Tiger a Different Man as This US Open Nears

By Associated PressJune 5, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 U.S. OpenTULSA, Okla. -- The last time a U.S. Open was looming on Tiger Woods' schedule, a life-changing loss weighed heavily on his mind.
 
One year later, he again finds himself preparing for a dramatic change in his personal life as the second major nears.
 
'This year is totally different, from losing a father to certainly becoming a father, my life is in two totally different places, a polar 180 from one another,' Woods said Monday in a teleconference previewing the PGA Championship -- a topic that's still two majors away from being on the No. 1 player's mind.
 
Last year in the Open at Winged Foot, Woods was making his first tour appearance since the death of his father, Earl, six weeks earlier. Next week at Oakmont, he'll be playing in the Open less than a month before he's due to become a father himself.
 
Woods recounted his struggles at last year's Open, where he shot 12 over par and missed the cut in a major for the first time as a professional. He hadn't played in nine weeks -- since the Masters -- in the longest layoff of his career.
 
'I just wasn't quite ready,' Woods said. 'I wasn't quite able to get back into it with my practice sessions because every time I'd go practice I'd always think about my fundamentals, and who taught me my fundamentals but my father?
 
'It was hard for me actually to get away from it because a lot of the things I ever learned how to do in the game came from my father, so that was actually probably a more difficult task than actually getting back on the golf course because I have so many great memories of being with my dad on the golf course.'
 
Woods enters next week's Open after a 15th-place finish at The Memorial this weekend, which he capped with a 5-under 67 -- his best round of the week.
 
But beyond the Open, Woods' future is uncertain. He's hosting a tournament in Washington, D.C., from July 5-8 -- about the time his wife, Elin, is due to have the couple's first child. The British Open starts July 19, and the PGA Championship begins Aug. 9 at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa.
 
'I'm pacing myself already just because of the fact that I have a baby coming up,' Woods said, speaking of the FedEx Cup's impact on the tour. 'I don't know how much I'm going to play after that or how much I'm going to play before that. A lot of that is depending on what happens and the health of Elin and our child.'
 
Asked if he would defend his title in the PGA Championship, Woods said: 'Well, I hope so.'
 
Woods criticized Southern Hills, where his 'Tiger Slam' run of four straight wins in majors ended at the U.S. Open in 2001, for having the greens on Nos. 9 and 18 at different speeds than the other 16. He blamed troubles on those holes in part for his struggles in a tie for 12th place.
 
'You grind getting ready for the championship on all 16 other greens and you're so conscious of watching your pace all the time ... ,' Woods said. 'I think a few of the guys that I talked to went through that week basically thinking that they've got to use two different strokes, one for 16 greens and the other for the other two.
 
'It was just an unfortunate thing because those are two great holes, one being a shorter hole and the other one being such a great finishing hole. It was a shame that we couldn't play it to how it really was originally designed.'
 
The two greens are among those that have been rebuilt in preparation for this year's PGA Championship. Al Bush, the tournament's general chairman, said Southern Hills spent $3 million to upgrade the course, rebuilding 86 bunkers and resodding 82 acres of fairways. Bush said the course will be 7,131 yards long for the PGA with par set at 70.
 
Woods said he still 'always thought it was a wonderful golf course.'
 
'It's a golf course on which you have to shape shots both ways to keep the ball in the fairway and you've got to place the ball on the greens correctly,' Woods said. 'It's not overly long, but with Bermuda rough you don't need to have rough very high around the greens or even the fairways to have it be very difficult. If the greens get up to speed, it's definitely going to be one of the tougher tests that we're going to play.'
 
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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.