Renewed McDowell ready to make another major push

By Associated PressJuly 8, 2011, 3:18 pm

INVERNESS, Scotland – Having had his head in the clouds for 12 months, Graeme McDowell feels he is finally ready to renew his bid for further grand-slam glory at next week’s British Open.

As recently crowned U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy is discovering, winning a first major title is a life-changing experience. The ninth-ranked McDowell, McIlroy’s fellow Northern Irishman, can certainly attest to that.

His U.S. Open success at Pebble Beach, followed by Europe’s Ryder Cup victory at Celtic Manor, completed a remarkable 2010 for McDowell and it took him a while to recover. Endless partying and constant back-slapping didn’t help.

Free from the burden of being a reigning major champion, the 31-year-old McDowell has happily passed the baton on to McIlroy and can sense further success at future majors, starting Thursday at Royal St. George’s.

“I feel fresh. I was already feeling that way at Congressional (last month at the U.S. Open), like a subconscious weight had been lifted off my shoulders,” he said.

“I really shouldn’t be complaining about the burden of being U.S. Open champion. I had a great 12 months and played some great golf but it had a negative side to it the last few months – leading up to the U.S. Open.”

Since winning at Pebble to become the first U.S. Open champion from Europe in 40 years, McDowell missed the cut at two majors – the 2010 PGA Championship and this year’s Masters – and failed to get anywhere near contention at the British Open and the U.S. Open.

He did hole the winning putt for Europe at The Ryder Cup in October but hasn’t tasted success in 2011, his best chance wasted at The Players Championship when he blew a one-stroke lead with a fourth-round 79.

He has looked more like his old self at this week’s Scottish Open, shooting an 8-under 64 on Friday to take a share of the lead early on the second day at the Castle Stuart course in the Highlands.

Mastering links conditions similar to those expected in Sandwich, McDowell demonstrated why he should be regarded as one of the favorites to land the year’s third major.

“I have really wanted to push on with my game and I didn’t really feel like I could, spending all of my time living 2010 again. But I feel really good,” he said.

“There’s another Northern Irishman to take all the attention off me, as well. I’ll let him handle that next week and I’m very happy just to push on with my game, keep working hard and get back to winning tournaments.”

Whether he gets to see McIlroy – his close friend, regular practice partner and Ryder Cup teammate – before the first round gets under way at Royal St. George’s is open to question.

“If his U.S. Open prep is anything to go by, he might not get there until Tuesday night. He flew late into Congressional – maybe that’s the magic recipe now. We’ll see,” McDowell said. “He’s going to be a busy man.”

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 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.