Rock star: Rock enjoying new-found fame

By Associated PressFebruary 8, 2012, 6:02 pm

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - After beating Tiger Woods at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, rising star Robert Rock says he no longer fears playing against the big names.

Good thing. Hes paired with U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy and defending champion Alvaro Quiros of Spain in Thursdays opening round of the Dubai Desert Classic.

The 34-year-old Englishman, who cracked the top 100 with his Abu Dhabi win, has found celebrity life to his liking. He was mobbed by autograph seekers when playing a pro-am tournament Wednesday. Hes also picked up a lucrative endorsement, signing on as the golfing ambassador for the opulent Emirates Palace hotel in Abu Dhabi.

Plenty of people were still asking Rock about his shocking win over 14-time major winner Woods. They came into the final round tied, but Rock held his nerve to win the tournament by a shot over McIlroy. Woods was another shot back in a tie for third.

It doesnt get much better than that for me, Rock told The Associated Press on Wednesday as he walked down the fairway of the first hole of the Emirates Club. To make it better, it would need to be the same sort of scenario in a major championship.

The chances of actually getting the pairings right for that are slim I think I will have a chance to win other tournaments, but that one will definitely be a lasting memory.

Rock, who won his first European Tour event last year, said the win against Woods had given him confidence and a sense he can compete with anyone.

Certain occasions during my career, Ive played with people that have really made me nervous, and that was probably the most, he said of Woods. I played with Nick Faldo, who was a hero, and so was Seve (Ballesteros). After you do that, you are not scared of any groups you get. Id love to play with him (Woods) again. He was great company.

Rock dismissed critics who have suggested Woods can be rude on the golf course, after he was caught spitting on the green last year in Dubai. He said the former No. 1 repeatedly complimented him on his shots and put up with a packed gallery in Abu Dhabi that at times became a tad unruly.

As far as golfing etiquette, it couldnt be better. Its a bit unfair when people criticize him, he said. There are a lot of distractions for him when he is playing, people talking, people using their phones, people taking pictures when they shouldnt.

That was frustrating for me when I was hitting shots. I lost my temper a few times when that happened, and he doesnt do that. He ignores it and just carries on.

Rock, who until last month was better known for his relaxed demeanor and 1970s style haircut, said breaking into the top 50 would be a goal'in time to get him an invitation to the Masters. But his first priority is to win in Dubai.

Im up against two great players in that group, Rock said. The whole field is full of potential winners. The European Tour is very, very strong. I think my victory in Abu Dhabi proved that to some extent, that somebody down the lower ends of the world rankings can win a tournament.

McIlroy, who won here in 2009, is looking to overcome inconsistent driving and mistakes in Abu Dhabi. Among the most costly was a two-shot penalty in the second round for brushing away sand in front of his ball in the rough on the ninth hole.

I didnt feel like I played all that well in Abu Dhabi, McIlroy said. I scored very well and was able to get myself into contention, which was great.

I felt like I needed to work on a couple of things last week, which I did, and I feel like theyre getting better.

Third-ranked Lee Westwood is in the field, looking to improve on a slow start to the year. He finished tied for 17th in Abu Dhabi and tied for 12th at the Qatar Masters. Fourth-ranked Martin Kaymer is competing after finishing tied for ninth in Qatar and missing the cut in Abu Dhabi.

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.

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.