Tigers aura strong at least outside the ropes

By Associated PressNovember 10, 2009, 9:17 pm

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP)—Tiger Woods made news simply by walking off hisprivate jet.

A large photo of Woods, dressed in black shorts and a red Stanford cap, wassplashed across the front of The Melbourne Age on Tuesday morning. Imagine whatit was like when he actually put a golf club in his hand. Even Woods was alarmedto see an estimated 7,000 fans covering every inch of space available atKingston Heath to see his first appearance Down Under in 11 years.

Not long after he played nine holes with Craig Parry , the course wasvirtually empty.

“Nothing more to see for the day,” one fan said as he headed for the exit.

Combine that with a week in camera-happy China, where caddie Steve Williamsset the golf bag down to use the restroom, and it was surrounded within secondsby some 50 fans. Just more evidence that Woods’ aura is larger than ever.

At least outside the ropes.

His mystique on the golf course has been a different story over the lastthree months.

It’s always best to look at the big picture with Woods, and that continuesto illustrate his dominance in the game. Eight months after reconstructive kneesurgery, unsure how his left leg would respond to practice and play, Woods wonsix times on the PGA Tour and finished out of the top 10 only three times in 18tournaments. Even without winning a major, he considers 2009 a success.

The latest snapshot, however, is worthy of attention.

Woods, the best closer in golf, had gone five years without losing a PGATour event when he was atop the leaderboard through 36 holes. He has lost hislast two tournaments from that spot, both times watching Phil Mickelson posewith the trophy.

The last four times Woods has played in the final group, he has won only onetime—the BMW Championship outside Chicago, where he went into the final roundwith a seven-shot lead.

The latest mishap was the HSBC Champions, and while it’s no shame to spotMickelson a two-shot lead and fail to win, it was the manner in which Woods soquickly became an also-ran.

With a chance to cut the lead to one shot on the second hole, he missed a4-foot birdie. With Mickelson safely on the green about 18 feet from the cup onthe par-3 fourth, Woods pulled his tee shot into the water and made doublebogey. Two holes later, Woods was just about 30 feet from the flag and justinside Nick Watney , giving him a good read on the putt. Instead, he ran it 10feet by the hole and three-putted for bogey.

If not for a 10-foot birdie on the ninth, he would have gone out in 40. Sucha score is not unusual with Woods in the final group. It’s just that it usuallybelongs to another player.

“Just one of those days,” Woods said.

They happen to everyone. They used to happen less frequently to him.

Woods was in the final group of the Tour Championship, two shots behindKenny Perry , but didn’t have a one-putt birdie until the 16th hole, and by thenit effectively was too late to catch up to Mickelson.

It dates to the final round of the PGA Championship at Hazeltine, whereWoods built a four-shot lead going into the weekend, still had a two-shot leadagainst unheralded Y.E. Yang , and lost for the first time in a major whenleading going into the final round.

Woods has won four of the last 12 majors—that’s more than any of his peershave won in their careers. He also has finished runner-up in four of the last 12majors, this after finishing second only twice in the previous 40 majors.

“You’re not going to win them all,” Woods said Tuesday, noting that JackNicklaus was runner-up a record 19 times. “The whole idea is to give yourself achance in each and every one. I did that three of the four—I gave myself achance. And unfortunately, just didn’t get it done. You learn from it.”

Even so, his missed chances in regular tournaments—The Barclays, TourChampionship, HSBC Champions—raises the question of whether Yang’s victory atHazeltine chipped away at Woods’ mystique.

Remember, Woods had lost only one tournament in his career when leading bymore than one shot going into the final round, and that was nine years ago inGermany against Lee Westwood . It had never happened in a major, the tournamentsthat mean the most to Woods.

“He’s normal. He was always going to do that,” Geoff Ogilvy said earlierthis year. “I don’t think everybody is going to stand on the tee and say, ‘He’sgoing to give me a chance.”’

Ogilvy, however, said something could be taken away from Yang’s victory.

“The best thing about it is that the media will stop giving Tiger thetournament after 36 holes,” he said.

Maybe not. But the show still starts with Woods, whose appearance inMelbourne has made his $3 million appearance fee—half of that paid by thegovernment—a non-issue among the Australian media.

The tournament has been a sellout for months, with tickets capped at 100,000for the week. John Brumby, the Victoria premier, sat with Woods in a pressconference Tuesday and said more than 35 percent of the tickets were sold topeople either out of state or overseas. He said the economic return would be atleast $19 million.

That part of Woods’ appeal hasn’t changed.

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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.