Notes The Other Watson In Memory of Ray

By Associated PressJuly 7, 2007, 4:00 pm
U.S. Senior OpenHAVEN, Wis. -- While all but eight golfers failed to break par on Saturday, Denis Watson made a charge at the U.S. Senior Open with a bogey-free 67 in the third round.
 
Watson, who won the Senior PGA Championship on the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, S.C. in May for his first Champions Tour victory, had the lowest round of the day at Whistling Straits to move to 2-under 214. Watson had the only round without a bogey and is tied for sixth place, five strokes behind leader Tom Watson.
 
'I've been playing well, but making a lot of mistakes on the golf course,' Denis Watson said. 'My head has been all over the place. Yesterday, I made some dumb mistakes early.'
 
Those included a triple bogey and two more bogeys to leave him 6-over par early in Friday's round. But he began to make his charge, and in his past 29 holes, he has 10 birdies and one bogey.
 
'I was grinding to make the cut, working my tail off,' Watson said. 'I still felt like if you get out there and play well, like I did today, that you might still have a shot on the weekend.'
 
Denis Watson said Saturday his goal wasn't to shoot a bogey-free round but to move to 6 under. He finished with pars on his final four holes.
 
'I feel good about where I am,' said Watson, who hoped he would be within five strokes heading into Sunday's final round. 'Then it's a tournament for me, where I feel like I might have a shot.'
 
Watson, who also had three PGA Tour victories in 1984 before injuries derailed his career in 1987, has been one of the Champions Tour's top players in 2007 with three top 3 finishes and four more in the top 10.
 
It's been an unexpected run for someone who thought his career was over after surgeries on his wrist, elbow and neck limited him to about 30 tournaments over 15 years. His wife, Susan E. Loggans, pushed him to continue.
 
'She's the one that kind of kept me focused and thinking I could get back and play,' said Watson, who has three children from a previous marriage and eight total, including two sets of twins. 'She kept kicking me in the pants and saying ... 'If you want to play, you've still got it, and you can play. You can do this.''
 
He said winning the Senior PGA Championship changed his perspective and validated his effort to play golf at the highest levels again.
 
'It wasn't just like another great win for somebody that's won a lot of tournaments,' Watson said. 'It's really been a big deal. You know, I've been soaking it in and a lot of things have been different. (I'm) just trying to remember that it's still just golf and you have to do the same things.'
 
HAVEN HI GUY REMEMBERED
Every day this week, Mary Olbrantz has sat in a chair outside her home on County Highway FF and waved at people in cars and buses driving past to the U.S. Senior Open at nearby Whistling Straits.
 
She is doing it in honor of her husband Raymond, who died May 26 of cancer.
 
Raymond Olbrantz became famous as the 'Haven hi guy' during the 2004 PGA Championship.
 
He greeted those headed to the tournament almost nonstop all day long that August with a wave and a sign that said 'Welcome' to tiny Haven, the small community near the course.
 
His one-man effort toward visitors touched the hearts of many because it reflected the kinder, gentler spirit of a small town.
 
This time, Raymond's wife is doing the waving.
 
'He wanted to be here. We talked about it,' Olbrantz said Saturday. 'I'm doing it because he can't be here.'
 
Her daughter, Lybra, was also greeting people Saturday.
 
Neighbors have also contributed their time this week when Mary could not be outside with a smile and a wave.
 
SLIPS AND FALLS
The 7,068-yard Whistling Straits course has tested the physical fitness of competitors in the U.S. Senior Open as much as it has their golf skills.
 
The links-style course is hard to walk because of elevation changes and narrow, steep footpaths used to descend or climb up to holes running along the Lake Michigan shoreline.
 
Doug Miller, a physical therapist who has spent nine years tending the aches and pains of Champions Tour golfers, said the course has taken its toll on some seniors.
 
'We're seeing more shin splits, which we don't usually see on other courses,' Miller said. 'The walking has caused the most problems.'
 
Miller said senior golfers also struggled in handling the Ocean Course on Kiawah Island, S.C. during the Senior PGA Championship in May.
 
'That was every bit as tough as this,' Miller said. 'There was so much sand there that they had to change the way that they walked.'
 
Miller admires the older golfers.
 
'The guys on the senior tour are pretty tough,' he said. 'Most of them are healthy and in great shape. They work really hard at it.'
 
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    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.

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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.