Notes Villegas hard work Skins without Freddie

By Associated PressSeptember 2, 2008, 4:00 pm
BMW ChampionshipNEW YORK ' Camilo Villegas works hard, sets goals and stays organized so he can manage his time. Those are good attributes for any PGA TOUR player.
 
But thats what it took for him just to survive college.
 
Villegas struggled with his English when he left Colombia to attend the University of Florida, where he found himself in classrooms with as many as 300 students. He could understand better than he could speak, and reading took time.
 
But he graduated in 2004 with a degree in business and a GPA of 3.8.
 
Reading, it was very slow, but it was good, Villegas said. When you have classes with 300, 400 students, I didnt see the point of showing up. I just got my book, I read it, and I went and took the test. It took time, and obviously coming to Florida and having all those new opportunities was a little overwhelming.
 
But you have to just really manage your time, have a good plan for every day and stick to it.
 
The hardest aspect of a new country was speaking, and Villegas said it didnt help that he was shy. In golf terms, he decided to start firing at flags.
 
One day I said, You know what? Hell with it. Im just going to open my mouth, and whatever comes out, comes out,' he said. If somebody is going to make fun of me, Ill say, Hey, instead of laughing at me, why dont you tell me the correct way of saying it? And I got better.
 
LOWERING THE BOOM-BOOM
 
The four-man field for the LG Skins Game was announced last week, and the biggest news was who would not be playing at Indian Wells over Thanksgiving weekend.
 
How can there be a Skins Game without Fred Couples?
 
Couples is playfully known as the King of the Silly Season, especially the Skins Game. He has played 14 times, captured 95 skins and earned over $4.2 million, more than he has made playing in the majors.
 
Instead, defending champion Stephen Ames will join Phil Mickelson, K.J. Choi and Rocco Mediate.
 
Im glad Im not playing, Couples said at the Deutsche Bank Championship, where he missed the cut. Im done with golf. I was feeling so good, but I think Im playing too much. This may be my last real event.
 
Couples did not express disappointment, but a tinge was evident. He said he was hopeful of playing again, but he was pleased for Choi and Mediate. And no, Couples did not ask for an exemption.
 
I cant be picked every year, he said. I played enough. And it was fun.
 
PAYBACK
 
Mike Weir had to grind out a 67 in the third round of the Deutsche Bank Championship, go through a series of interviews that took about a half-hour, then get to the practice range to hit balls before sunset.
 
Time to go home?
 
Not quite. Weir then spent the next 30 minutes mingling with volunteers at the TPC Boston, setting an example that did not go unnoticed by Seth Waugh, the tournament host and CEO of Deutsche Bank Americas.
 
Mike is a class act, Waugh said. That comes from his upbringing.
 
But it wasnt just Weir. A month before the tournament, Brandt Snedeker and Anthony Kim agreed to come to Boston for a media day. Neither of them were the defending champion. It helped that tournament officials arranged for Kim to take batting practice with the Red Sox.
 
MAJOR DUTY
 
Padraig Harrington came back to the TPC Boston on Sunday to clean out his locker after missing the cut when he found a stack of flags from the British Open and PGA Championship that someone wanted signed.
 
Without a hint of bother, Harrington sat down on a bench and began signing.
 
Oh, good thing I opened this. Its from Jim Furyk, he said, reading a note inside from Furyks wife, Tabitha.
 
Someone watching him sign pointed out that this is what is asked of a guy who wins the British Open and PGA Championship.
 
Harrington then recalled a conversation with 07 Masters champion Zach Johnson.
 
If I ever say Im tired of signing, someone please club me over the head with a 9-iron, Harrington said. And when I come to, explain to me what happened. And then Ill happily continue to sign.
 
DOUBLE DUTY
 
Jim Bones Mackay stays busy enough looking after Phil Mickelson. But the longtime caddie for the worlds No. 2 player was scrambling Saturday at the Deutsche Bank Championship.
 
Mickelson played in the morning. Mackays brother, Tom, was to be married that evening in Vermont.
 
And he managed to be there for both.
 
He had the option to take the day off, the week off, whatever he wanted, Mickelson said. But it shows what hes like. Hes truly the best at what he does.
 
Mackay got a huge break when Mickelson received the late-early draw, meaning he finished about 1 p.m. Saturday. He thought about chartering a helicopter, but learned it was even cheaper to charter a jet.
 
We got to the wedding about 15 minutes before it started, Mackay said.
 
He hired a driver to bring him back so he wouldnt fall asleep on the way back to Boston. Mackay arrived back at his hotel about 3:30 a.m., got a few hours sleep and was back on the bag Sunday for an 8 a.m. tee time.
 
DIVOTS
 
Helen Alfredsson, Cristie Kerr and Natalie Gulbis will represent the LPGA in the Wendys 3-Tour Challenge, which will be held Nov. 11 at Rio Secco in Las Vegas. The Monterey Institute of International Studies in California has offered its services to the LPGA to design a custom language learning program for its international members. Not only does it offer a world-class language facility, the players have ample golf courses on which to practice along the Monterey Peninsula. Fred Couples failed to make the cut in a major this year for the first time since his rookie season in 1981, when he wasnt eligible for any of them.
 
STAT OF THE WEEK
 
Europes entire Ryder Cup team is in the top 50 of the world ranking. The United States has two players outside the top 50 ' Chad Campbell (53) and J.B. Holmes (55).
 
FINAL WORD
 
Im tired of watching him on tape win all these tournaments. I want to see him win some tournaments live. ' Paul Azinger, on Tiger Woods missing the rest of the year.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - BMW Championship
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
  • 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.