Do-over: Kaymer wants a second shot at No. 1

By Associated PressSeptember 30, 2011, 7:54 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – After wilting under the pressure of being the world’s top-ranked golfer earlier this year, Martin Kaymer insisted Friday he will be better prepared to handle the increased scrutiny should he ever regain top spot.

The 26-year-old German supplanted Lee Westwood at No. 1 in February, with a second-place finish in the World Match Play Championship in Arizona coming a month after a lucrative victory at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship.

However, the form that brought him early success in 2011 and four titles last year – including a first major at the PGA Championship – deserted him and a barren seven months has seen him drop to No. 6 in the rankings.

He has looked back to somewhere near his best at this week’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland, though, shooting rounds of 68 and 67 to lie three shots off the lead at the halfway mark.

Kaymer is now thinking big again and is confident he can get back to No. 1 – and stay there.

“After five years being a professional, all of a sudden I was No. 1 in the world,” Kaymer said. “All of a sudden, you see your name up there and people approach you different. They act different around you and obviously you do a few more things besides just practicing and playing golf. And that takes some time to get used to.

“Well, now I know what’s going to happen. There’s not going to be the hype, it’s not going to be as big. Not as big as it was when I was the second German to become No. 1 and with a new golf era in Germany starting and all of those things. I think I’m better prepared this time.”

With current No. 1 Luke Donald setting a fierce pace at the top of the rankings, Kaymer won’t get there any time soon.

Donald is on top of the money lists for both the PGA Tour and the European Tour, and is a consistent top-10 finisher on both sides of the Atlantic. The Englishman took over top spot in May and is likely to stay there for the rest of the year.

“It’s very impressive because it’s not easy mentally,” Kaymer said. “I just read from Darren Clarke that it was his ultimate, winning the British Open, and … he is struggling to find new goals now. If you are No. 1 once, it doesn’t get higher, so it’s tough to continue.

“But it feels like every week he plays, he finishes in the top 10.”

The closest Kaymer has come to ending his winless streak was at the French Open in July, where he finished fourth, and the European Masters at the start of this month, where he ended up second.

Considering the way he is playing, a victory could come at the Dunhill Links, though. And if it does, he would become the first player to successfully defend the title.

Kaymer would also become only the fourth player – after Seve Ballesteros, Tiger Woods and Ian Woosnam – to successfully defend more than one European Tour title in the same year.

After two unseasonably warm and sunny days at Kingsbarns and Carnoustie, Kaymer is praying for proper links conditions – wind and rain – to arrive for back-to-back rounds at St. Andrews to make the course more competitive.

“It hasn’t really been Scottish weather here. I would love to have a little more wind, especially the next two days, playing St. Andrews,” he said. “I know how it was at the (British) Open last year, how tough it became. But I really enjoy it when it’s really tough.

“I’m playing good golf. I just feel very comfortable.”

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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.