than $100K

Lost in the craziness of Sunday night’s wild finish at the Sony Open was a most disappointing end to an otherwise-solid week for Collin Morikawa.

Morikawa, who won his first PGA Tour title as a non-member last summer at the Barracuda Championship, was 1 over for the day but appeared headed for a final round of even-par 70 as he stared down a short putt for birdie at the par-5 18th.

Instead, he three-putted from 4 feet, racing the first putt by the hole and lipping out the comebacker for bogey and a round of 2-over 72.

Just how expensive were those short misses?


Sony Open in Hawaii: Full-field scores | Full coverage


A birdie, a 7-under finish and a four-way tie for ninth would have netted $173,250.

A par, a 6-under finish and a 10-way tie for 12th would have still paid out $112,530.

As for Morikawa, his bogey, 5-under finish and seven-way tie for 21st amounted to $64,350.

That all said, the 22-year-old has already earned more than $2.3 million in 15 starts as a professional and is arguably the most promising prospect on Tour. So he’s got that going for him, which is nice.

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