Immelman Hopes to Keep Grand Slam Alive

By Associated PressJune 12, 2008, 4:00 pm
2008 U.S. OpenSAN DIEGO -- Not long ago, the question wasnt so much if Tiger Woods could win the Grand Slam as whether he could win every tournament he entered this year.
 
With the U.S. Open beginning Thursday, though, the thought of Woods going undefeated has been left behind.
 
And the only player with a chance at the Grand Slam?
 
Thats Trevor Immelman.
 
So while Woods, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott, the top three players in golf, tee off in a rare glamour threesome at Torrey Pines, Immelman will be in a much quieter pairing later in the day: himself, Zach Johnson and Mike Weir'the last three players to win the Masters not named Woods or Mickelson.
 
A fantastic pairing, Immelman said of the Woods-Mickelson-Scott threesome. Ill probably be watching some of it before I tee off. But theres a whole host of players that have a great chance on this course.
 
Immelman is one of them. Not only does he have the confidence of Augusta behind him, he also has the memory of winning one of his first big tournaments, the U.S. Amateur Public Links, right here at Torrey Pines in 1998.
 
If only the Torrey Pines of 10 years ago was the same that the players will see this week.
 
Make no mistake, this is a seriously difficult golf course, Immelman said. But its fairly set up, from what Ive seen the last couple of days.
 
It is long'at 7,643 yards, the longest course in major championship history.
 
But the USGA has given itself some flexibility, too, having placed multiple tee boxes on a number of holes to add options if the wind is blowing or the rough gets out of control or the greens become too much.
 
Or all three.
 
USGA officials are at least talking like theyre trying to change this year.
 
We wanted to keep it the hardest championship in golf, said Mike Davis, the senior director of rules and competition. But we wanted to introduce risk and reward, and widen the scoring opportunities. Youll have a chance to make birdies, but if you dont execute the shot, you can make bogeys or worse. We just want to get them thinking more.
 
To improve chances for a fantastic finish, the likes of which have been missing from U.S. Opens of the recent past, Davis persuaded his USGA compatriots not to turn the 18th hole into a long par-4.
 
Instead, it remains a par-5, reachable at 573 yards, but with a pond guarding the left half of the green and no grass to hold balls that land in front and spin backward.
 
Someone in desperation mode come Sunday might try to go for that green.
 
It really makes you think, Immelman said. Youve got to decide if youre going to for it or lay up. If you hit it over the back and get a bad lie, you can chip it in the water easily. Its going to be a fantastic finishing hole.
 
Not his fault, but the final round of Immelmans Masters victory was completely devoid of drama.
 
He took a two-shot lead into the last day, expanded it to as much as six, and even though he hit his tee shot into the water on the par-3 16th, he averted disaster there, then finished with a pair of safe pars to beat Woods by three.
 
After that, life changed for Immelman, and he says he just tried to go with the flow.
 
If Im going to be brutally honest with you, Id say the reason is that two or three weeks after, I think youre trying to convince everybody else that youre fine, Immelman said. But I never for one second said that. I mean, I was absolutely smoked afterward.
 
As it turned out, Woods was, too. A nagging problem with his knee became too much to handle, so he shut it down and had surgery to clean out cartilage. Suddenly, the player who extended his streak to six straight victories worldwide at the start of the season and was at least a decent bet to win all four majors wasnt playing at all.
 
The U.S. Open will mark his first competitive round since Sunday at the Masters. The last time he took that kind of break was two years ago, also at the U.S. Open. In the aftermath of his fathers death, he missed the cut in a major for the first and only time.
 
I just dont see how its going to have a negative effect on him, Mickelson said of the Woods injury.
 
Despite the injury, Woods was listed as a 5-2 favorite. Mickelson was next at 7-1. Well down the list was Immelman, at 33-1, even though hes coming off a second-place finish last week at the St. Jude Championship, where he lost in a playoff to Justin Leonard.
 
A longshot indeed. But hes been in this spot before.
 
The thing you take with you is that youve done it before, Immelman said. Thats always comforting, to know youve won on the biggest stage.
 
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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.

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    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.

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    Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

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    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

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    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.

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    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.