Calcavecchia looks for consistency at 3M

By Associated PressAugust 5, 2010, 6:17 pm

Champions TourBLAINE, Minn. – When Mark Calcavecchia pulled into the TPC Twin Cities course parking lot and saw his name on a sign with “Champions Tour” above it, he felt he was at the right place.

His time has come to play on the Champions Tour, and his challenge now is finding the confidence and consistency he needs to stay competitive in the new environment.

Calcavecchia won 13 tournaments in 30 years on the PGA Tour. Just last month, a strong second round at the British Open put him in second place entering the weekend.

But his last win came in March 2007 at the PODS Championship in Florida. In 23 events last year, he had just three top-10 finishes. This year, he made only eight of 15 cuts. His average finish when qualifying for weekend play is 55.6.

“After I won in 2007 and had a good year when I was 47 years old, I think I just kind of took the next two years off mentally and just kind of checked out and waited until I turned 50,” Calcavecchia said. “Even though I thought I was trying and that I could … play well out there, I just sort of didn’t and I lost interest.”

Calcavecchia is preparing this week for the 3M Championship, his fifth tournament on the 50-and-over tour.

“The first two were about as opposite as you can get from the last two I played,” he said Wednesday.

Calcavecchia, who turned 50 on June 12, finished sixth at 12-under par in his tour debut at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open in late June. He was 16th with an 11-under at the Montreal Championship in early July.

After shooting his first sub-70 score in 20 rounds since March 14, Calcavecchia found himself in second place at the British Open. But he shot 77 and 80 on the weekend and finished 73rd.

Calcavecchia returned to the Champions Tour to finish 14th at the Senior British Open one week later and tied for 24th at last week’s U.S. Senior Open.

He was a combined 12-over par at the two major tournaments.

“Overall, after four tournaments I’d give myself a C-plus. I’m playing OK, probably slightly above-average, but certainly nothing great. I haven’t had a chance to win yet,” Calcavecchia said. “It’s tough. These guys are still great players out here.”

Players like Bernhard Langer, Fred Couples, Nick Price and Tom Watson are who Calcavecchia wants to play now, in part because the Champions Tour better fits his laid-back approach.

“I’ve said for three years that I’ve been looking forward to getting out here,” he said. “The golf is still super-duper competitive, yet it is a little more relaxed. It’s not like just because you turn 50 all of sudden you’re not any good anymore.”

The mental part of the game has made him a streakier player than most, if not all, of his competitors.

“When you’ve got a strong faith in your swing and what you’re doing, three or four bad shots won’t affect you that much,” he said. “In my case, if I play three or four bad holes in a row, hit a couple of bad iron shots, drive in the junk, then all of the sudden I’m like, ‘Jesus, I suck. What am I doing out here?”’

His phone lesson with Peter Kostis before last week’s U.S. Senior Open allowed Calcavecchia to hit the ball “better than I scored.” He also liked how he hit the ball during a “quick 18” on Tuesday.

So will it be enough to defeat Langer? The defending 3M champion is the hottest player on tour with wins the past two weeks.

“He’s the guy to beat for sure,” Calcavecchia said. “I played with him the first two days last week, and he didn’t do anything spectacular. … It’s not like he’s hitting every shot perfect or anything. He’s just playing really smart, solid golf, and he hit a lot of putts. He made three or four bombs, and every 6- or 7-footer he needed for par he made.”

Coming off a tough travel schedule for the players, including an eight-time-zone change between the Senior British Open in Scotland and last week’s U.S. Senior Open outside Seattle, a few of the top names are sitting out this week: Couples, Watson and Corey Pavin.

Tom Lehman, a native of Alexandria, Minn., was scheduled to make his first appearance in the tournament. However, he withdrew on Monday with a right knee injury.

Thanks to strong sponsorships, admission to the tournament is free for the second straight year.

“I want everybody in Minnesota to come out and be part of the event,” said tournament director Hollis Cavner. “We want people to come see what we have and enjoy some great golf.”

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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 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.