USOC Chief Hopes to Change Augusta
Lloyd Ward, one of a handful of black members at Augusta National, said he was 'committed to breaking down barriers which exclude women from membership at Augusta in the weeks and months ahead.''
Amid signs that some Augusta National members were backing away from the club's hard-line stance on the issue, the former president of Ford Motor Co. also said he thought there would be female members at the exclusive club that hosts the Masters golf tournament.
'I think there will be (a woman member) at some time in the future,'' Harold 'Red'' Poling said from his suburban Detroit home. 'I have a lot of faith in Hootie. Everyone would like to see issues such as this resolved.''
Ward made his comments in a letter to Martha Burk, chairwoman of the National Council of Women's Organizations, which is spearheading the drive to include women among Augusta National's 300 members.
It was the first time Ward had commented on the issue since saying in April he would work behind the scenes to allow women into the club, and it was the strongest public statement in support of female members by any member yet.
'I am working with others who are members of Augusta National Golf Club who share the belief that the organization should include women in its membership ranks,'' Ward wrote. 'It is my intent to aggressively work for that reform.''
Club spokesman Glenn Greenspan said Augusta National would have no comment on the issue, likely to be a matter of hot debate when the club reopens later this month after a summer shutdown in Augusta, Ga.
Burk, though, said the fact that some members are now speaking publicly means the argument over female members will only grow louder.
'I applaud their leadership,'' Burk said. 'I believe others will join them and this will be resolved sooner rather than later.''
Augusta National chairman Hootie Johnson, who is recovering from heart surgery, vowed in June that the club would not be 'bullied'' into admitting women as members.
Last month, Johnson dropped three TV sponsors from the 2003 Masters in an attempt to shield the club from further controversy.
Burk earlier wrote to more than 20 CEOs who are members of Augusta National, asking them to admit a woman. She received a reply last week from a representative of Citigroup chairman Sanford I. Weill expressing his guarded support for female members.
Ward's letter went beyond that, though, and seemed to confirm earlier reports by The New York Times that there is a group of members inside Augusta National pushing for the reform.
Ward is in a delicate position. He is not only one of a few black members at Augusta but also head of the U.S. Olympic organization that pushes strongly for equal rights in sports.
'He's been very reluctant to make any public statement before,'' Burk said. 'Maybe he was empowered by Sanford Weill's statement.''
Burk wasn't so happy about two other responses she received Monday from Augusta members. One came from Christopher B. Galvin, chief executive of Motorola, and the other from Rep. Amo Houghton, R-N.Y.
Both said in brief replies that they supported equal rights but that the matter was one for the club to discuss in private.
'It's absolutely astounding that a sitting congressman would have the gall to give the back of his hand to half of his constituents,'' Burk said.
Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge
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
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
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.
Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?
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.