Daly Back to Grip It and Rip It at Western

By Associated PressJune 29, 2005, 4:00 pm
LEMONT, Ill. -- Whether he's on the golf course or pulling his big motorhome up to a promotional appearance, someone's always wanting to shake John Daly's hand.
 
Those booming drives and two major titles aside, fans look at him and see themselves. He struggles with personal problems just like they do, and he doesn't exactly have a typical athlete's physique.
 
``They just can't believe an overweight, out-of-shape guy like me can walk 18 holes,'' Daly said with a laugh after his pro-am round at the Western Open on Wednesday.
 
Daly has been the people's favorite since 1991, when, as the ninth alternate, he drove through the night to play the PGA Championship at Crooked Stick and wound up winning the whole thing. His drinking problems and marital woes only endeared him more to fans, all of whom know someone -- a neighbor, friend, maybe even a brother or sister -- just like him.
 
Back at Cog Hill Golf Club for the first time since 1996, Daly was trailed by some of the biggest galleries of the day Wednesday.
 
``The fans have been through thick and thin with me,'' he said, ``and it's nice to play decent golf for them.''
 
Daly has quietly resurrected his career the last two seasons, winning last year's Buick Invitational for his first PGA Tour victory since the 1995 British Open. He had four other top-10 finishes and ended the year ranked 21st, his best showing since 1991.
 
This year, he lost the Shell Houston Open in a playoff with Vijay Singh, the second-best player in the world. He also tied for 17th at both the Mercedes Championships and the Match Play Championship, and is currently ranked 50th.
 
But he's also missed four cuts. At Bay Hill, he shot an 80 in the final round thanks to an 11 on the 18th hole. His best finish in the last five tournaments is a tie for 48th at the Byron Nelson, where he shot 64-73-71-69.
 
``You never know what ... I'm going to do, so I'm not putting myself as a favorite,'' Daly said when asked who to watch this week. ``I'm just going to be here and try my best, and whatever happens happens.''
 
Daly has only played the Western five times, with his best finish a tie for 15th in 1991. He missed the cut the next two years, then tied for 47th in 1996, his last appearance here.
 
``Usually this falls on an overseas trip or a week that I'm with my daughter,'' he said. ``I had them last week ... so it just kind of fit in this year.''
 
The course is longer than Daly remembered it, and the long, patchy rough will wreak havoc on anyone who strays from the fairway. Asked if he's been hitting it straight, Daly grinned.
 
``Sometimes I do,'' he drawled, ``sometimes I don't.''
 
While Daly might be the sentimental favorite, he's hardly the only big name in the field. Singh and Tiger Woods, who have been trading the No. 1 ranking since last September, are both here. So are former Masters champ Mike Weir, 2003 U.S. Open champion Jim Furyk and hometown favorite Luke Donald.
 
Woods would seem to be the player to beat. He's already won three times this year, including his fourth Masters title, and was a runner-up at the U.S. Open. He's a three-time champion at the Western, and hasn't finished lower than 23rd since he turned pro.
 
But Singh has also won three times this year, and has 11 top-10 finishes.
 
A 1-2 showdown on Sunday would be thrilling for fans -- not to mention what it would do for the TV ratings -- but Woods and Singh said they have other concerns.
 
``You're trying to win the golf tournament, and you're going to have to beat everybody in the field,'' Woods said. ``... You can't approach it like, `I just have to beat him and I'll win the tournament,' because you'll probably be blown by by everybody else.''
 
Added Singh, ``I'm here to win the golf tournament. If I can win the golf tournament, I don't care what I'm ranked after this week.''
 
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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.