The Heart of the Season

By Brian HewittJune 29, 2005, 4:00 pm
It's that time of year in the golf season when the PGA Tour can have an exciting finish--Padraig Harrington makes two Sunday eagles to edge Jim Furyk at the Barclays Classic--and Harrington's win can, arguably, be the fifth most compelling story of the weekend.

In fact that's exactly what happened Sunday.

And its exactly why this is the most fun time of the year to follow golf. There is so much going on every week. With all due respect to Harrington's second Tour victory of the year, there were better stories last week.

Birdie Kim
Birdie Kim reacts after holing out on the 72nd hole to win the U.S. Women's Open.
Lead among them was the startling emergence of Korea's Birdie Kim, with her shocking bunker hole-out at Cherry Hills on the 72nd hole that won the U.S. Women's Open just when it looked like 17-year-old Morgan Perssel was about to steal 15-year-old Michelle's Wie's thunder after it became apparent that Wie wasn't going to steal 34-year-old Annika Sorenstam's Grand Slam thunder despite the fact that Wie was tied for the lead after 54 holes.

Kim now gets the last spot in the HSBC World Match Play this week. And Wie gets to ponder exactly what it was that caused her to shoot a closing 82. And, oh-by-the-way, she's got the John Deere Classic waiting for her next week after the men get finished with the Cialis Western Open Sunday.

Speaking of which, one of the players in the field at Cog Hill will be Illinois golf coach Mike Small. Small won the PGA Club Professional Championship in brutal conditions at the Ocean Course at Kiawah where designer Pete Dye says the course plays different every single day of the year. 'It's a moving golf course,' Dye says, referring to all the wind and sand that blows about at Kiawah.

Not bad for Small, a guy required to spend more time recruiting and coaching than working on his game. 'I was a little bit rusty starting out,' said Small, a two-time winner on the Nationwide Tour. But he worked out the kinks against some very good players.

Then there was more French farce from Jean Van de Velde, who led the field late in the Open de France Sunday near Paris before reminding us all over again what a tragicomic figure he is in golf. Van de Velde, you will remember, is the guy who made a triple bogey on the 72nd hole of The Open Championship at Carnoustie in 1999 before losing in a playoff to Paul Lawrie.

Van de Velde started dunking balls in the water again this time while handing the keys to victory over to Jean Paul Remesy.

Meanwhile, Mark McNulty, one of the best putters never to have gotten credit for it, captured a playoff on the Champions Tour by, guess what, making a crucial putt.

Morgan Pressel
Morgan Pressel wore her emotions on her sleeve Sunday at Cherry Hills.
And there you have it, a good case for ranking Harrington's victory No. 5 in golf's box office. Speaking of which, the TV ratings for Kim's victory were the highest on the LPGA Tour since 1997.

Wie, Pressel, Sorenstam, Paula Creamer (who triple bogeyed the 71st hole) and Lorena Ochoa (who quadruple-bogeyed the 72nd) will all be spending private moments wondering what went wrong at Cherry Hills. But they will all be back.

Until then there will be a major championship on one tour or another, almost non-stop, through the end of August.

This is the heart of the season in golf. A time during which you can work a full day, come home for dinner and go out for nine holes before darkness falls.

Its that time of the year in golf--the best time of the year.
 
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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.

Getty Images

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.