Els headlines field to start Texas swing

By Associated PressMay 13, 2010, 2:46 am

Valero Texas OpenSAN ANTONIO – It’s the third-oldest event on the PGA Tour, but almost everything about this week’s Texas Open has a new feel.

After 15 years at the Resort at La Cantera, the tournament on Thursday makes its debut at the Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio, which opened in January.

The dates are relatively new: After being scheduled in the fall since 1972 and frequently going head-to-head with the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup, the Texas Open is part of the FedEx Cup schedule for the second straight year. It kicks off a three-tournament Texas swing that continues with next week’s Byron Nelson Classic in Dallas and concludes with the Colonial in Fort Worth.

By Texas Open standards, the field is considered stronger than usual. Eleven players who have won a total of 17 majors highlight the entrants.

But current money and FedEx Cup points leader Ernie Els is the only top 10-ranked player here, and there are two fewer top-100 players (13) than there were in last year’s tournament.

Ernie Els swings golf club“I think the word of mouth on this change here has been very positive in terms of the facilities and the golf courses,” said PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, who as recently as 2001 was in discussions about dissolving the tournament. He now cites it as one of the tour’s strongest in areas such as charitable contributions ($8 million) and sponsorship.

“Players who aren’t here will watch it on television; they’ll see how it plays,” he said Wednesday. “And then the word of mouth, the quality of operations here (and) this unbelievable setting will help solidify the quality for the future.”

The par-72 course will play at 7,522 yards. Its elevation varies no more than 100 feet, as opposed to the dramatic climbs and drops at La Cantera – “birdie-fest,” as Els labeled the course on which Tommy Armour III in 2003 set the tour record for lowest 72-hole score.

Els, who has won twice this season, is trying to rebound from missing the cut at last week’s Players Championship. That, and the changes in dates and facilities, led him to make his first San Antonio appearance.

“I felt like I needed to play soon, especially feeling that my game came around Friday afternoon at TPC,” said Els, whose second-round 71 at Sawgrass followed an opening 74. “I’m glad we have a fairly tough challenge here this week.

“Hopefully with Vijay (Singh) and Adam Scott and Sergio (Garcia) here – some of the top players – that changes the view of other players and you’ll probably start seeing a lot stronger fields, and especially with this date. The date plays a big part. It fits in very well.”

Els and Singh, another first-time Texas Open participant, will be in the same group the first two days.

The move to the Oaks Course is especially meaningful for Garcia, who was the player consultant for the Greg Norman-Pete Dye design.

“I think the golf course has come out great, probably just a little bit tougher than we expected at the beginning,” said Garcia, who last played in the Texas Open in 2003 at La Cantera. “La Cantera was a fun golf course to play, but I think overall this is a much better golf course. This is a better test of golf. This is not just a putting contest. Here, you’re going to have to make a lot of putts for par. At La Cantera, you had to make a lot of putts for birdie or eagle.”

Of course, change is not for everyone. Zach Johnson is the two-time defending Texas Open champion, an advantage negated by the move from La Cantera.

“Focusing on last year’s win isn’t going to help me make the cut or help me win this golf tournament,” Johnson said Tuesday. “I certainly like looking at shots and the way I executed shots during those wins, but all in all it’s a new week on a new golf course at a new facility.”

Three other players who have won PGA Tour events this season – Ryan Palmer, Ben Crane and Cameron Beckman – are in the field. Other past Texas Open champions entered are Armour, three-time winner Justin Leonard, Eric Axley, Robert Gamez, Tim Herron and Bob Estes.

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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.