Woods Top Seed in Match Play
Bob May is not in the field yet, but his chances improved Monday when Jose Coceres of Argentina had to withdraw because of a broken arm. Thomas Bjorn of Denmark previously withdrew to rest an ailing shoulder.
The original 64-man field was determined by the world rankings published Monday.
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Woods, who has been No. 1 since winning the 1999 PGA Championship at Medinah, will be seeded first for the World Golf Championship event, which starts Feb. 20 at La Costa Resort in Carlsbad, Calif.
May is No. 67 in the rankings, and would get the 64th seed - and a first-round match against Woods - if Colin Montgomerie pulls out.
Montgomerie hurt his back three weeks ago in Australia, an injury that he originally feared might keep him out of the Masters.
A spokeswoman for IMG in London said Monday that Montgomerie has not decided whether to make the 10-hour flight for a tournament that could last only one round. Montgomerie has not made it past the second round in two previous tries.
If Montgomerie does enter the Match Play, Woods will face Peter O'Malley of Australia. Otherwise, it could be a rematch of one of the most captivating duels in Woods' career.
Having already won the U.S. Open by 15 strokes and the British Open by eight strokes, Woods got an unexpected fight from an unlikely contender at the 2000 PGA Championship. Woods had to birdie the last two holes in regulation to force a playoff with May. Woods won the three-hole playoff by one shot.
He went on to win the Masters eight months later to become the first player to sweep the four professional majors.
Coceres broke his arm playing soccer. He planned to return this week at the Nissan Open, but his agent said the arm was not healing quickly enough.
'It's not worth coming out here and hurting himself,' Robert Gutierrez said. He said Coceres, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour last year, likely would return at Bay Hill.
Woods is skipping the Nissan Open at Riviera, saying he has been sick for a couple of weeks and wants to get rested for the Match Play Championship.
It is the only PGA Tour-sanctioned event using this format, and one of Woods' favorite events that isn't a major.
'It's a fun week,' he said. 'It brings back what you used to do in junior golf and amateur golf, and we as pros miss that. You get a chance to play one-on-one. There's only a select time when we play match play, in the Ryder Cup and President's Cup.'
Phil Mickelson is seeded second, followed by David Duval and Sergio Garcia.
The first three Match Play events have shown that higher-seeded players do not have it much easier than anyone else. The highest-seeded winner was Darren Clarke, who was No. 19 when he defeated Woods in the final two years ago at La Costa.
Woods is the only top-10-seeded player to even reach the final.
'The last time I played, I got smoked in the finals,' Woods said of his 5 and 4 loss to Clarke. 'So, I'd like to at least do a little bit better than that.'
Two-time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen and Rory Sabbatini of South Africa played their way into the $5 million tournament.
Janzen started the season at No. 106, but rose to No. 63 this week after tying for fourth at Phoenix, fourth at Pebble Beach and 11th last week at San Diego. Sabbatini tied for fifth Sunday at San Diego and rose 11 spots to No. 61.
Also in the field is John Daly, who tied for fourth last week and moved up to No. 40. He will be playing in his first WGC event.
With Bjorn and Coceres already having withdrawn, the Match Play field will not have the top 64 players from the world ranking for the fourth straight year. Jumbo Ozaki of Japan skipped the first two events, and 28 top players passed on a trip to Australia last year.
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Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia
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
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.
Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?
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
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.