Tiger of old threatens to make US Open appearance

By Associated PressJune 17, 2010, 5:07 pm

2010 U.S. OpenPEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – A chilly breeze swept through Pebble Beach on Wednesday, prompting players to put on sweaters and doing little to calm their fears that the seaside course will get so fast it will almost be unplayable in the U.S. Open.

It wasn’t a lot warmer in the media tent the day before, where Tiger Woods drew a standing room-only crowd of writers for the ritual dance that both he and they seem to be finding increasingly distasteful.

Questions about the state of his game were dismissed with his usual vagueness.

Questions about the state of his personal life were simply dismissed.

“None of your business,” Woods said when asked about his marriage.

It is, of course, because Woods himself made it some of everybody’s business. He was the one who tried to stop the hemorrhaging of his public image with a national television address about his affairs, and he was the one who vowed publicly not just to become a better husband but a better man.

There would be a new Tiger, he promised us all, and soon the world would see him for what he really is.

The world is still waiting.

Tiger Woods
Woods looks to regain glory this week at Pebble Beach. (Getty Images)

Woods tees off Thursday in an Open that should tell us a lot about whether he can regain his edge on the golf course. He proclaims his game in good shape and seems more concerned with trying to win on Sunday than trying to make the cut on Friday.

Indeed, his game may be better. Who knows, maybe his marriage is, too, despite the plentiful rumors that say a very costly divorce is as imminent as it is inevitable.

But where is the better man he promised? Where is the player who vowed to show more respect to the game?

Not at Pebble Beach this week, apparently. If anything, the old Woods swagger seems to be back, along with the old Woods attitude.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing for golf fans. Most are sick of hearing about Woods’ private life and salivate just at the thought of him playing down the back nine on Sunday at Pebble with the Open on the line.

NBC executives would be thrilled, too. Woods moves the ratings needle like no player ever has.

They are probably quietly rooting for an expletive or two after a wayward drive, just like the old days. Might get people afraid to walk away during a commercial break, lest they miss something good.

So far this week there hasn’t been, at least off the course. Woods seems even more determined than before to offer fans anything, whether it be an autograph or a revealing quote.

He may have discarded the dark glasses that made him look like he was in the witness protection program, but he’s clearly still full bore in the Tiger protection program.

Ten years ago he won the Open here by an unbelievable 15 shots without saying a word to playing partner Ernie Els. Now his way of showing everyone he has changed comes by offering up this pablum about his opening pairing with Els.

“It’s neat to have Ernie in the group,” Woods said. “I think we’re going to have a good time.”

Yeah, then maybe dinner and a few drinks together. That work for you Ernie?

The prevailing logic going into this Open was that Woods wouldn’t have a good time this week no matter who he was paired with. That’s largely because he can’t seem to hit it straight off the tee, a quality that is usually critically important in the national championship.

But with the forecast for light winds and sunny skies all week, Pebble Beach is growing increasingly fast. And that means Woods can hit long irons and 3-woods off the tee on most holes and rarely reach into the bag for the club he can’t seem to control.

Couple that with a short game that seems as impeccable as ever, and Woods may have some reason for his optimism. At a time where he is desperate for some validation on the golf course, a golf course that plays fast and hard could be just what he needs.

Those who got to Pebble early enough Wednesday to catch the end of Woods’ practice round got a glimpse of that. After hitting into a fairway bunker on the seaside 18th and still having a long shot left, he took out an iron and sent a screamer onto the green.

A television reporter asked Woods what iron it was and he flashed two fingers before thinking better of it.

“None of your business,” he said.

Unlike the day before, he was smiling. And that offered up yet another possibility for this Open.

Maybe he and Els will have a good time after all.

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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.