Healthy Stricker eager to defend at John Deere

By Associated PressJuly 8, 2010, 12:42 am

2006 John Deere Classic

SILVIS, Ill. – Hanging out at home sits well with Steve Stricker – for a while, anyway.

Stricker, who’ll defend his title at the John Deere Classic starting Thursday, got plenty of time at his Madison, Wis., home earlier this year when he took six weeks off to rest an aching right shoulder.

The problem, an inflammation in the joint where the clavicle meets the sternum, interrupted a promising year for the 43-year-old Stricker. He is ranked fourth in the world, has made the cut in all 11 tournaments he’s played and has four top 10 finishes, including a victory in the Northern Trust Open in February.

But rest accompanied by therapy was the only cure, so Stricker sat.

Not that it was a hardship.

“It’s not hard for me to stay home,” he said with a laugh. “That part of it wasn’t too hard. But it got to a point where I’m like, geez, I gotta get going. And I wasn’t quite ready yet.”

Stricker pulled himself off the tour after tying for 30th at the Masters. He didn’t play again until late May at the Colonial, where he was the defending champion and finished in a tie for 38th at 8-under.

He has played only twice since then, tying for 17th at the Memorial and finishing 15-over at the U.S. Open to tie for 58th.

For the rest of the time, it’s been home sweet home.

“I do a lot of family things, try to do some things with my kids,” said Stricker, who has two daughters, ages 4 and 11. “I took my daughter fishing last week for a couple of days, just to try to get away from it and not play at all and not even think about it at all.

“But then, when that’s over, you realize you gotta get back to work.”

For Stricker, getting back to work at TPC at Deere Run is as good a place as any.

Stricker tied the tournament record when he shot a 61 in last year’s second round, then came back with a 68 and 64 in Sunday’s 36-hole finale to beat Brett Quigley, Brandt Snedeker and local favorite Zach Johnson by three strokes.

“It’s always exciting to come back to a place where you’ve had success,” Stricker said. “Just driving in the gates and remembering some of the shots that happened down the stretch, the way the whole week played out last year, is always fun to look back at and reflect on a little bit. Coming off a couple of weeks off, I feel fresh and excited to play.”

Stricker said he’s having no problem with his shoulder, no pain, no tenderness. He’s not so sure he can say the same about his game.

“My game has kind of slowed a little bit, I feel like, the last couple of months,” he said. “I haven’t played a lot. I’m surely fresh and rested and ready to play. But I’ve been working on some things, too, and hopefully some of those things are starting to pan out in the right direction.”

With the Deere Classic falling the week before the British Open, many of the big names skip the event. But it still has a solid field that includes nine winners on this year’s tour.

Johnson, the 2007 Masters champion, won the Colonial. This is the closest thing to a hometown tournament for Johnson, who grew up 75 miles to the west in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and is on the event’s board of directors.

South African Tim Clark, second here in 2007, got his first PGA Tour victory when he won the Players Championship in May. Bubba Watson is coming off a victory at the Travelers Championship two weeks ago, while 22-year-old Australian Jason Day gained his first PGA win at the Byron Nelson Championship.

Clark experienced another first Wednesday, though not the kind he wanted. His clubs got hung up in Chicago during his travels and never made it to town, so he borrowed a set to play in the pro-am.

“Playing today, it’s not a big deal,” Clark said. “I still got out there and saw the course and played, but if I don’t have them tomorrow, I’ll be in trouble.”

Clark, Stricker, Johnson, Day and Watson are among the Deere Classic players who’ll take advantage of a charter jet that tournament organizers arranged to fly them to the British Open on Sunday night.

Tournament officials hoped the charter would encourage more golfers to play here this week. Anyone flying commercially from here – Silvis is 165 miles west of Chicago – would have to change planes three or four times before getting to St. Andrews.

“It certainly made it easier for us and I certainly think it’s helped attract a better field,” Clark said. “The British Open is an extremely important tournament for us. We want to be as well prepared as we possibly can be.”

Getty Images

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.

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 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.