Manassero pro debut may be delayed by soggy course

By Associated PressMay 5, 2010, 6:39 pm

TURIN, Italy – The eagerly anticipated professional debut of Italian 17-year-old Matteo Manassero on Thursday may be delayed.

Five consecutive days of unseasonal heavy rain have waterlogged Royal Park Roveri, creating serious concern that the first round of the Italian Open will have to be postponed for 24 hours and the tournament reduced to 54 holes.

Manassero is scheduled to play with Colin Montgomerie and Rhys Davies, the young Welsh winner of the recent Madeira Islands Open.

It gives Montgomerie, Europe’s Ryder Cup captain, an opportunity to cast an eye on more youth potential beyond Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, who won on the PGA Tour last weekend.

Matteo Manassero receivies the Silver Cup
Low Amateur Matteo Manassero receivies the Silver Cup after the final round of the 2010 Masters (Getty Images)
Montgomerie has always believed he would have four rookies on his Ryder Cup team, possibly Martin Kaymer of Germany, Alvaro Quiros of Spain, Ross Fisher of England and McIlroy.

But the emergence of Davies, who is 10th on the European money list, and the potential of Manassero, who dazzled at the Masters, could see that number increased – especially while veterans like Sergio Garcia and Darren Clarke struggle.

“To make the team the youngsters are going to have to be damned good,” said Montgomerie, as he sheltered from the rain in Turin. “But these youngsters are good, and if they start winning the big tournaments coming up in Europe then they will deserve to be on the team.”

He knows Manassero has an amateur pedigree worthy of launching a pro career in spectacular fashion at the end of golf’s “youth week,” in which Ryo Ishikawa shot 58 in Japan and McIlroy won his first tournament in the United States.

“He is only a couple of weeks older than our youngest ever member of the tour, who was Seve Ballesteros,” Montgomerie said. “And it’s amazing to have seen him already perform at the level to win the (British) Amateur Championship, take the silver medal at the (British) Open and make the cut at the Masters.”

However, the one person without high expectations of a dramatic professional debut is Manassero himself.

“I will be nervous when I am on the first tee as I always am, but it won’t be any different to amateur tournaments,” Manassero said. “I just want to enjoy playing golf and making birdies.

“I am thinking about winning but have no pressure from it. If the chance comes and I take it, it will be a great moment, but I have no rush for that.”

Meanwhile, Montgomerie has backed down on his long-held insistence that Ryder Cup contenders should play in three key events on the European Tour this summer.

He wanted the strongest possible fields at this month’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, the Wales Open on the Ryder Cup course in June, and the Johnnie Walker at Gleneagles in August – the last qualifying event to make his team.

However, Ian Poulter has no plans to play the BMW PGA while none of the five Europeans in the world’s top 10 have signed to play the Wales Open. McIlroy and Lee Westwood already plan to play in the Memorial on the PGA Tour that week.

“I had asked everyone to play Wales,” Montgomerie said. “But it is opposite the Memorial in America which is one of their biggest events. … As long as the ones who aren’t playing Wales compete well in the Memorial I will let them off.

“I can’t tell players where to play, only ask. If they want to play over there, fine, as long as they play well. And Europe has had great success in America this year.”

Montgomerie pointed to Garcia, Poulter and Paul Casey reaching the finals of the Accenture Matchplay, where Poulter won the final over Casey, and Westwood playing himself into contention for his first major championship at the Masters.

“And McIlroy’s performance,” Montgomerie added, “to start from four behind and win by four at Quail Hollow was fantastic.”

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.

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.