Els, Harrington seek redemption ... and humor

By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2012, 5:29 pm

GEORGE, South Africa – Playing in the same group in the opening round of the Volvo Golf Champions on Thursday isn’t the only thing Ernie Els and Padraig Harrington have in common. They’re both also desperate to atone for disappointing seasons in 2011.

The pair will join the exclusive field of 35 champions with 392 victories among them, including 14 majors, at The Links course.

Els’ struggles on the greens last year even affected his ability to have fun on the course.

“I’ve kind of lost my sense of humor, you know. When you don’t putt well your sense of humor doesn’t work very well,” the South African said. “I’d like to get my sense of humor back. My work ethic and determination, especially this year, is better than ever because I had such a dismal season last year.

“I would like to really turn things around this year and see if I can win some tournaments again.”

Els has three majors among 68 career titles, but at No. 71 he is outside the top 50 in the world rankings and therefore doesn’t qualify automatically for the Masters in April.

“I know where I stand and I know what I need to do,” he said. “I have a couple of months to rectify that. I don’t want to be asking for an invite there.”

Ranked 89th and also a three-time major winner, Harrington finds himself in a similar position.

“I certainly had a peak year in 2007 and another peak in 2008. It’s impossible to always have peak years,” the Irishman said of the span that brought his two British Open titles and a PGA Championship victory.

“It doesn’t worry me in the greater scheme of things, because I know you can’t win them every year. You have to sit there and be patient and wait for your turn – and like 2007 and 2008, they all come at once.”

The field also includes reigning Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, current British Open champion Darren Clarke and 2012 European Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal.

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.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.