Bulk of Masters Field Set by Final 2006 Rankings

By Associated PressDecember 18, 2006, 5:00 pm
At a time when mail boxes are stuffed with holiday cards, bills and the usual batch of junk mail, 17 players might want to be very careful about throwing away unopened letters the next few weeks.
One of them could be an invitation to the Masters.
The majority of the field for the 71st Masters was set on Monday when the final world ranking of the year was published. The top 50 at the end of 2006 are eligible, and Bradley Dredge of Wales got the final spot by one-hundredth of a point over Justin Rose.
The list includes 17 players who will be competing for the first time at Augusta National, including Ryder Cup players J.J. Henry, Brett Wetterich and Robert Karlsson of Sweden.
The Masters will be held April 5-8. Phil Mickelson is the defending champion.
The field will include two Singhs for the first time -- Vijay Singh, the 2000 champion, and Jeev Milkha Singh, who won the season-ending Volvo Masters at Valderrama on the European Tour and is No. 37 in the world.
Jeev Singh also is the first player from India to get a Masters invitation, while Camilo Villegas will be the second player from Colombia; Miguel Salas competed from 1961 to 1964, making the cut once.
Masters invitations are expected to go in the mail this week, only it doesn't look like anything special. Charles Howell III, who grew up in Augusta, once recalled getting his letter and almost throwing it away.
'It's a plain, normal, white envelope,' Howell said. 'Doesn't say Augusta National, no return address.'
Howell would love to get a letter now.
Criteria for the Masters range from major champions over the last five years to top finishes in the other three majors, although the bulk of players comes from the PGA Tour money list (top 40) and the world ranking (top 50).
Howell was No. 52 on the PGA Tour money list and is danger of missing the Masters for the first time since 2001, his rookie season on the PGA Tour. He is No. 82 in the world ranking.
There is still hope for him and players such as Rose and former Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman. The field is not set until the spring, the Monday after the World Golf Championship at Doral. Augusta National will issue invitations to the top 50 in the world and the top 10 on the PGA Tour money list that are published March 26.
The Masters also can issue special invitations to international players.
Rose got married last week and did not play, and a slight change in the points pushed Dredge ahead of him. Lee Westwood needed to finish 12th or higher in the South African Open last weekend, and his tie for eighth was enough to assure he would stay in the top 50 by the end of the year. He was at No. 49.
Of the 16 players who qualified Monday through the world ranking, Ben Crane (No. 41) was the only American.
It was not clear how many players were expected to compete at the Masters because Augusta National was waiting to hear from past champions, who are exempt for life. Charles Coody said last year he would not play again, and three-time winner Nick Faldo said this year he would not play because of his new job as the CBS Sports golf analyst.
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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.

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.