Australias Nullarbor course to be 842 miles long
BRISBANE, Australia ' Hit a few loose shots or three-putt the first green at Nullarbor Links and youll have plenty of time to think about your errant ways before teeing off at the second.
Thats because No. 2 is 42 miles down the highway.
Billed as the worlds longest golf course, Nullarbor is set to open next month ' an 842-mile trek through the desolate Outback of Australias Nullarbor Plains, starting at Ceduna in the state of South Australia and finishing at the mining town of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia.
The course is a novelty, for sure, but its organizers reckon the par-71, which includes holes borrowed from existing golf courses and others built from scratch near motels and tourist attractions, is sure to bring out the adventurous player.
I dont think there is any two ways about it, it will be unique, Alf Caputo, the courses project manager said in a telephone interview from the western city of Perth, where he is organizing the finishing touches on the course for a planned Aug. 15 opening. The scenery along this stretch of the Eyre Highway is unlike anywhere else in the world.
Ditto the golf course. The seven holes taken from existing golf courses include some with sand greens that are raked, oiled and then rolled to maintain their smoothness.
The first two holes are among them, and they have natural grass fairways, but the 11 holes that are being built for Nullarbor Links will have synthetic tees and synthetic greens ' the most workable plan from a maintenance standpoint due to the lack of rainfall in the flat, dry land of south-central Australia.
In between the tees and green, well leave it as natural terrain, although well clear the debris, said Caputo, a former local council member. Well leave trees and natural hazards there, because we dont want to do anything to affect the beautiful scenery.
The cost of the course came in at a relatively reasonable $640,000, with about a third of the funding coming in a grant from an Australian government department which promotes tourism.
It sounds like a bit of a pipe dream, but when we checked it all out, it was so basic, Caputo says. It doesnt involve any million-dollar spending. We had the infrastructure at some of the holes already, and well pass along proceeds from the green fees to the roadhouses and motels to ensure that maintenance is kept up.
When the course opens, green fees will be a modest $40. A certificate will be issued from tourism centers at Ceduna in the east and Kalgoorlie in the west to those who have their scorecards stamped for all 18 holes.
Bob Bongiorno, a former roadhouse/motel manager at Balladonia, which will host one of the holes, came up with the idea for the course.
I first thought about it nine or 10 years ago, Bongiorno told the AP from Kalgoorlie. I had lived on the Nullarbor for 10 years, and I always felt that people just connected east and west along our highway, and traversed the distance quickly.
They endured rather than enjoyed the trek. They missed what I called a lot of the self-find stuff along the way. The whole idea was to try to create something to slow people down, and make it part of the holiday.
So far, so good in that department. The golf courses Web site had more than 15,000 hits in the three days after word of it first appeared in local media.
The idea took shape when Caputo and Bongiorno, now good friends, sat in a bar and brainstormed over a glass or two of red wine, Caputo said. All good ideas come out of a glass of red, dont they? Out of that session came the setup of the course and the thought of working with local motels and tourist attractions.
Caputo says the average group of golfers will take about four days to complete the course, which, at its most eastern point at Ceduna is 1,300 miles west of Sydney. More than 250,000 tourists annually make the trip across the hot, arid Nullarbor on the Eyre Highway, and there soon could be more: Caputo says a British travel promoter wants to put together a 10-day package which includes Nullarbor Links and topflight courses in Adelaide and Perth.
Included on the Nullarbor journey is the longest stretch of straight road on any highway in Australia. After golfers leave the par-4, 340-yard hole at the Caiguna roadhouse, they wont have to turn their steering wheels for 90 miles.
When they arrive at the next hole at the Balladonia Motel, they can take a side trip to an area commemorating the July 1979 fall to earth of the NASA research laboratory Skylab, which landed in fiery chunks around Balladonia. U.S. President Jimmy Carter is said by locals to have phoned the motels manager to apologize, and the areas shire ranger, David Somerville, was photographed giving a NASA official a littering ticket, which the council later waived.
The next hole is a par-3, 155-yarder at the Fraser Range ' home of the largest eucalyptus hardwood forest in Australia, some trees more than 100 feet tall. Theres also a working sheep station nearby.
Since the holes are designed to be played from either direction, they are not numbered. So the hole at Caiguna near the long stretch of road is called Ninety Mile Straight, followed by Skylab, and then Sheeps Back.
And dont forget Caputos and Bongiornos favorite hole ' the 19th.
Weve got a great bar at either end in Ceduna or Kalgoorlie, but the beauty of this course is that every hole has a 19th hole, says Caputo, laughing. Some just steps from the green. How good is that?
Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge
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.
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.