Venezuelas Chavez says he is no enemy of golf

By Associated PressJanuary 26, 2011, 2:03 am

CARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez declared on Tuesday that he is no enemy of golf despite his concerns about elite golf courses on prime urban real estate in Caracas.

Chavez made the remark while congratulating Venezuelan golfer Jhonattan Vegas on his win in the Bob Hope Classic on Sunday in California.

“I’m not an enemy of golf. I’m not an enemy of any sport,” Chavez said in a televised speech.

“What I’ve done is criticize that there are some rich guys in Caracas who have… golf courses and next to them the ‘ranchos’ are falling down,” he said, referring to the simple brick homes clinging to hillsides that have been destroyed in recent landslides.

Chavez has suggested the land on Caracas golf courses could be better used as his government seeks to speed construction of public housing – a stance that has raised the possibility the courses could eventually be expropriated.

The president said he hoped to speak with Vegas soon by phone to congratulate him personally.

“He beat all the gringos,” said Chavez, laughing. “Let’s go, buddy.”

The 26-year-old golfer, who came from a humble family in which his father was groundskeeper of a small course, became the first Venezuelan to win an event on the PGA Tour.

Chavez noted that Vegas is black, saying “he looks like (President Barack) Obama.”

State television cut to segments of Vegas’ successful performance, and Chavez joked “that’s how I played golf” years ago in the president’s hometown of Sabaneta.

Chavez noted that Vegas lives and plays in the United States, saying he represents Venezuela nevertheless “wherever he lives.”

“We’re going to practice golf here, too,” Chavez said.

The leftist leader has previously called golf a pastime of the rich. His socialist government has closed six courses in recent years, all but one of them on land owned by the state oil company – including the course in eastern Venezuela where Vegas learned to play as a boy.

Vegas has said he hopes to give his sport a boost in Venezuela, where baseball has long been the undisputed favorite.

Chavez sought to separate Vegas’ performance from the issue of golf courses in Caracas, where his government is trying to cope with a severe shortage of affordable housing.

The president said he opposes that “a group of very rich people” have a spread of golf courses “there in the heart of Caracas.”

He said there is “almost no city in the world” that has golf courses within city limits as Caracas does.

However, Mexico City and Buenos Aires have golf course layouts within the city limits. Golf courses are also common features of many city parks in North America.

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.

Getty Images

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 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.

Getty Images

Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.