2003 Tour May Offer Surprises

By Associated PressJanuary 8, 2003, 5:00 pm
KAPALUA, Hawaii -- The signs leading to the Plantation Course at Kapalua remind everyone that the PGA Tour Starts Here.''
The trick is trying to figure out where it will lead.
Last year was an unusual trip that took Tiger Woods to two majors and even more dominance in golf. Along the way, a record 18 players won tour events for the first time, while David Duval, David Toms and Davis Love III didn't win at all.
The British Open had its first sudden-death playoff. The PGA Championship was won by a former car stereo salesman (Rich Beem). And the slogan for the Masters ' a tradition like no other'' ' took on a new meaning because of the debate over its all-male membership.
What does 2003 hold?
It's going to continue to get crazy,'' Rocco Mediate said. It's not going to slow down. There's going to be a lot of things happening, like 18 first-time winners. There might be 20 of them this year. But we need Tiger to get healthy.''
The crystal ball is as clouded as ever, particularly with Woods starting the year on the sidelines because of knee surgery that will keep him out for at least the first five weeks.
Still, a look at the top story lines for the new season starts at the top:
When Woods returns from the longest layoff of his career, he will resume his bid to break Byron Nelson>'s record for the longest cut-making streak in PGA Tour history.
He ended the '02 season having made 96 in a row, dating to the 1998 Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Nelson made 113 straight cuts over eight seasons in the 1940s, and Woods could set the new mark at the end of the year, possibly the Tour Championship.
That depends on how well he plays when he returns.
Even if he does break the record, there might be an asterisk. Woods already has played in 22 tournaments that didn't have a cut.
In Nelson's era, making the cut meant making money. And except for the majors and a few other events, no more than the top 20 finishers got paid.
One record no could debate would be Woods' fifth straight PGA Tour money title. No one has ever won more than four in a row.
Woods also has another streak on the line. He has gone four straight years winning at least one major. The record is six in a row by Walter Hagen, from 1924-29.
The Masters: The buzzwords for Augusta National used to be green jacket,'' azaleas'' and Amen Corner.'' Now they are point of a bayonet,'' Martha Burk'' and demonstrations.''
The focus has shifted from Woods going for a record third straight title to whether Augusta National will admit a female member.
Club chairman Hootie Johnson already has said there won't be one by the Masters, or anytime soon. Burk and Jesse Jackson plan to stage protests of the club's membership policy.
This has been going on for six months,'' Jeff Sluman said. Everyone has been asked questions. Everyone has been quoted. I don't see anything new coming out of that. I think there will be demonstrations. But once we get inside Augusta, it will be Augusta as usual.''
The Presidents Cup: The biggest question for the U.S. team is who will want to travel halfway around the world to South Africa in late November.
Woods is said to be leaning toward playing, but Phil Mickelson might take a pass. Lefty doesn't like playing that late in the season, and his sloppy performance during rare appearances in the silly season the last two months made him doubtful.
If I'm playing like this, then there's no point in me going. I wouldn't be doing my team any favors,'' Mickelson said in December. But if I don't go, I'll get ripped. You can bet that decision won't be made until the last week.''
Youth is served: Five players 25 or younger won on the PGA Tour last year, but the spotlight is on Charles Howell III.
The former NCAA champion won for the first time at the Michelob Championship, and he finished the season as the runner-up to Vijay Singh in the Tour Championship.
Howell's goal is to be No. 1, a tall order considering the man at the top. He at least has time on his side ' at 23, he's four years younger than Woods ' but has to start producing multiple-win seasons, and contending in the majors.
Whither Duval?: Starting with his rookie year in 1995, Duval never finished lower than 11th on the money list, and he is the only player besides Woods to be No. 1 in the world in the last five years.
But last year was a disaster.
His best finish was a tie for fourth. His best week of golf was in a losing effort (the Ryder Cup). He wound up 80th on the money list.
Duval was home in Florida on Monday, wishing he were at Kapalua. Four long years ago, he won the Mercedes Championships by nine strokes.
The difficult thing is to not let one bad year damage seven good years,'' he said. I plan on beating up on those guys again.''
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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

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

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

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.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

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. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.