A green jacket and a gold putter for Cabrera

By Associated PressApril 14, 2009, 4:00 pm
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AUGUSTA, Ga. ' Tiger Woods has his Sunday red. Angel Cabrera prefers yellow.
 
Cabrera wore the same color shirt when he won the U.S. Open at Oakmont two years ago, and it was his color of choice when he won his two biggest tournaments on the European Tour ' the Benson & Hedges in 2002 and the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in 2005.
 
It blended nicely with Masters Green, the official color of the jacket at Augusta National.
 
But with green also comes gold.
 
Ping Golf, which has sponsored the Argentine for 15 years, has a tradition of giving a solid gold version of the putter used in major championship victories. This will be Cabreras second gold putter.
 
Ping founder Karsten Solheim long ago built a vault to store gold-plated replicas of every putter used in a tour victory, with the player also getting a gold-plated putter. When his son, John Solheim, took over as president in 1995, he put his own touch on tradition by awarding every major champion (male and female) a solid gold putter.
 
Ping spokesman Pete Samuels said the cost depends on the type of putter and the cost of gold.
 
As for shipping costs?
 
We usually hand deliver those, he said with a laugh.
 
That Cabrera would get a solid gold putter only makes sense for his Masters victory.
 
Asked about the key shot that won him the U.S. Open, Cabrera was adamant that it was his driver, particularly the tee shot on the 18th hole at Oakmont that set up a safe par on a daunting hole. He won by one shot over Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk.
 
Augusta National has its own tradition of asking the Masters champion to donate one club he found the most significant in victory.
 
It has to be the putter, said his caddie, Ruben Gordo Yorio.
 
Cabrera got into the playoff with a nervy 4-footer on the 18th hole, then made an 8-footer to save par on the 18th again to stay alive in the playoff. Easily overlooked is the putt that made all this possible ' an 18-footer for birdie on No. 16 after Kenny Perry nearly made a hole-in-one to seemingly take control of the Masters.
 

 
TIGER PERSPECTIVE: Jack Nicklaus (six Masters titles) and Arnold Palmer (four) played a practice round at the Augusta National in 1996 with 20-year-old Tiger Woods and predicted that he would win more green jackets than both of them combined.
 
Woods won four times in nine years, but now has gone four years without winning the Masters, the longest drought of his career.
 
What does that mean? Not much.
 
Nicklaus won the Masters three times in his five years, then went five years before he won his fourth green jacket. He had five Masters after his 14th year as a pro (Woods is in his 13th year).
 
Woods is still on track to break Nicklaus record at Augusta National, but that prediction of 10 is not looking as good as it once did.
 

 
LEE TURNS PRO: It was clear the way an agent was barking out instructions for Danny Lees final interview at the Masters, but it became official Tuesday when the U.S. Amateur announced he was turning pro and signed with IMG.
 
Along with becoming the youngest U.S. Amateur champion in history, the 18-year-old Lee also became the youngest winner on the European Tour when he captured the Johnnie Walker Classic in February against a field that included Anthony Kim and Camilo Villegas.
 
Im very proud of what I accomplished as an amateur, but it felt like the time was right to challenge myself at a higher level, he said.
 
Lee will make his pro debut next week at the Zurich Classic in New Orleans.
 
By turning pro, he is giving up his exemptions to the U.S. Open and British Open. Now, he has to qualify for the next two majors.
 
Lee is allowed seven sponsor exemptions to earn enough money to avoid Q-school. He also plans to play at Quail Hollow, the Byron Nelson Championship, Colonial, the Memorial and the AT&T National.
 

 
MEMORIAL SKINS: For players who believe the best pro-ams on the PGA Tour have only two amateurs, nothing can beat the Memorial. Tournament host Jack Nicklaus is bringing back his Double Skins Game for the first time in six years to replace the pro-am.
 
The Double Skins Game is a nine-hole competition among two sets of four PGA Tour players ' the top six players available from last years money list and two wild cards, one of those being Nicklaus.
 
The purse is $100,000 ' $50,000 for each foursome, half of the money going to charity. Players will wear microphones so fans can listen to the banter in each group.
 
Ive always enjoyed the skins format, whether as a competitor or an observer, and this year we hope folks in central Ohio will have fun watching this unique competition, Nicklaus said.
 
Among those expected to play include defending champion Kenny Perry and three-time major winner Padraig Harrington. Also likely to play is Tiger Woods, who has only missed the Memorial when he was recovering from knee surgery or coping with his fathers death.
 
Among those expected to play include defending champion Kenny Perry and three-time major winner Padraig Harrington. Also likely to play is Tiger Woods, who has only missed the Memorial when he was recovering from knee surgery or coping with his fathers death.
 

 
BOOS HAT TRICK: Boo Weekley is the two-time defending champion at the Verizon Heritage this week at Hilton Head, the only event he has won on the PGA Tour.
 
If he were to win this week, Weekley would join some obscure company.
 
According to Dave Lancer of the PGA Tour, the last player to make the same tournament his first three victories on the PGA Tour was Leonard Gullett, who captured the Wisconsin PGA in 1929, 1933 and 1934.
 
That doesnt include winners of the majors before the PGA was formed in 1916.
 

 
DIVOTS: Phil Mickelson finished one shot ahead of Tiger Woods at the Masters, the first time he had done that in a major since the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot. The first Ryder Cup points for the U.S. team were awarded at the Masters, with Kenny Perry and Chad Campbell each receiving 660 points. Points are awarded only at majors this year for the 2010 team. Perry and Campbell received what is comparable to a runner-up finish on the PGA Tour next year. Lost during the hype that comes with Masters week, the Shell Houston Open had a 2.7 rating in the final round, up 42 percent from the previous year and higher than an NBA game (Phoenix-Dallas) that was broadcast at the same time. It also dwarfed the LPGA Tours first major of the year, the Kraft Nabisco Championship, with a rating of 0.8 on CBS. Louise Suggs has been selected for the Golf Tee Award, given by New Yorks Metropolitan Golf Writers Association for career achievements. She will be honored June 16 at its 58th awards dinner.
 

 
STAT OF THE WEEK: Angel Cabrera joined Gary Player as the only foreign-born players to win the Masters and U.S. Open.
 

 
FINAL WORD: When they put the green jacket on, I had goose bumps. I was shaking. I cant even explain what was going through my body. ' Angel Cabrera.
 
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    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.