Woods receives warm reception in return

By Associated PressApril 9, 2010, 5:52 am

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Wearing golf hats with Tiger Woods' logo, brothers Sullins and James Becton could barely contain their excitement at seeing their favorite player again.

Their grandfather, Dr. James Becton, was a little more conflicted.

Sure, he was happy to see the world's No. 1 golfer back doing what he does best at the Masters. But Becton's grandsons are also 9 and 12, and he agrees with Augusta National chairman Billy Payne, who said Woods failed to live up to his responsibilities as a role model.

'That was pretty much my opinion, too,' the doctor said Thursday morning. 'But we'll wish him well today.'

This was Woods' first competitive round since the November SUV accident that touched off a tawdry sex scandal and made him a tabloid fixture and the butt of late-night jokes. No one – not even Woods – knew quite how fans would respond. Would they cheer him the way they used to? Follow his every move? Or would their response be muted? The occasional, oh-so-polite golf clap?

Or would they heckle him, a scenario that would have been unthinkable six months ago?

By the time he reached the first green, he had his answer: They were glad to see him.

Fans applauded Woods as he made the walk from the practice range to the first tee, and greeted him warmly at the tee. 'Make us proud!' one yelled.

It was much the same reaction on every other hole. Galleries that were one or two deep 20 minutes earlier swelled to mob scenes when Woods and his group arrived. No sooner did he finish one hole than a sea of people was on the move, eager to get in position on the next one.

They applauded his good shots, groaned at the bad ones and shouted encouraging cheers.

'It was unbelievable,' Woods said. 'I mean, all day. I haven't heard them cheer this loud in all my years here.'

Oh, there probably was a time or two in 1997, 2001, 2002 and 2005 he heard louder cries. But fans definitely seemed willing to overlook Woods' personal failings and appreciate his professional brilliance. Fans seated behind the 12th tee even gave him a standing ovation as he and playing partner Matt Kuchar approached the hole.

'I want to see him golf,' Denny Bleh said after Woods made his way through Amen Corner. 'That's the reason everybody's here.'

Added Freddie Holden, 'He's said he's sorry enough. Enough. Enough.'

There were even a few jabs.

While he was on No. 1 green a plane flew over the course towing a banner that said, 'Tiger Did You Mean Bootyism?' - an irreverent play on Buddhism, the religion he says he fell away from amid all of his problems. A few holes later, another banner - 'Sex Addict? Yeah. Right. Sure. Me Too!' - buzzed above Augusta National.

There was even a hard jab.

'He doesn't have the right character and integrity to represent golf,' Larry Isenhour said. 'He's just a bad representation of golf.'

Woods said he didn't see the planes, but he did see the fans. Heard them, too.

Criticized for being cold and detached in the past, Woods tried to make frequent eye contact with the gallery and acknowledged the cheers by waving or touching the brim of his cap.

After that standing ovation on 12, he actually took his cap off and nodded to the crowd. When fans around the No. 6 green greeted him with a chant of 'Ti-ger! Ti-ger!' he broke into a grin.

'I think the way he's reacting with the crowd is amazing,' Jim Moehring said after watching Woods in Amen Corner. 'He seems to be more relaxed.'

Woods even threw in a couple of fist pumps, despite his earlier warning that he would try to rein in his exuberance.

'It felt really good just to get out there and get into the rhythm of the round,' he said. 'Just kind of go about my business.'

And despite all the allegations, revelations and sordid details of the last five months, it really was business as usual on the course.

'I was expecting that he would be welcomed back,' Holden said. 'It's all about golf.'

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.