Done deal: Couples to use Presidents Cup pick on Woods

By Associated PressAugust 25, 2011, 9:37 pm

SNOQUALMIE, Wash. – Fred Couples has told Tiger Woods that he decided to add him to the 12-member Presidents Cup team.

Couples, the U.S. Presidents Cup captain, took the drama out of the debate over whether Woods would be on the team, saying Thursday it’s already a done deal.

“I’ve told him that he’s going to be on the team,” Couples said just before a practice round preparing for the Boeing Classic at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge. “There is no reason for me to wait till Sept. 26 to pick Tiger. He’s the best player in the world forever.”

Ten players automatically qualify for the team based on points accumulated over the past two years. Couples is then given two captain’s picks to round out his squad, which will compete against a team of non-European international players at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia Nov. 14-20.

Woods, who is 28th on the Presidents Cup list, had a long summer layoff because of left knee and left Achilles injuries. He played in two recent tournaments, finishing 37th in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in early August then missing the cut the following week at the PGA Championship.

Woods wrote on his website earlier this week that he had conversations with Couples about playing on the team and that “of course, I want to be on the team” that competes in Australia.

“Is he playing well right now? No. (But) he almost won (the Masters) four months ago so you don’t do that by playing poor golf,” Couples said. “In my opinion, when you’re the best player in the world for 12 straight years and you’re not on a team, there’s something wrong.

“Everyone else can have their opinion, but as far as I know, Jay Haas and myself are the captains and we want him on this team.”

Couples, initially unaware that Woods had not qualified for this week’s playoff event, told him by text message to find another tournament to play. Woods’ next scheduled appearance is not until the Australian Open, the week before the Cup.

“He has responded to that. I’m pretty sure you’ll see him one more time,” Couples said. “That’s enough for me. I know the last thing he wants to do is embarrass himself. I think he’ll be ready to play. Does that mean he’s going to go out and win every point? No, I don’t expect that. But I expect him to be sharp and ready to play. I would be shocked if he’s not.”

Couples has requested that all his team members play in the Australian Open to sharpen their games before the Presidents Cup. The Australian Open is Nov. 10-13 at The Lakes Golf Club near Sydney.

One of the players on the edge of the Presidents Cup standings is Bill Haas, son of Jay. He is ranked 10th with a month to go before the Sept. 26 selection date. Jim Furyk and Rickie Fowler are 11th and 12th.

“I don’t know how you can criticize someone for choosing Tiger Woods. If he goes there and doesn’t play well I would be shocked. I have a pairing for him. He deserves to be on the team,” Couples said. “There are guys who are 11, 12, 13 who are having phenomenal years. But you know, they’re picks. I could take the easy way out and just pick 1 through 12. I don’t think if that works either. I think that’s the easy way out.”

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.

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.