Tigers Stuns Mediate with Playoff Putt

By Associated PressJune 15, 2008, 4:00 pm
2008 U.S. OpenSAN DIEGO -- Tiger Woods wasn't sure if his left knee would allow him to finish 72 holes of the U.S. Open. After yet another defining moment at Torrey Pines, he was thrilled to get a chance at 18 more.
 
Down to his last stroke, Woods holed a 12-foot birdie putt that curled into the right side of the cup on the 18th hole to force a playoff with Rocco Mediate, who could only watch on TV as Woods delivered another epic moment in an Open loaded with them.
 
Mediate, trying to become the oldest champion at age 45, two-putted for par from above the ridge for an even-par 71 to finish at 1-under 283, the first time since 2004 that someone broke par in a U.S. Open.
 
It looked like it might be good enough when Woods and Lee Westwood of England, both one shot behind, hit into the bunker on each side of the fairway on the 527-yard closing hole and had to lay up.
 
Westwood's 15-foot birdie putt never had a chance, losing speed and turning away. He shot 73.
 
From an unpredictable lie in the right rough, Woods gouged a wedge out to 12 feet right of the pin. He started to backpedal as the putt neared the hole, paused to make sure it was in, then clenched and pumped both fists toward him with his head to the sky.
 
'Unbelievable. I knew he'd make it,' Mediate said as he watched from a scoring room.
 
Woods shot 73 and will be in a playoff for the third time in a major, this one 18 holes of stroke play on Monday.
 
The 50,000 fans at Torrey Pines, who thought they had seen it all during a most remarkable week, now get a little bit more.
 
It will be the first playoff at the U.S. Open -- the only major that goes 18 holes of overtime -- since Retief Goosen defeated Mark Brooks at Southern Hills in 2001.
 
And it was made possible by Woods, among the greatest clutch putters of all time, making a putt that simply couldn't miss.
 
'A little wobbly down there,' he said of the poa greens, a grass that gets bumpier in the afternoon sun. 'I played probably 2 holes outside right. Just take it back and make a pure stroke, because once it starts slowing down there ... you don't know what's going to happen. All I could control is my stroke.'
 
The birdie concluded a week in which Woods played the first two rounds with Phil Mickelson, shot 30 on his back nine Friday to get into contention, took the 54-hole lead Saturday with two eagle putts totaling 100 feet, and wobbled on a surgically repaired knee that often turned a megawatt smile into a painful grimace.
 
The knee, which sidelined him from the Masters until this week, didn't seem to bother him as much Sunday -- certainly not when he launched into the wildest celebration of the week.
 
'I took some things to kind of relieve that,' Woods said of the soreness.
 
Adrenaline maybe?
 
'Uh, that helps, too,' he said.
 
Mediate made only one bogey over the final 13 holes, seizing on his best -- and perhaps only -- chance to win a major. He grazed the edge of the cup on a 15-foot birdie try at the 17th and hit a wedge too strong on the 18th, both pars keeping Woods in the game.
 
Monday will not be the first time they have tussled.
 
Mediate played with a 23-year-old Woods in the final round of the Phoenix Open in 1999, where he led by six shots and held on to win by three. It was one of his five PGA Tour victories.
 
'Battle royale,' Mediate said of what awaits. 'The thing that is most amazing is the man I'm going to play tomorrow has won 13 of these. It's amazing how much it takes. I gave all I had today and I can't complain.'
 
Woods has never lost a major when he had at least a share of the 54-hole lead, and he came close to throwing this one away on a series of questionable decisions and poor shots.
 
He tried to reach the 13th green in two from 291 yards when a birdie was not necessary, then pulled it into a hazard and walked off with bogey to slip one shot behind Mediate, who had birdied the 14th ahead of him.
 
Woods then laid up with an iron on the 14th, where the tees were moved up to make it play only 267 yards, hit a sand wedge 20 feet beyond the hole and made par. And two shots into the right rough on the 15th led to a bogey that put him one shot behind.
 
Standing over an all-or-nothing putt on the last hole, Woods again delivered.
 
It was reminiscent of the 2000 PGA Championship at Valhalla, where he made a six-foot birdie putt that broke both ways to get into a playoff against Bob May, the critical piece on his way to four straight majors.
 
'It feels very similar to what Valhalla felt like,' Woods said. 'If I didn't make that putt, I don't get to continue to keep playing. At best, I gave myself a chance to win the tournament tomorrow. And that's all I can ask for.'
 
Westwood, trying to become the first European in 38 years to win the U.S. Open, fell one stroke short. He had a one-shot lead at the turn and fought to stay in the game after consecutive bogeys early on the back nine.
 
'It's sickening not to be in the playoff tomorrow,' he said. 'But all in all, I played pretty good all week. And if somebody said, 'You're going to have a chance for a playoff on Monday,' then I would have probably taken that at the start of the week. I think I've proved to myself and a few others that I think there is a major championship in me.'
 
Woods even being in contention on the back looked uncertain the way he started.
 
In the final group for the sixth time in the last eight majors, this one was packed with curiosity over the state of his knee, and it showed. Fans stood 25 rows deep behind the tee, and those in the top row of the bleachers on the 18th hole turned to watch. Among those in the crowd was his swing coach, Hank Haney, who pleaded as Woods settled over the tee shot, 'C'mon, buddy.'
 
He snap-hooked the tee shot over the gallery, and so began another journey to double bogey -- his second shot was left and hit a tree, his third shot clipped another tree and stayed in thick rough, his fourth didn't reach the green, and he got up-and-down for a 6.
 
That put him 7-over for the week on his opening hole, and was his third double bogey on No. 1.
 
After a three-putt bogey -- his fourth of the week -- on No. 2, he didn't make another mistake until the 13th.
 
Woods won that three-hole playoff at Valhalla by one shot, and he won the 2005 Masters in a sudden-death playoff with an 8-iron into 15 feet on the first extra hole to beat Chris DiMarco.
 
This one is a full round on a wounded knee against a 45-year-old with a back so creaky he once contemplated retirement. Now, Mediate feels as though he has nothing to lose.
 
'I don't know how you make odds on that,' Mediate said. 'Who knew I would be here playing against him tomorrow?'
 
Then he noticed Woods standing at the door of the interview room.
 
'And you better watch yourself tomorrow, pal,' Mediate said playfully. 'See, he's a little nervous right now.'
 
Woods joined the laughter. Nervous? Probably not. But definitely thrilled to still be playing.
 
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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.