Nicklaus still contends Woods can win 18 or more majors

By Associated PressSeptember 16, 2011, 12:02 pm

INCHEON, South Korea – Jack Nicklaus said Tiger Woods can still beat his record of 18 major championships – provided he can stay in control of his mental game.

Nicklaus said that Woods can achieve the feat “if he gets the five inches between his ears squared out.”

“I mean Tiger has a great work ethic, he’s a great competitor, the most talented kid on the planet right now,” Nicklaus told The Associated Press in an interview Friday. “He’s not going to go away.”

Woods has 14 major titles, but has not won any tournament since revelations of infidelities in 2009 led to the collapse of his marriage and a break from the sport. This season has been partly derailed by injuries, but Nicklaus also praised the decision by U.S. captain Fred Couples to include Woods in the 12-member Presidents Cup team that will take on non-European players in Australia in November.

“How could you not pick him,” Nicklaus said. “I mean he’s Tiger Woods, he’s the best player in the game. He may not be playing his best today, but he’s still Tiger Woods.”

Nicklaus made the comments while in South Korea to attend a Champions Tour event played on a course he designed.

He also said it is crucial for golf to stage a successful tournament at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro to help the game grow further internationally.

“Golf is now an Olympic sport,” Nicklaus said. “And we’ve got to keep it in the Olympics. We’ve got one shot in 2016.”

Nicklaus expressed concern, however, about the slow progress in constructing the facilities for the event, but remained hopeful that he will be awarded the task of designing the course together with former women’s great Annika Sorenstam.

Golf is returning to the Olympics as a sport for the first time since 1904, with the tournament held in the seaside region of Barra.

A course needs to be built by 2015 when test events begin.

“I’ve led my game and (Sorenstam) has led the women’s game and I think we both have the ability more so than anybody else to put something together that would fit what they need,” he said.

Others who have expressed interest in designing the course include Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Nick Faldo and Greg Norman, who would team up with Lorena Ochoa.

Nicklaus stressed that the Olympics will be the biggest golf event organized in Brazil, and officials must realize they’re facing a tight deadline.

“You’ve got to get ready for it, prepare for it. And to get people to understand the sense of urgency is very difficult,” he said. “And the sense of urgency needs to be there, otherwise the success of an event is in jeopardy.”

Regarding the state of the game in the United States, Nicklaus said the economic slump has taken a harsh toll.

“It’s absolutely just murdered the game in the United States,” he said. “Clubs are all having trouble, people don’t have spendable income, too many people are out of work, we have all of the problems you have with a bad economy.”

Nicklaus said much needs to be done to help grow the sport in the U.S. That includes making it more attractive to youngsters, who in the age of video games tend to have shorter attention spans.

“The game of golf takes a long time and that’s part of the problem,” he said, referring to the four or five hours needed to play.

Nicklaus advocates making the game easier for young people at an early stage. Other sports allow children to play with modified equipment and rules, such as smaller balls and lower baskets.

“Kids have gotta have some success, they have success early in these other sports, but they don’t get this success early in golf,” he said.

Nicklaus’ many course designs around the world are part of the legacy he’s leaving to the sport. He added he’s working on developing equipment to help make it easier for young people to play in public parks.

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.