Kerr Ready for Another Challenge

By Associated PressJune 25, 2008, 4:00 pm
U.S. WomenEDINA, Minn. -- Cristie Kerr has carved out a reputation as one of the tours most tenacious competitors.
 
This spunky South Floridian endured a past weight problem and a back injury, plus 41 straight majors without a win, to take the U.S. Womens Open trophy last summer. Kerr talks and walks with a command that belies her 5-foot-5 frame; she even hangs out with hockey players in her free time.
 
So, Interlachen, with your sharply sloped greens and your longest yardage in tournament history, bring it on.
 
Winning U.S. Opens are not necessarily about making a hundred million birdies. Its about who makes the fewest mistakes, and who can be the most heroic coming down on Sunday, Kerr said.
 
That was her at age 30 last year in North Carolina, when she waited out the thunderstorms and took on Lorena Ochoa at Pine Needles to win that long-sought major by two strokes. She collapsed to her knees and cried after tapping in for par on that final hole, showing a rare sign of weakness as she leapt into the arms of her husband Erik Stevens.
 
Kerr said she once told her caddy that if she were ever to win an Open, it would be at either Pine Needles or Interlachen.
 
Hmmm. How about both?
 
I think its the most demanding tournament every year, Kerr said Tuesday after her practice round at the 97-year-old club in this wooded suburb of Minneapolis. We play on a different course every year, unlike some of the other majors that we play. Quite often old-style golf courses, which I really like. So knowing that Im a major champion and that Ive won on the caliber golf course that I have, it gives me a lot of personal satisfaction. It verifies all the hard work that Ive done. It kind of makes you hungry for more.
 
That desire is apparent.
 
She has confidence in her talent. She has confidence in her ability to play the golf course, said Stevens, who also serves as Kerrs business manager, massage therapist and nutritionist in addition to providing spousal support.
 
It doesnt matter what anybody else does, Stevens said. Shes playing her game. Shes playing to be there on Sunday. So I think shes much more at peace with that tenacity and that aggressiveness to help her be good. Shes hard on herself, which is important in a healthy way, and shes also diligent about doing all the right things she needs to do to be competitive.
 
Kerrs game peaked at the right time last year, and she said she can see the same trend developing this season. She finished fifth last week (11-under par) at the Wegmans LPGA event in New York, two strokes ahead of Ochoa.
 
Just as she found favor with Pine Needles, Kerr is eager to play a course she feels quite comfortable with. Her previous experience here was a positive one, in 2002 as a Solheim Cup rookie on the victorious U.S. team.
 
She likes the Donald Ross design. She likes the long par-3s. She likes the doglegs. Its a course with teeth, which seems to fit her style. Why, this course is even the old stomping grounds of the late great Patty Berg, the Minneapolis native who won the first U.S. Womens Open in 1946.
 
I think it puts you at ease, Kerr said. Understanding the golf course and where you need to be more aggressive for certain pins. Where you cant hit it over greens. I think you come up with a definite game plan. No matter what the conditions are or what somebody is doing with the lead or where you are in the tournament, I think it gives you a comfort level of what you need to do and to take care of your own job.
 
Hilary Lunke, who won in 2003, offered caution.
 
Winning the U.S. Open is kind of the ultimate, and I think you kind of put a little bit of pressure on yourself after doing that, Lunke said. Because you want to do it again. It was so fun.
 
Kerr sounded ready for the challenge.
 
Ive always said Im pretty mentally tough, she said. I think that this is a golf course who you definitely have to respect. You have to golf the ball around it. You have to execute that game plan as well as you can.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - U.S. Women's Open
  • 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 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.