Bienvenidos a Mexico PGA TOUR

By Associated PressFebruary 20, 2007, 5:00 pm
2007 Mayakoba Golf ClassicPLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico -- PGA TOUR players are about to discover what colleague Esteban Toledo and thousands of tourists have known for years: Playing 18 holes in Mexico can be as enjoyable as a cold margarita on a hot afternoon.
 
The PGA TOUR is making its debut south of the border this week with the Mayakoba Golf Classic in an area known as the Riviera Maya. Fittingly enough, the Greg Norman-designed El Camaleon golf course playing host to the event was built for tourists.
 
For all its natural beauty, the course might not challenge the pros too much, unless there's a stiff enough wind off the Caribbean Sea. Still, no matter how low the scores go, having them posted aqui -- here -- is what matters most to Mexicans.
 
'The whole country is excited,' said Toledo, a native of Mexicali and among the nation's more successful golfers. 'All the Mexican people see the best players on TV. Now they're seeing them for real, in their own country. This is the biggest thing that can happen for golf in Mexico. I'm really, really surprised we haven't had it before.'
 
Despite the history being made, this event isn't even getting top billing on this week's PGA TOUR calendar.
 
The world's top 64 players are at the Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona. Some others stayed away out of concerns about the course, the country and other unknowns that come with any first-time event.
 
For the most part, lines at customs have been short and other issues have been minimal. The weather has cooperated, too, going from cool and cloudy on Monday to the kind of crystal blue skies and comfortably warm temperatures shown in commercials on Tuesday.
 
'All the players I've been talking to, they're excited, they're very happy,' Toledo said. 'It's not Pebble Beach, but it's just wonderful. It's the best golf course that I've ever played in Mexico.'
 
PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem and Norman attended a news conference Tuesday to help kick off the week's events. They were upstaged, though, by Salvador Linares, the director general of construction for developer OHL, a Spain-based company.
 
Speaking in Spanish, Linares requested 'constructive criticism' from the media, adding with a hearty laugh that no one should '(expletive) with us.' He later said his goal was for 'these gringos to go back home and tell everyone we can do it as well as they can.'
 
Finchem and Norman heard the barbs through a translator and laughed along, knowing what a character Linares can be. Finchem responded at the end of his opening remarks by saying, 'Salvador, I'm quite certain that we gringos will go back saying, 'Yes, indeed, they can do it just as well as we can.''
 
Billed as the PGA TOUR's Cancun event, the tournament actually is being held in another part of the Quintana Roo state, south of Cancun and just north of Playa del Carmen, in a resort community called Mayakoba that features jungles, exotic animals and a unique underground water system.
 
The Norman-designed course and the first of five hotels planned for the area opened in late 2005, a few months after Hurricane Wilma tore through.
 
The 7,000-plus-yard layout of El Cameleon features two oceanside holes and a cave-like cenote, a natural underground passageway that connects a giant opening on the middle of the first fairway (known as 'Devil's Mouth') to a less-noticeable opening between the second hole and third tee box.
 
The TOUR is under contract to return here through 2012, so it's possible the less-than-perfect timing of this year's event was intentional, making it somewhat of a dress rehearsal. How things go, on and off the course for the golfers and their families, could determine where the tournament lands on the 2008 calendar.
 
Toledo expects a primo date.
 
'I think the word is going to spread,' he said. 'I guarantee you there will be huge names next year. I guarantee it. The whole package here is just fantastic.'
 
Related Links:
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    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.

    Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

    By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

    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

    By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

    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.

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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.