Indy revved up for BMW, could land future event

By Associated PressApril 17, 2012, 9:16 pm

INDIANAPOLIS – Indianapolis golf fans are going all in for this year's BMW Championship.

Organizers say ticket sales for the city's biggest men's golf tournament since the 1991 PGA Championship have already surpassed last year's total and that attendance for the four-day September tournament could approach 150,000. That would make it one of the tour's most attended non-majors this season.

''I think what it does is it shows how supportive Indianapolis can be when you have special events coming to town for our event or maybe another major somewhere down the road,'' said Vince Pellegrino, the Western Golf Association's vice president of tournaments. ''It's certainly been impressive.''

Daily tickets went on sale April 1, and fans are rushing to buy them despite not knowing who will actually play Sept. 6-9 at Crooked Stick Golf Course in suburban Indianapolis.

The top 70 qualifiers receive invites to the third tournament in the PGA Tours FedEx Cup playoff. After the BMW, the field is cut to 30 finalists who vie for a $10 million winner's check two weeks later in Atlanta.

Masters champion Bubba Watson and three-time Masters winner Phil Mickelson, world No. 1 Rory McIlroy and defending BMW champion Justin Rose are each ranked in the top 10 in FedEx Cup points and are likely to qualify for the event. Tiger Woods, No. 11 in points, also is likely to get an invite.

With almost five months to go before the tournament and the possibility of other big-name golfers earning invites and Indiana natives Bo Van Pelt and Jeff Overton potentially in the mix, organizers may have to revise their projections again.

Comparing attendance figures can be tricky, though, because many tournaments do not release that information, and even Pellegrino declined to say what the BMW Championship drew last year in suburban Chicago.

Organizers have already announced that the event will return to Chicago in 2013 and 2015, with Denver hosting it in 2014. But Indianapolis response could push the city into the BMW rotation or perhaps prompt Tour officials to give Indianapolis a chance to fill a hole on a future schedule.

''At the present time, we don't have any openings,'' Tour spokesman Ty Votaw said Tuesday. ''But certainly, Indy's record makes it a market that we would always be interested in at looking at if there was an open spot. A significant number of our events are signed through post 2014.''

Phoenix typically has the largest announced crowds for non-majors, but Midwestern cities such as St. Louis and Minneapolis have traditionally drawn well when they make it onto the schedule. Crooked Stick has too.

John Daly won his first major championship here in 1991, coming out of nowhere as an alternate to do it. Lauri Merten shocked everyone by finishing the 1993 U.S. Women's Open with three straight threes to win her only major title here. In 2005, the U.S. reclaimed the Solheim Cup at Crooked Stick in front of a then-record crowd of 103,500. And Fred Funk won the 2009 U.S. Senior Open in front of nearly 147,000 fans.

The course and atmosphere drew rave reviews each time, and Tour officials think it could happen again in September.

''Obviously, we're excited about our prospects at Crooked Stick this year,'' Votaw said. ''When we made the decision to take it to Crooked Stick, we were all hopeful that Indiana and Indianapolis would support the event in a significant way, and these results certainly confirm that hope and optimism. Indy is a great golf town whether it's the PGA Championship, whether it's the U.S. Women's Open, whether it's the Solheim Cup or the BMW. History has shown they love golf their golf at Crooked Stick.''

Local officials contend Indy makes sense for economic, geographic and travel reasons, and hosting the most recent Super Bowl has also increased the city's national stature. They also believe the area golf community would support a tournament on an annual or semi-annual basis.

But so far, it's just talk.

''I know that each bid process is a little bit different in terms of the ones we're managing and the ones we're supporting. If they're looking for assistance on future bids, we'd be happy to have those conversations,'' Indiana Sports Corp. spokesman John Dedman said. ''I think there is a rotation that they're looking into and with the event in early September, and I think it would behoove everybody to take a look at it and have those conversations.''

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.