Woods' schedule limited by time with kids

By Associated PressMarch 9, 2011, 8:37 pm

DORAL, Fla. — Tiger Woods is hitting some of his best shots when no oneis watching.

That’s typically the case when Woods tries to build a new golf swing, andhis third major swing change is no exception. Put him on the practice range athome in Isleworth and he says he goes through long stretches of hitting the ballhow he wants. Put him inside the ropes, with a scorecard in hand and TV camerasin the towers, and he has stretches of looking ordinary.

But there is one big difference this time around.

Woods isn’t playing very much.

When he tees it up Thursday in the Cadillac Championship at Doral, it willbe only his 10th competitive round of the year, an unusually low number with theMasters around the corner. Woods talks about needing more competition, and mostwould agree that would speed along the process of revamping his swing. It alsoleads to a natural question.

Why not play more tournaments?

“Because I have a family. I’m divorced,” Woods replied solemnly. “Ifyou’ve been divorced with kids, then you would understand.”

It spoke to a personal life that remains as much a work in progress as hisgolf swing.

There was speculation after Woods lost in the first round of the Match PlayChampionship that he would play the Honda Classic, especially since he is closeto moving to south Florida. But that was his time with his 3 1/2 -year-old daughterand 1-year-old son as part of the “shared parenting” with ex-wife Elin. Thereare no plans to play next week at Innisbrook, either.

Woods can’t expect any sympathy for a situation he created through serialadultery. Even so, his playing schedule reflects that he’s having to change morethan his swing.

When he went through his first big overhaul under Butch Harmon after the1997 season, Woods played 17 rounds before the Florida swing. At the start of2004 under Hank Haney, he played 22 rounds leading to Florida, the traditionalstart of the road to the Masters.

This year, he has played nine rounds in competition.

Woods started his season at Torrey Pines with four rounds, only two of themunder par. Two weeks later he was off to Dubai, where he was in contention untila 75 on the wind-blown final day. After another two-week break came the MatchPlay Championship, where he lost in the opening round to Thomas Bjorn .

There is no cut at this World Golf Championship, so he is guaranteed fourrounds this week.

It starts Thursday on the Blue Monster, a course where he has won threetimes and never finished out of the top 10 in four other appearances. That meansnothing anymore, for Woods had never finished out of the top 10 at either TorreyPines and Dubai until this year.

Woods will be in familiar company, which will bring him even more attention.

Because tournament officials relied on the world ranking to determine thegroups, Woods will spend the first two days with Phil Mickelson , his fiercestrival, and Graeme McDowell , who in December rallied from four shots behind inthe final round to beat Woods in a playoff at the Chevron World Challenge.

Not since the 2007 Deutsche Bank Championship have Woods and Mickelsonplayed in the same group for the early rounds. What’s strange about thisoccasion is their form. Woods has gone nearly 16 months without winning, thelongest stretch of his career. Mickelson has not won since the Masters lastyear.

Who could have guessed golf’s two best players of their generation wouldhave one win between them in the last year?

And it doesn’t sound as though Woods is expecting much this week.

“I’ve been through periods in my career where I have not won and I’vestruggled before,” he said. “When you’re making a change with the game andchange instructors, it takes a little time. Trust me, we have been working onit. As I said, I’ve shown signs. Unfortunately, it’s in spurts and is notconsistent. It has not been for 72 holes yet, so, we need to get to thatpoint.”

After playing nine holes on Tuesday — including three balls in the water onthe 18th hole—he talked about changing everything about his game, all the waydown to how he releases the putter.

“You just can’t have one swing and not have another,” he said. “They’reall interrelated. It’s just something I’ve had to change, and you know, it takestime.”

And most of that time is spent on the range, not at tournaments.

Lee Westwood , who lost his No. 1 ranking to Martin Kaymer two weeks ago, canunderstand the feeling. Westwood once was No. 4 in the world until he went intoa deep slump that dropped him as low as No. 253.

He wasn’t surprised when Woods did not play the Honda Classic last week,even for reasons other than his children.

“When I went through a bad patch, it was a juggling act whether to stay athome and practice and work on your game — because you get more done — or to goout and play and risk maybe not playing well and taking another confidenceknock,” Westwood said. “So it’s very much in situations like that up to theindividual.

“Tiger has got to do what he feels is right, not what everybody else feelsis right.”

Meanwhile, another World Golf Championship in on the line. Woods used to ownthese events, winning 16 out of the first 30. Ernie Els is the defendingchampion, having held off fellow South African Charl Schwartzel a year ago.

Els spoke about the young players who are thriving now, and don’t have theemotional baggage of facing a decade of Woods at his best.

“I don’t think they will ever appreciate how good Tiger was back then,”Els said. “He could do it again. He’s just got to sort out the new swing again.He’s so mentally strong that he could well dominate again. But at that level,who knows?”

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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.