Tiger test driving new Nike golf ball

By Associated PressJuly 4, 2010, 1:27 am

2010 AT&T NationalNEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. – Tiger Woods has switched to a Nike golf ball that has a slightly harder cover and spins less than his previous model, which might explain why he has been hitting his tee shots farther than he has all year.

Woods says his swing has something to do with it, too.

“The more I keep playing, the better I get,” Woods said Saturday after recovering from an atrocious start to shoot even-par 70, making up little ground in the AT&T National. “It has a little bit to do with the ball.”

Woods still uses a One Tour, this ball marked with a star symbol between the two words. He started using it this week at Aronimink, most likely as part of his preparations for the British Open in two weeks at St. Andrews, where the wind is often a major factor.

The world’s No. 1 player often has talked about how he uses one of the softest golf balls on tour, which gives him greater control around the greens. This version would be helpful in windy conditions because it spins less.

Once among the longest hitters in golf, Woods was 21st in driving distance last year. Going into the AT&T National, he was ranked 78th based on two measured drives per round. Through two rounds on a fast, firm Aronimink course, Woods was leading the tournament in driving distance at just over 328 yards.

His additional length was most evident during the second round, when he was playing with Dustin Johnson. On consecutive holes, Woods hit one drive 26 yards past Johnson, and another 10 yards past him. Both led to birdies.

It continued on Saturday.

“Wow,” Scott McCarron whispered when Woods hit one driver 322 yards down the middle on the fourth hole, 37 yards beyond McCarron.

The only trouble this week is that it’s not helping with his scoring. Woods remained well back in the pack at 3-over 213, which left him 10 shots behind even before the leaders teed off.

He hit one of his best tee shots on the sixth hole, which sweeps to the right around trees and a bunker. The shape was perfect, and Woods hit it so pure that he had only 60 yards to the hole. What followed was amateur hour.

Trying to play a low, running shot to get over the ridge and funnel to the hole, Woods couldn’t figure out what he was doing in the middle of his swing and wound up chunking the shot. It didn’t even reach the green, and he three-putted from there for a bogey, his third one in the early going.

“That was just awful,” Woods said. “I was trying to hit a low ball in there, trying to scoot it up that hill, and I was not committed to where I was going to land it. Lack of commitment, ended up hitting the ball fat.”

He turned another easy birdie into bogey on the opening hole by coming up short of the green. Woods has said his distance control is not quite sharp, although he put more of that on himself than the change to different golf ball characteristics.

Woods settled down after the sixth, nearly holing his tee shot on the tough par-3 eighth and making a 5-foot putt for his first birdie of the round. After missing four putts inside 10 feet in his opening six holes, it was probably good to have made that birdie.

“I was going to make that putt or that putter was going to be in the water,” Woods said. “So it was one of those two.”

Woods came close to getting back under par for the round with another big tee shot and wedge to 5 feet for birdie on the 11th, and a 15-foot birdie putt on the 13th. Then came another shot that went according to plan – a high cut right at the flag about 6 feet behind the hole on the par-3 14th. He missed the putt, and the momentum was gone.

By that point, any hope of defending his title was long gone. One more round for Woods, then he’s off to Ireland for a charity pro-am and then home to practice for the next major.

“The more tournaments I play this year, I’m getting better,” Woods said. “The feel is getting better. I feel more comfortable with what I’m working on. It’s so much more comfortable than it was at the beginning of the year.”

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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.