Cabrera to offer preview of Masters dinner

By Doug FergusonMarch 3, 2010, 2:00 am

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Defending Masters champion Angel Cabrera plans to give 100 friends who can’t attend the Champions Dinner a preview taste of what they will be missing.

Cabrera is hosting a “preview dinner” on March 29 at the Shadow Hawk Golf Club in Houston that will feature the menu– yes, plenty of meat from the Argentine– that former Masters champions will be sampling a week later at Augusta National.

“There’s not a golfer in the world who wouldn’t want to attend that dinner,” said Charlie Epps, his Houston-based swing coach.

It started with Cabrera wanting to raise money for his foundation, which he created two months before his 2007 U.S. Open victory at Oakmont. The foundation helps improve the quality for needy people in his hometown of Cordoba, including the welfare of caddies, and helps fund the local hospital.

“There’s so many fundraisers that we needed a new idea to get people excited,” Epps said.

Epps invited 100 associates who are paying $1,000 each to get a night with Cabrera, capped off with a dinner like no other. Ping, his longtime equipment sponsor, plans to bring its tour van so guests can test equipment (and receive a putter). Cabrera will conduct a clinic, give everyone an autographed Masters flag, and then the dinner bell rings.

On a conference call Tuesday, Cabrera was asked if he had given any thought to his menu at the Masters.

“There’s not a lot to think about,” he replied through a translator. “A good Argentine ‘asado.’ Some good beef.”

Epps said asado is a popular Argentine barbecue, and the menu will feature a five-meat course, including filets, short ribs and sausages, including one known as “morcilla.”

“There won’t be a lot of carbohydrates at this dinner,” said Epps, who grew up in Argentina.

There will be salad and bread to dip in a sauce that Cabrera will make himself, along with plenty of Argentine wine and music.

CAP AND GOWN: Ryo Ishikawa has shown poise and polish beyond his years in winning four times last year, along with his performance in the Match Play Championship. A reminder of his youth comes next week at Doral, which the 18-year-old Japanese golfer won’t play.

But the “bashful prince” has a good excuse: He’s graduating from high school.

Ishikawa, who won his first Japan Golf Tour event as a 15-year-old amateur, will go through his graduation ceremony from Suginami Gakuin on March 8, the Monday of the World Golf Championship.

BARTLETT AWARD: Ernie Els has been selected to receive the Charlie Bartlett Award from the Golf Writers Association of America for unselfish contributions to society.

The three-time major champion for more than a decade has been helping South African children from families of limited means get access to education and golf opportunities. Those kids include Louis Oosthuizen and James Kamte, each of whom played in majors last year.

Els has received more notoriety of late with the Els for Autism Foundation and the Els Center for Excellence. He has become a passionate advocate for autism since his 7-year-old son, Ben, was diagnosed as a toddler. He and his wife, Leizl, are trying to raise $30 million for the center in West Palm Beach, Fla., which will combine education, therapy and research for autistic children.

Els will be honored April 7 in Augusta, Ga., at the GWAA annual awards dinner.

RICKIE ON THE RISE: Rickie Fowler earned $875,431 on the West Coast Swing and achieved the first goal of his rookie season by securing his PGA Tour card for next year.

The next step is getting into a World Golf Championship. Fowler, who is playing the Honda Classic this week, is No. 13 in the FedEx Cup standings and would need to finish no worse than ninth to crack the top 10 in the standings and get into Doral.

His first trip to Augusta National is a little tougher. Fowler’s only chance at the Masters would be to win a PGA Tour event or to get into the top 50 in the world ranking after the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Fowler is at No. 77, but his divisor will remain at the minimum 40 tournaments. He is assured of getting into Bay Hill because of the FedEx Cup standings.

RESHUFFLE: PGA Tour rookie Brian Stuard is in the Honda Classic. Jay Williamson is not. Both can attribute that to the West Coast Swing, in which Stuard did enough right to move up from No. 39 to No. 5 in the priority list of Q-School and Nationwide grads.

The list was reshuffled heading to the Florida Swing, with Rickie Fowler leading the list. He is followed by Alex Prugh, who had three consecutive top-10s to move up from No. 30.

The reshuffle gives those players better chances of getting into tournaments at the Honda Classic, Transitions Championship at Innisbrook and the Houston Open before the next reshuffle.

Williamson started out at No. 21 and fell 13 spots, leaving him as the second alternate at the Honda Classic.

LPGA GROWING: The LPGA now has 25 official tournaments on its 2010 schedule, up from 23 at the start of the year. The latest addition is the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, to be held Oct. 22-24 at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.

The Malaysian event ideally kicks off the fall version of its Far East swing. It will be held one week before the LPGA China, with the Mizuno Classic in Japan a week later. The China tournament still doesn’t have a sponsor or a golf course and was not held a year ago.

The LPGA Malaysia will be a 60-player field (50 from the LPGA money list) with no cut over 54 holes. That means both tournaments added this year– the other is the Match Play Championship in New Jersey– have limited fields.

FINAL WORD: “Obviously, I want Tiger to be there. He’s the best. When he’s there, he makes tournaments special.”– Masters champion Angel Cabrera when asked if he would like to see Tiger Woods at Augusta National this year.

Getty Images

McCoy earns medalist honors at Q-School

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Tour Q-School.

McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

Getty Images

Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.



Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."

Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.