Heat Causes FedEx Fiasco on Atlanta Greens

By Associated PressSeptember 9, 2007, 4:00 pm
2006 The TOUR Championship presented by Coca-ColaLEMONT, Ill. -- Not having Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson at all the PGA TOUR Playoffs no longer seems like a big problem compared to the situation next week at East Lake, which doesn't have grass.
 
Record heat over the last month in Atlanta has caused so much damage to the greens at East Lake that PGA TOUR officials canceled the pro-am at the TOUR Championship and told players they would not be able to set foot on the greens until the first round Thursday.
 
It was an unprecedented move to essentially eliminate practice before one of the tour's showcase event, and it could spoil the finale of a FedEx Cup competition that so far has produced riveting golf.
 
'They don't need this to be an issue,' Geoff Ogilvy said. 'It's a shame.'
 
TOUR officials posted a two-page notice on everyone's locker Sunday morning at the BMW Championship, where the top 30 in the playoff standings will advance to East Lake for the TOUR Championship.
 
'All greens were impacted to varying degrees, and several greens are and will remain in poor conditions through the tournament,' it said.
 
Players will be allowed to hit tee shots on every hole but the par 3s, and second shots only on the par 5s, as long as they don't reach the green. The notice specifically said players and their caddies could not walk on the greens, putt on them or hit any shots to them.
 
The practice area will remain open.
 
The TOUR said Atlanta reported record temperatures of 90-plus degrees for 28 days, including 10 straight days at 100 degrees or higher. The area also went without rain for 25 straight days, and the combination proved lethal to the greens.
 
'In two weeks, we went from very, very good to very, very bad,' said Henry Hughes, chief of operations for the PGA TOUR.
 
It likely would be one more layer of distractions for the FedExCup, which concludes with four straight tournaments through the TOUR Championship. Whoever has the most points wins a $10 million bonus, the largest single prize in sports.
 
The format has been criticized in recent weeks when all the top players didn't show. Woods skipped the first playoff event in New York, and Mickelson decided to stay home from the BMW Championship. There also has been grumbling about the $10 million prize being deferred compensation.
 
The golf has been some of the best of the year, with Steve Stricker winning in New York and Mickelson going head-to-head with Woods for three days when he won outside Boston.
 
It culminates at East Lake with the TOUR Championship, where even the ever-optimistic TOUR is painting an ugly picture.
 
Players began hearing about potential problems at East Lake days ago, and most were stunned to find out they won't be able to play the course until Thursday.
 
'I've never heard of anything like that before,' Woods said. 'Certainly in my years on tour and my years in amateur golf and junior golf, I've never heard of it being canceled with good weather. This will be interesting to see.'
 
Just because the pro-am has been called off doesn't mean the players can go home to catch their breath.
 
They are obligated to be at East Lake on Wednesday for what amounts to a substitute pro-am, in which players will take part in a Q&A, conduct clinics on the practice range and have lunch with their amateurs.
 
The tour's agronomy staff has been at East Lake the last three weeks trying to restore the greens, and with slight cooler weather in the forecast, officials hope the greens can at least be reasonable for the TOUR Championship.
 
'But the overall conditions of all the greens will not come close to normal expectations,' the tour notice said.
 
Ogilvy found it a coincidence that the East Lake greens were in such bad shape because 'that's the best part about that course.'
 
Other players felt as though the tour should have abandoned East Lake when they realized there was a problem, moving the tournament to another course in the Atlanta area. Hughes said they would have had only three weeks to find another course to hold the tournament, which he said was not enough time. Plus, he said officials remained hopeful they could fix the East Lake greens.
 
Some players who make the 30-man field, such as Woody Austin and Hunter Mahan, have never played a tournament at East Lake. Boo Weekley said he has been there about 10 times and tried to qualify for the U.S. Open one year at East Lake.
 
'It's part of golf, man,' Weekley said. 'You can't help the weather.'
 
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  • 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.

    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.