Watson returns to British Open with no regrets

By Associated PressJuly 12, 2010, 4:16 pm

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – On a blustery afternoon at the Old Course, Tom Watson had more to do than just work on his iron play heading into the British Open, the major he came so close to winning last year at the age of 59.

He posed for pictures. He doled out local knowledge. All with that impish grin.

“St. Andrews is a place where people are just happy. They’re just happy to be here. The fans, the players, everyone. It’s a place that people truly enjoy,” Watson said Sunday after a practice round with pick-his-brain playing partners Brian Gay and Ben Crane.

Can Watson pull off another turn-back-the-clock performance at the British Open? A year ago at Turnberry, he lost to Stewart Cink in a playoff after missing an 8-foot par putt on the 72nd hole that would have made him the oldest major champion in golf history.

“Ask me Wednesday,” Watson said. “I don’t have my arsenal firing right now. My iron play is sketchy right now. I’ve got to see if I can get it homed down.”

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“I still love to put my game to the test here. It’s a wonderful test of golf. This is where people think of when they think of links golf. The first course that comes into your mind is St. Andrews.”

Gay and Crane were soaking it all in, trying to get inside information from Watson, who’s playing in his seventh Open at St. Andrews.

“I tried to pick his brain a little bit about pin positions and how to hit certain shots, what clubs to use,” Gay said. “This was my first go-round out here. It’s pretty overwhelming. There’s so much to try to figure out there. It just seems you can’t play it enough times.”

As they walked away from No. 17, the hole that runs alongside the Old Course Hotel, Crane wanted to know what to use as a reference point for his tee shots.

“I hit it over the ‘L’ of the hotel,” Crane said, referring to the prominent sign on the building.

“I hit ‘em over the ‘O,”’ Watson countered.

History is against Watson pulling off another performance like the one at Turnberry.

Even though he’s America’s greatest links champion, having won the claret jug five times on five courses, the one Scottish layout where he’s failed to win is St. Andrews. He came close in 1984, losing on the final holes to Seve Ballesteros.

It will be more of a challenge at St. Andrews – with the daunting length of holes such as the 480-yard fourth – than it was in 2009 at Turnberry, which better suited golfers getting by on guile more than strength.

“The conditions have to be right,” Watson said. “I have to be firing on all cylinders. That’s one thing I learned early in life. I didn’t have to fire on all cylinders to win. I could just think my way around the course early in my career and still win. But the older you get, the shorter you get.”

One thing that won’t be weighing on Watson’s game this week: any lament about letting the claret jug slip from his grasp at Turnberry.

“That left me in about 24 hours,” he said, shrugging his shoulders. “There’s no regrets at all. I’ve played enough golf to have lost tournaments that I should have won, and I’ve won some tournaments that I should’ve lost. That’s my philosophy about it. There’s nothing I can do to bring it back. So there’s no regrets. No regrets at all. That’s how life is.”

Not that he doesn’t appreciate what got away.

Said Watson, “It would’ve made a great story.”

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.

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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.