A big week for Woods between majors

By Doug FergusonJuly 1, 2010, 2:26 am
2010 AT&T NationalNEWTON SQUARE, Pa. – Tiger Woods will look to build some momentum ahead of the British Open when he defends his AT&T National title, beginning Thursday.

The tournament falls between two of the biggest events on Woods’ golfing calendar – the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach and the British Open at St. Andrews, his favorite golf course in the world. Woods tied for fourth at the U.S. Open with a spotty performance. He matched a tournament-low 66 in the third round to get into contention, only to close with a 75.

Even so, it was his best week since he tied for fourth at the Masters.

“Things are starting to come around, which is nice to see,” Woods said. “It’s just a matter of getting more and more consistent with what I’m working on and putting together better rounds.”

His game remains something of a mystery. Another mystery is the course.

The AT&T National, where Woods no longer is the official host, is taking a two-year hiatus from Congressional Country Club, which is preparing to host the U.S. Open next year.

It found a welcome vacation home in Aronimink, which originally was designed by Donald Ross and once hosted premier championships. This is where Gary Player won his first PGA Championship in 1962, by one shot over Bob Goalby.

Aronimink was supposed to hold the PGA Championship in 1993 until the Shoal Creek episode led the PGA of America to demand its golf courses have minority members. Aronimink, which had an all-white membership, gave up the chance to host another major. It did not have a black member until 1998, and now the club says it has multiple minority and female members.

It is a course with sharp changes in elevation and bends in the fairways, relatively large greens and minimal water. It is not a classic Ross course from redesigns over the years, yet it has a storied history.

And while the rough has been minimal on the PGA Tour this year, especially with the shallow grooves now required, this rough is nearly as thick as players found two weeks ago at Pebble Beach.

“I’m probably taken back by its difficulty,” said Jim Furyk, who played junior golf in the Philadelphia area. “I think it’s a very tough golf course. It’s tough to get the ball in the fairways. They’re pitched at a lot of angles. You have to work the ball well off the tee. The greens are very big, but are cut up into smaller sections. There’s a lot of slope, a lot of undulation, and they’re already quite firm.”

Walking down the fairway on the 605-yard ninth hole during his pro-am round Wednesday, Woods wondered aloud what kind of score it would take to win. The forecast is for sunshine throughout the week, and without wind, any course is vulnerable. He also noticed, however, that the greens already were firm enough for the ball to bounce instead of sticking where it lands.

“This is a golf course that has hosted major championships,” Woods said. “There’s no reason we can’t play it tough.”

More than the course, the AT&T National marks a return to the Philadelphia area for the first time since 2002, the final year of the short-lived Pennsylvania Classic held that year at Waynesborough Country Club. Based on the gallery earlier in the week, and the crowd that gathered around tee boxes and greens for Woods’ pro-am group, they are expecting a big week.

“We have great confidence it’s going to be a very successful event,” PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said. “We’re back here next year, and after that, we’ll look for opportunities. But certainly, this is a market we’d like to play longer term.”

Woods won last year at Congressional with a 13-under 267, outlasting Anthony Kim in the final group and holding off a late charge from Hunter Mahan. Neither of them are here this week, as Kim recovers from thumb surgery and Mahan withdrew.

It is not nearly as strong a field as some other events, such as the Memorial or Quail Hollow Championship, as the European Tour returns to the continent and players gear up for the British Open.

Even so, it has attracted Furyk and Dustin Johnson, Vijay Singh and Davis Love III, Lucas Glover and Sean O’Hair, who makes his home in the Philadelphia area and recently joined Aronimink.

While he no longer is the host, Woods still took part in the opening ceremonies, which featured Bon Jovi. He says he is still working hard “behind the scenes,” as proceeds benefit the Tiger Woods Foundation.

Most of the work, however, is on his game.

He has played only 17 rounds on the PGA Tour this year, not returning to competition until the Masters after five months of coping with the fallout from extramarital affairs. He has only two top 10s, both coming in the majors. He has posted consecutive rounds in the 60s only once this year, at the Memorial, where he was never a factor.

The circumstances have changed, but this is the longest stretch Woods has gone without winning at the start of a season since 2002.

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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.