A tip from Tiger the lead for OHair

By Associated PressSeptember 25, 2009, 1:41 pm

ATLANTA (AP)—Sean O’Hair first got to know Tiger Woods by showing up at dawnfor practice rounds at the majors.

The friendship grew stronger over the years, and reached a point this springthat O’Hair and Woods were playfully jawing at each other about the NBA playoffsbefore the final round of the Quail Hollow Championship. O’Hair jumped pastWoods and others that day for his biggest PGA Tour victory, and Woods hungaround after it was over to congratulate him.

Their relationship reached another level at East Lake.

They played a practice round on the eve of the Tour Championship, and whenO’Hair had a few questions about putting, Woods was only too happy to impartsome advice and a few tips.

Tiger Woods watches his tee sh…
AP - Sep 24, 6:51 pm EDT

Perhaps it was merely a coincidence, but in the opening round Thursday,O’Hair made enough putts on firm greens for a 4-under 66 that gave him aone-shot lead over a trio of British Open champions—Woods included.

“I’m going to go chew him out right now,” Woods said.

Woods was joking, for it is typical in this sport for players to help eachother even as they’re trying to beat each other. O’Hair is the first to concedethat his putting has held him back in his five years on tour, and he wasn’tafraid to ask for advice.

The tip was technical. O’Hair tends to take the putter back squarely, thenhold onto it through the putt. Woods suggested that he open the face on the wayback, which would allow him to release the putter on the way through.

O’Hair doesn’t have it down pat, at least not yet. It was the idea thatWoods was willing to help that meant so much.

“I believe in what he said, and I think it’s the key for me to kind of takemy putting to another level,” O’Hair said. “Getting advice like that from goodplayers is obviously awesome, but getting it from basically the greatest of alltime is pretty cool.

“I mean, I’m his competition. For him to help me out like he did was veryclassy.”

Woods recovered from a shaky start with three birdies over a four-holestretch on the back nine for a 67, putting him one shot behind with PadraigHarrington and British Open champion Stewart Cink.

Only eight players managed to break par in the final FedEx Cup playoffevent, with a $10 million bonus going to the winner. O’Hair is the No. 7 seed,meaning he would have to win the Tour Championship and have Woods finish in athree-way tie for second or worse.

So far, so good. And so much golf is left to be played.

O’Hair could only imagine what it would be like to try out his putting tipon the 18th green Sunday with a chance to go home with $11.35 million, thecombined earnings of the FedEx Cup and Tour Championship.

“If I do have that opportunity, I hope I have a five-shot lead,” he said.

Woods doesn’t regret giving O’Hair the putting advice.

“It’s very simple,” Woods said. “You always help your friends. Sean is afriend of mine, and like all my friends, you always try to make their lifebetter somehow. Sean has been struggling a bit on the greens this year, and Ithought I could offer a little bit of help and insight to how he could changethat.”

Woods, who is in the best shape to capture the FedEx Cup as the No. 1 seed,could have used some help early in the round. As O’Hair, Harrington and Cinkwere setting an early pace, Woods was headed in the wrong direction by failingto save par from a bunker on the par-3 sixth, and making bogey on the eighthfrom the rough to go 1 over.

He was six shots behind at one point, then closed quickly.

“This golf course, you have to be very patient, especially with greens thisfirm,” Woods said. “It’s really hard to get the ball close unless you drivethe ball in the fairway and have a short iron in.”

U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover had a 68, and only three other playersmanaged to break par—Retief Goosen, Steve Marino and Dustin Johnson, who wereat 69.

Stricker, the No. 2 seed, was among those at 70.

It was hard to believe that a course that was closed Monday and part ofTuesday because of 20 inches of rain over the past week could deliver some ofthe firmest greens on tour this year. Attribute that to a sub-air system on thegreens installed last year, and a hot sun that left players reaching for towelsto wipe sweat off their brow.

“The course was playing fairly long, and then the greens are justincredibly firm, probably the most firm we’ve played all year,” O’Hair said.“Maybe The Players Championship is a close second. Kind of ironic since we gotso much rain.”

O’Hair was sporty from the rough, too. He made his first birdie with a wedgeout of the rough on No. 3 that stopped a foot away, then made another birdie atNo. 12 under similar circumstances, from the right rough with just enough spinto stop 2 feet from the hole.

Cink narrowly made the 30-man field at No. 26 and the scenarios are too manyto count for him to win the FedEx Cup. All he cared about Thursday was breakingpar, like so many others.

“Considering all that rain we had, it’s really dried out, and the greensare like bricks,” Cink said. “You have to be very smart coming into the greensto give yourself any kind of aggressive birdies.”

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.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.