Wie on the Road Back to Cloudy Future

By Associated PressJune 28, 2008, 4:00 pm
U.S. WomenEDINA, Minn. -- Even in some of her lowest moments in golf, Michelle Wie never had so little to gain.
 
She had to return to Interlachen at dawn Saturday to play one hole of the rain-delayed second round at the U.S. Womens Open, no chance of making the cut or even breaking par.
 
From an elevated tee, she gazed down at a gorgeous view of the sun casting its morning light on the ninth fairway. But when play resumed, her tee shot strayed some 30 yards to the right into the shadows of the trees.
 
Such is the plight of someone who once brought so much sizzle to her sport.
 
What looks like hope can turn so quickly into hardship.
 
Wie went from finishing second in a 36-hole qualifier for the U.S. Womens Open to opening with an 81 and making the news that night only because of a quintuple-bogey 9 that all but ended her chances.
 
One week after her best finish on the LPGA Tour in two years, she had another weekend off.
 
It doesnt feel like I played that bad, Wie said after scrambling for a par on No. 9 from about the same position where she made her quintuple bogey on Thursday. Ill just take this as a bad week and go from there.
 
Where shes going is anyones guess.
 
The wrist injuries that made a wreck of her 2007 season have just about healed. Wie showed no sign of pain for two days at Interlachen, and any questions about her power might have been answered on the 17th hole. With the tees moved up to make it play 405 yards, Wie smashed a driver over the bunkers and had a 52-degree sand wedge left to the green.
 
For someone whose psyche was so fragile last year, confidence is slowly being restored. Even after opening with an 81, she was 1 under for the second round until the storms rolled in Friday afternoon and stopped her momentum.
 
But the next month is critical.
 
The 18-year-old from Honolulu was once somewhat dismissive of the LPGA Tour. Now shes desperate to join it.
 
Wie has only three sponsors exemptions left this year, and she likely will need to finish in the top 10 at all of them to earn the equivalent of 80th on the LPGA Tour money list and get her card. Otherwise, Wie could be headed to the first of two stages of qualifying.
 
I think the qualifying conflicts with school, so I probably wont go to that, Wie said earlier in the week, noting it was tough to take one week off at Stanford last fall to play in a tournament. But hopefully, Ill make enough money this year to get exempt for next year. Ill see how it goes. Im having a lot of fun playing good again, so thats all Im focusing on now.
 
However, her father made it sound as though Q-school was a distinct possibility.
 
What other options do we have? he said.
 
The only time Wie had to qualify for a regular LPGA Tour event was the Takefugi Classic in 2002 when she was 12.
 
Exemptions started pouring in after that, and Wie brought so much excitement to the LPGA Tour that rules were changed to allow her to play as often as possible. Instead of a minimum six exemptions, the LPGA stopped counting the U.S. Womens Open and Womens British Open against her limit. The LPGA Championship made an exception in 2004 for a leading amateur'Wie.
 
She remains one of the biggest attractions in womens golf. There is no shortage of tournaments that would love to have her. Why not spend another year taking exemptions?
 
This is no longer the right time for that, B.J. Wie said. That was for high school, not college. We extended that one year because of the injuries.
 
Q-school would not be the worst option.
 
Karrie Webb won the Womens British Open in 1995 at age 20, came to America and earned her card at Q-school despite playing with a broken bone in her hand. She now is in the World Golf Hall of Fame. Morgan Pressel made it through Q-school when she was 17, and a year later became the youngest player at 18 to win an LPGA major. Paula Creamer started out in Q-school and now has five victories.
 
There is work to be done, and there were times when golf looked like anything but fun to Wie.
 
Four hours after she signed for her 81 on Thursday, she had changed clothes and was going through a drill on the putting green. Eight tees were placed around the cup, some 15 feet away, and Wie worked her way around the circle.
 
If she missed the putt, the tee stayed in the ground. Make it, and the tee comes out.
 
She couldnt leave until all the tees were gone.
 
Wie lined up every putt as if it were the 72nd hole of a major, sometimes slapping her knee when the putt burned the edge of the cup and stayed out. When she made one, she snatched the tee out of the ground and angrily threw it toward her bag.
 
This did not look like much fun.
 
When all the tees were gone, she walked up the hill with her head down, the brim of her cap hiding her eyes. Then it was off to the practice range, her mother bringing over a large bucket of balls.
 
The joy comes from shooting lower scores, and Wie received a jolt of confidence on the Ladies European Tour a month ago when she finished sixth in the Ladies German Open with a 14-under 274, seven shots behind the winner.
 
It had been a long time since I shot 14 under, she said. It was like the light bulb switched on.
 
Her hope now is to keep it flickering.
 
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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.