Notes Tigers big decision A blessing in disguise

By Associated PressJune 6, 2009, 4:00 pm
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DUBLIN, Ohio ' A little over a year ago, Tiger Woods was faced with the biggest decision of his career.
 
He had a problem, again, with his left knee.
 
It was hurting me quite a bit, so I went and had it X-rayed, Woods said Saturday after shooting a 4-under 68 to jump into contention at the Memorial Tournament. (The doctors said), Oh, yeah. Youve got two fractures in there. Probably not a good idea to play.
 
Woods had surgery on April 15, 2008, to clean cartilage out of his knee. But this was different. He knew what caused the recurrence. It happened while preparing to play in the Memorial, where he had won three times. Woods decided not to enter.
 
I was just practicing. My leg wasnt quite ready to come back and take the pounding yet, Woods said. I had no ACL, and then I have no hamstring or (lower body) strength because I just did a surgery coming off of Augusta (in early April). So I just started to practice, and I practiced way too hard to get ready for this event. Thats when I broke it.
 
His swing coach, Hank Haney, knew there was no way that Woods would elect to have the surgery immediately. No matter what, he was going to gut it out and play in the Open at Torrey Pines, almost a home course for him hed played it (and won there) so many times.
 
There just wasnt any discussion, Haney said at the time.
 
Woods went home and began preparing for the Open, as much mentally as physically since he was limited by what he could do on the knee.
 
I thought that maybe I could play the U.S. Open and then rest it and then play the British and then play the PGA and just skip all the other tournaments in between and just play the major championships, he said Saturday.
 
In time he came to realize that wasnt possible.
 
I was going to keep re-breaking it as it healed because I needed to practice, Woods said. So I was never giving it a chance to actually, truly heal. So I had to shut it down.
 
A hobbled Woods, of course, caught Rocco Mediate with a dramatic birdie on the 72nd hole of the Open, then while wincing in pain he had enough to hold off Mediate in the 18-hole playoff a day later.
 
Just 24 hours after that memorable, dramatic, fist-pumping victory, he had the surgery. After months resting the knee and then slowly honing his game, he returned to competition in late February at the Match Play. He shot a 68 Saturday to climb within four shots of the lead at the Memorial.
 
So now hes back, approaching his peak, just in time for another U.S. Open.
 

 
BACKUP STICKS: Matt Bettencourt had his clubs stolen two weeks ago in Texas. That wasnt even the worst of it; a newlywed, he also had his wedding ring stolen.
 
A day before the start of the Byron Nelson, he put his clubs in his courtesy car and then had breakfast. He was away for just 20 minutes or so, but the thieves had time to break a window and grab the clubs.
 
TaylorMade was able to set him up with a new set of clubs and a bag. Must have been a good fit, because now hes tied for the lead at the Memorial Tournament with Mark Wilson heading into Sundays final round.
 
Its actually a blessing in disguise, he said of the new clubs.
 
But the clubmaker was not able to replace the ring. Luckily, Bettencourt ' who was married on March 14 ' has taken steps in that regard.
 
I did order one and got it sent home, he said.
 

 
MONDAY, MONDAY: Many of the pros at the Memorial Tournament arent grabbing the first jet out of town after Sundays final round. They have to stick around an extra day to walk 36 holes on two courses they barely know in an attempt to qualify for the U.S. Open in two weeks at Bethpage Black.
 
For Tom Lehman, the end justifies the means.
 
Youd prefer to not have to be there, he said of the qualifier at Brookside and The Lakes on Monday. Itd be nice to be exempt, but its such a great tournament that youre willing to obviously do whatever it takes to get in.
 
Among those sticking around to play are Davis Love III, David Duval and Jose Maria Olazabal. Sixty-one pros are in the 121-man field, with 16 earning spots in the Open.
 
Should Davis Love III win the Memorial ' he goes into the final round two shots back of the co-leaders ' he could cancel the extra night of his hotel. With a victory he would grab one of the final berths in the Open.
 
All youve got to do is win, so that makes it easier, Love said, joking.
 

 
VENTING: Geoff Ogilvy was suffering after a disappointing 74 in the second round on Friday.
 
I went to hit some balls, he said. You dont want to go to bed with a bad taste in your mouth. I got some rhythm back in the golf swing and got a little bit of frustration out before I went home and took it out on the hotel room.
 
That must have been the perfect tonic. Ogilvy came right back in the third round with a 9-under 63, a Memorial record in the third round, that left him two shots off the lead.
 

 
DIVOTS: Tiger Woods was four shots back through three rounds. He has overcome a deficit of that size only once since 2000 but it came in his only win this year at the Arnold Palmer Invitational when he trailed Sean OHair by five strokes heading into the final 18 holes. Stewart Cink beaned a spectator on the 15th hole, two days after David Duval hit another fan who needed three stitches to close a head wound. Jonathan Byrd had a triple-bogey 6 at the fourth hole yet still shot a 71 to pull within a shot of the lead.
 
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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.