Kim returns to Houston with swing changes in mind

By Associated PressMarch 31, 2011, 4:38 pm

2007 Shell Houston Open

HUMBLE, Texas – Anthony Kim says his swing needs major renovation. Maybe returning to the site of his last victory will help turn his game around, too.

Kim is the defending champion at this weekend’s Houston Open, the run-up event to next week’s Masters. He’s one of 33 players here who’ve already qualified for Augusta, but Kim has struggled to regain his form following surgery on his left thumb last year.

He has missed two cuts in his past five starts, shot an 80 in the first round at Doral three weeks ago and has been working with swing coach Adam Schreiber in Dallas for the past week to fix the flaws.

“I told him when he first got to Dallas, I don’t want to work and put Band-Aids on my swing,” Kim said. “I want to get down to my grip, my posture, to everything any beginning golfer would start with.

“I think that really helped get me back in the mindset of playing golf again and enjoying being out there, instead of just trying to put Band-Aids on hooks and try to hit big slices to keep it in the fairway.”

Kim was erratic off the tee at Redstone last year, and still managed to shoot under par in all four rounds. He ranked 80th in driving accuracy, but tied for second in putts per round (27.75) and putting average (1.542 per hole).

“It was just a culmination of good putting and a great attitude that helped me win last year,” he said. “I’m going to try to come in with the same attitude and hopefully hit some better golf shots. Who knows? I could play better this year and score worse. It’s a funny and fickle game.”

Lee Westwood, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington and Fred Couples are also in the field, using the tournament to tune up for the season’s first major.

Organizers have embraced the Houston Open’s distinction as the run-up to the Masters, setting up the tournament course with conditions similar to those at Augusta. The fairways are wide and mowed toward the tees, the rough is light, the greenside mounds are shaved and the greens themselves are fast.

Two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen is playing the course for the first time after hearing positive feedback about it.

“A lot of the players said it’s as close as you can get it to the Augusta setting or grass,” Goosen said. “That definitely made me decide to play this year.”

The course can also boast one of the tour’s toughest holes, the water-lined, 488-yard 18th. It ranked as the 20th-most difficult hole on tour last year, with a 4.317-stroke average, and usually yields final-round drama.

In 2007, Adam Scott had a one-shot lead, but pulled his tee shot into the water. He took his drop, hit his approach safely away from the water, then holed a 48-foot par-saving putt to win.

In 2009, Paul Casey bogeyed the 18th on the final day to slip into a playoff with J.B. Holmes. The players returned to the 18th tee, Holmes found the water with his drive, and Casey won with a conservative bogey.

Last year, Vaughn Taylor rolled in an 18-foot birdie putt on No. 18 in the final round to tie Kim and force another playoff. Taylor then hit the greenside bunker to the right off the tee, while Kim made a routine par for the victory.

“It’s a tremendous hole,” Kim said. “When the wind blows, it’s as tough as it gets. You can’t bail out anywhere. Right is no good. The second shot is actually harder if you’re in that bunker than if you’re right of the bunker.

“You have to hit a couple of quality golf shots,” Kim said, “and the green’s not very easy, either.”

Westwood tied for eighth in 2010 and finished second to Mickelson at the Masters the following week, bolstering the notion that Redstone works as a suitable tuneup. Westwood is playing at Houston for the fourth time in five years.

“The main point is they try to get the greens as quick as possible which, when you get to Augusta next week, it’s not as big a shock,” Westwood said. “They’re pretty immaculate this week and run at a great pace.”

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.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.