Spring Desk Cleaning Leads to Thoughts Aplenty
The Callaway ERC II is said to be selling well, but the hoopla about its illegality has waned a bit since its October introduction. Question is, does a product like that depend on an outlaw reputation to sell well?
Which raises another question: Could the U.S. Golf Association serve itself best by simply stepping out of the way? Some over-the-wine-glass speculators say that if the USGA revokes the spring-like protocol and simply takes the reins off, perhaps the non-renegade ERC II would be viewed as just another premium driver. Besides, authorities such as former USGA technical director Frank Thomas have said the natural performance ceiling is only 15 more yards anyway.
That said, dont hold your breath for the USGA to give in.
Talk seems to be the ammunition of choice in the golf ball wars these days. Titleist gets coverage for its Pro V1 in USA Today. Nike tells me Tiger might go on a tear and vindicate their solid-core entry ' and so far, he has. Spalding claims solid-core primacy based on history. And Pro V1 players keep extolling Titleists virtues all the while. So what are we to think? A group of mostly sincere players talks up a product ' but doesnt payment for endorsements automatically queer the sincerest testimonial? Titleist chief Wally Uihlein likes to say that if money werent at issue, everyone on tour would be playing his products. One way or another, Id like to inject the practice range bottled water supply with some kind of truth serum to find out.
By the bye, are your hands good enough to feel the differences in these modern golf balls? Mine neither.
Callaway is planning to sell its new CB1 golf ball for less than $30 per dozen. Mark your calendars: On this date, Callaway entered the mid-price market for the first time ever. And whos the target? Could be Precept, whose surprisingly successful MC Lady ball is the hottest ball in the mid-$20s price range. And it doesnt seem to matter what the buyers gender is.
With that in mind, Im glad my infant son wont see golf as a mens game or a womens game, but as everyones game.
And yes, I expect hell be beating his old man regularly by age 10. Or sooner.
Kudos to the USGA and other organizations for making grants that allow local courses to offer low-priced golf. But the real problem in getting new players is not getting them interested, but keeping them that way. And until I hear the term soccer mom replaced by golf mom, I wont be convinced.
My solution for boring, fly-it-into-the-greens golf: Water less. Build run-up throats to the greens. Everybody learn a 7-iron knockdown. Happens to be a solution for drought as well. (Florida superintendents, are you listening?)
Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia
Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.
Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.
Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.
Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.
It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.
The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.
Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son
ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.
Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.
''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''
They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.
''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''
Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.
''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''
Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.
Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.
Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.
Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?
Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.
Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”
Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.
Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.
The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.
Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.
Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.
Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.