Payne Stewarts son playing at Pinehurst
Yes, his dad was watching.
The late Payne Stewart still casts a long shadow at Pinehurst ' both physically, a statue of the first U.S. Open champion crowned at No. 2 looms larger than life just off the 18th, and figuratively.
Now, almost exactly a decade after the last pro victory of Stewarts career, its up to his 20-year-old son to carry on that legacy when he plays his first tournament at the famous course, this weeks North and South Amateur.
A lot of people talk about, Its been 10 years, (and) if this is going to be particularly hard because its been 10 years, Aaron Stewart said. Anybody thats lost someone who has been such a big part of their lives, you think about that person every day. So its not like 10 years is going to be any different than seven years or something like that. Its still going to be another day when youre thinking about him.
The younger Stewart, whos entering his redshirt sophomore season at SMU, is making a rare trip to the course in south-central North Carolina where his fathers second U.S. Open title came four months before his untimely death in an airplane accident.
Aaron Stewart, a 10-year-old at that time, didnt develop a serious interest in golf until he was in high school and visited Pinehurst last month for the first time since the statue was dedicated in 2001. He played 18 holes at No. 2 for the first time Monday.
Our family has always thought very highly of the people here and Pinehurst overall, so when I found out about the North and South, I thought if I could get in, itd be a lot of fun to play, Stewart said.
A quick glance at the younger Stewart and its obvious who his father is ' minus, of course, the tam-o-shanters and plus-fours that became trademarks of Paynes during his nearly two-decade pro career.
But theyre sharing more than just facial features this week. Aarons caddie, Mike Hicks, also carried the clubs for his father during his victory in the 1999 Open. And Aaron brought his fathers yardage book from that tournament.
The mannerisms and the way he conducts himself, theres a few things that remind me a lot of his dad, Hicks said.
A successful week at the North and South and the Stewarts will have matching tournament victories at No. 2, though Aaron Stewart faces a daunting path through two days of stroke play just to qualify for the match-play round.
Then again, he didnt rule out mimicking the fist-pumping pose struck by his father after his 15-foot putt sealed the Open victory, immortalized in the statue by the 18th green.
Theres hopes and desires and dreams, but itd be awesome to win at Pinehurst, Stewart said. I cant think of a better caddie to have on the bag, so it would be really special. Im just going to go out (Tuesday) and play my best, and whatever happens from there, keep focusing on that and not think about the outcome. Stay present.
Someday, Aaron Stewart wants to follow his father into professional golf. But as proud as he is to be Payne Stewarts son, he also is eager to create his own identity.
Im very happy to have (the Stewart last name) and Im very proud of my name, and I do want to be known as my own player, Stewart said. But that will come in time.
Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son
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.
Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?
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
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.
Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational
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.