Els feels like hes in good shape for British Open

By Associated PressJuly 13, 2010, 4:17 pm

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Nothing like a trip to the Old Course to get Ernie Els out of his U.S. Open funk.

Els has been looking forward to coming to St. Andrews since he stormed out of Pebble Beach, enraged he’d let a chance at a third U.S. Open title slip away. Though he missed the cut at the next two events he played, Els arrived at the British Open filled with confidence and enthusiasm.

“I’m obviously not the big story here this week, but I feel I’m playing OK,” he said Tuesday. “I feel I’ve got a good chance this week. I’ve got a lot of experience, and I think it’ll help me.”

Ernie Els
Els says his golf game is'OK' heading into St. Andrews. (Getty Images)
At 40, Els is having his best season in years – and one of the best of his career. He ended a two-year drought at the World Golf Championship at Doral, then became the tour’s first double winner of the year two weeks later with a victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. It was the first time the South African had won back-to-back tournaments in seven years.

He has six top-10 finishes in 13 starts on the PGA Tour. He’s also second on the European Tour’s money list, and is sixth in the world golf rankings.

And if not for a bad three-hole swing at Pebble Beach, he might have a fourth major title.

Els birdied three of his first six holes in the final round of the U.S. Open to move into a tie for the lead. But after a bogey on the ninth hole, he hit his drive into the long grass on the cliffside of the 10th. While folks on the beach watched from below, Els finally found his ball, only to hit his third shot into the long grass around the green.

His double bogey dropped him back to even par, and he followed with another bogey on No. 11.

“I have so much experience that I know what not to do, and to hit that shot I did on 10 near the ocean there and making double there, I just couldn’t forgive myself,” said Els, who finished third, two strokes behind Graeme McDowell. “I just felt very disappointed there because I had the perfect start and I just had to keep it alive and I probably would have been, at worst, in a playoff. But I just self-destructed a little bit.”

Hard to come by at any age, major titles are a rarity for players over 40. But Els said he wasn’t bothered so much by the ticking clock as he was letting an opportunity get away from him.

“I was so in contention there, and you’d like to finish something off,” he said. “I haven’t won (a major) in eight years, and I’ve been so close so many times. You feel you just want to win one. I don’t feel like I’m running out of time yet. I think I’ve still got at least five, six years. That’s quite a few majors, another 24 or so.”

And the next one starts Thursday.

Els has loved St. Andrews since he first played it at 17. This is his fourth British Open on the Old Course, where experience can be as big a factor as talent.

“I think I still have a decent chance of playing well here this week and maybe having a chance,” Els said. “If I can get into position like I was at the U.S. Open Championship, I’d like to finish it off.”

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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.