Clarke Bjorn McGinley vice captains at Ryder Cup

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2010, 4:09 pm

WENTWORTH, England – Europe Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie selected Darren Clarke, Thomas Bjorn and Paul McGinley as his vice captains on Tuesday, saying they had the qualities to help the team regain the trophy from the United States.

Europe is widely regarded as the favorite heading into the event at Celtic Manor, Wales from Oct. 1-3. With three tournament veterans assisting him, Montgomerie said the team had a great chance to make it six wins in the last eight events.

“The Ryder Cup is about passion, commitment and will to win, and all three men I’ve named possess these qualities in abundance,” Montgomerie said. “They have all been part of successful European Ryder Cup teams in the past and know the players who will be part of the team. I think this is the strongest team we have ever assembled, on and off the course.”

United States captain Corey Pavin has selected four vice captains in Tom Lehman, Jeff Sluman, Davis Love and Paul Goydos.

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are the top two players in the world rankings but there is a sense that the balance of power in world golf is shifting toward Europe.

Four Europeans filled the leading five positions at the British Open at St. Andrews last week, while Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell won the U.S. Open, ahead of Frenchman Gregory Havret. Justin Rose, struggling to qualify for the European team, recently won two tournaments on the PGA Tour.

Montgomerie still has to finalize his 12-man team, which will be chosen after next month’s Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.

The nine players currently occupying the automatic qualification places for the European team are McDowell, Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy, Francesco Molinari, Luke Donald, Ian Poulter, Martin Kaymer, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Ross McGowan.

Among those who could be fighting to be picked as one of three wild card choices available to Montgomerie are Rose, Paul Casey, Henrik Stenson, Padraig Harrington, Alvaro Quiros and Sergio Garcia.

Among Montgomerie’s vice captains, Northern Irishman Clarke is a veteran of five consecutive Ryder Cups from 1997 to 2006, and was on the winning side four times. Bjorn of Denmark played in the victorious 1997 and 2002 teams and assisted Bernhard Langer at the 2004 event that Europe won at Oakland Hills, Michigan.

Irishman McGinley holed the winning putt for Europe in 2002 at the Belfry.

“The four of us will be a team. We are very much together and we will be making decisions from now on together,” said Montgomerie, a veteran of eight Ryder Cups. “All of us have huge respect from the players, and respect on the course is vital.”

Bjorn and McGinley have long been regarded as potential vice captains but Clarke is arguably the surprise addition. He is fondly remembered for his display at the K Club, Ireland, in 2006, when he won three points from three just weeks after his wife Heather died from cancer.

Europe won that year by a record-tying nine-point margin.

“In the Ryder Cups I’ve been involved in, the spirit in the team room has been fantastic and we want to generate that as much as possible,” said Clarke, who still has an outside chance of qualifying for the team as a player. “We’ve all been there and done it before.”

Montgomerie said he decided against selecting Jose Maria Olazabal as a vice captain because the popular Spanish player had been absent from the European Tour for much of the last two years because of rheumatism in his shoulder.

Under captain Nick Faldo, Europe lost the trophy in 2008 at Valhalla, Ky., having beaten the U.S. in 2002, ’04 and ’06.

Montgomerie said there would be no complacency in the European team, adding: “There is no overconfidence here. We know these matches are very, very close.

“You only have to look back at the (18 1/2 -9 1/2 ) win Europe had in 2004 in America: 11 matches went to the last hole and we happened to win nine of them. If it was the opposite way, we would have lost the Ryder Cup – that’s how close these matches are and we are under no illusions at all about how difficult the task this will be to regain the Ryder Cup.”

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.

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.