Maybe Its Time

By Brian HewittNovember 8, 2004, 5:00 pm
If only Vijay Singh had worked a little harder.
 
The official PGA Tour season, the one that counts on the money list, ended Sunday in Atlanta at East Lake Golf Club. And Vijay Singh, the No. 1 player in the world, finished ninth there at the Tour Championship.
 
That meant Singh would conclude the season with only $10,905,166 in official earnings. Yes, nobody made more money in 2004. Yes, it was an all-time single season record on anybodys Tour.
 
But maybe Singh should be ashamed of himself. He hit only a billion practice balls in 2004. If he had hit a trillion, he might have made 11 million dollars.
 
Maybe he will do better next year.
 
Maybe Tiger Woods, if he had looked a little harder, could have found a better looking wife.
 
Maybe Retief Goosen, if he hadnt gone jet skiing and hurt himself in the process, wouldnt have missed the PGA Championship. Maybe his current world ranking of No. 4 would be higher.
 
Maybe the so-called Silly Season has arrived just in time. Maybe its time we all take a few chill pills. Singh and Woods and Goosen have all done quite nicely on and off the golf course this year.
 
Singh got to be No. 1 in the world. Woods got married, happily so. Goosen got himself his second U.S. Open and a victory at East Lake when his Sunday 64 was eight shots better than Woods Sunday 72.
 
Maybe its time to savor a few things from 2004.
 
Fred Funk got himself a berth on the Ryder Cup team at the age of 48. Jay Haas did the same at the age of 50. Tom Lehman got himself appointed the next U.S. Ryder Cup captain at the age of 45.
 
Funk, by the way, won his seventh PGA Tour driving accuracy title Sunday when he hit 48 fairways last week to 47 for Scott Verplank. Funk arrived at East Lake with 76.9 percent accuracy percentage off the tee, Verplank showed up with a gaudy 76.8. Funk has finished in the top five in this category in 13 of his 16 years on Tour.
 
Maybe Tiger Woods, still struggling to find fairways, should be listening to Fred Funk.
 
Instead, the man who has Woods ear right now is Hank Haney, the longtime coach of Woods close friend Mark OMeara. Woods made it official on his own website recently that Haney had replaced Butch Harmon as his swing coach. This had been one of the worst-kept secrets in golf.
 
Tiger says Haney is helping. Ill take Tiger at his word on that. He would know.
 
A pair of teachers/advisors--Rick Smith and Dave Pelz--helped Phil Mickelson break through in 2004. Mickelson won his first major at the Masters in April and was a force in the other three, finishing no worse than sixth in the U.S. Open, the Open Championship and the PGA Championship.
 
All of which brings us back to Singh. The 41-year-old Fijian is largely his own coach. When it comes to golf, Singh is mostly home-schooled. This makes him a rarity at golfs top level. As they say on the television, dont try this at home.
 
Singh, an inward person, has turned even farther in that direction to find the answers that have helped him play with more sustained brilliance than anybody else right now.
 
Maybe we should take a step back and gasp. Maybe we need to work a little harder to appreciate what he has achieved at age 41.
 
Maybe its time to realize that 2005 in golf already is promising so much.
 
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt

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.