Fireworks Begin for Tigers Tournament

By Associated PressJuly 4, 2007, 4:00 pm
AT&T NationalBETHESDA, Md. -- At 6:30 a.m. on a pristine Fourth of July, tournament host Tiger Woods teed off with a soldier and an airman to open the pro-am. The gallery that followed them was bigger than any that trailed the leaders in the early rounds of last year's Washington-area PGA TOUR stop, the Booz Allen Classic.
 
At No. 7, Woods asked Sgt. Michael Woods, the special guest caddie for the hole, to read a 12-foot birdie putt. Woods then handed the sergeant the club and said: 'Here you go.' The surprised and nervous sergeant sank the putt, Woods thrust his arms in the air, and the crowd went wild.
 
Master Sergeant Andy Amor and Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods receives congratulations from Master Sergeant Andy Amor. (WireImage)
At 11:28 a.m., former President George H. W. Bush, who arrived on a golf cart driven by Woods, provided the highlight of a star-spangled opening ceremony by hitting a drive at the first tee of the famed Blue Course, whose holes were marked by pins with miniature American flags instead of the usual hole numbers.
 
'If anybody laughs when I hit it, they're dead -- we've got Secret Service here,' Bush said with a chuckle before hitting the shot that landed just short of a 60-foot American flag held by local veterans.
 
It was all so perfect, especially for a tournament didn't exist as of five months ago -- and in an area that thought it had lost its spot on the tour for many years to come.
 
The inaugural AT&T National -- more commonly known as Tiger's Tournament -- begins Thursday, and the stars have aligned quickly to make it the biggest sporting event for the nation's capital since major league baseball's return in 2005. It features the sport's top name, one of its best courses, a military tie-in surrounding the most patriotic of holidays and an impressive field of golfers who rearranged their schedules to be here.
 
'To actually have it on July 4th weekend, the nation's capital and all of the things together, and throw in Tiger as the host, that's pretty big,' eight-time tour winner Fred Funk said. 'It did come back with a bang.'
 
Funk, a former golf coach at the University of Maryland, did his best for years to wave the banner for the PGA TOUR's annual trip to Washington. He was upset last year when news came that the Booz Allen Classic was being taken off the calendar, a casualty of inconsistent scheduling, a much-derided TPC at Avenel course and general apathy among the top players.
 
It took a remarkable sequence of events to turn things around. Woods began showing interest two years ago in hosting a tournament -- similar to Jack Nicklaus' Memorial and the Arnold Palmer Invitational -- but the PGA Tour had a full roster set through 2012.
 
'I was very interested,' commissioner Tim Finchem said. 'But I didn't see it happening for a period of time.'
 
Then the Booz Allen Classic lost its sponsor, which wasn't happy about plans to move the tournament to the fall. The tour then took Washington off its calendar altogether for 2007.
 
In February, the International in Denver was canceled because it couldn't find a sponsor. That left a hole in the schedule during the Fourth of July week.
 
Enter Woods, whose charitable foundation and the tour worked furiously to line up a sponsor and began courting the membership at Congressional. Finchem initially wasn't sure the plan would work, so he had Portland, Ore., and the Twin Cities as backup alternatives that would not have involved Woods as host.
 
In a matter of days, the deals were struck. Congressional later agreed to be the venue, if only for the first two years. Woods became hands-on with some of the planning details, juggling his newest venture with his golf game and the impending birth of his first child, who was born 2 1/2 weeks ago.
 
'What we've done here in such a short span of time,' Woods said, 'has been absolutely remarkable.'
 
Washington was a logical choice because it provided a chance to mend bad feelings over the loss of the Booz Allen. Also, Woods wanted to use the tournament to pay tribute to the armed forces and honor his father, who was a Green Beret in Vietnam. Woods said this week that he would have followed his father's career path if golf had not worked out.
 
'I told dad, 'If I didn't make it in the first two years, it's probably where I would go,'' Woods said. 'I don't know what branch, but I certainly would want to get into the special operations community.'
 
'But somehow I ended up here,' he said with a smile. 'Made a couple of putts in those years.'
 
So the story culminates with Woods, Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh, Jim Furyk and Adam Scott -- five of the top six golfers in the world -- headlining a D.C. tournament no one would dare call second tier.
 
'You only have a few players -- maybe one per generation -- that carry with them the import and impact of a Palmer or Nicklaus,' Finchem said. 'And we think that's the situation here, given what Tiger has achieved.'
 
Related Links:
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
  • Full Coverage - AT&T National
  • 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.

    Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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.