Divorce behind him Tiger back to golf
“I know he is going to go down as the best golfer who ever lived, and rightfully so,” Elin Nordegren, his ex-wife, says in an interview with People magazine. “I feel privileged to have witnessed a part of his golfing career.”
He’s not looking so great at the moment.
Still the No. 1 player in the world ranking – barely – Woods has not won in any of his nine tournaments this year, the longest he has ever gone without a victory. For more telling evidence of his game, look no further than the FedEx Cup standings.
Woods was the No. 1 seed the past three years. He starts the PGA Tour playoffs this time at No. 112, needing to have a decent tournament at The Barclays just to advance to the second round next week.
And perhaps the most telling of all? Because of his low seeding, he will be the first to tee off Thursday at Ridgewood Country Club.
Has that ever happened before?
“First off on Saturday and Sunday, yes,” Woods said, a joke that barely registered with the media. “But not the first two days.”
At some point, the focus will return almost exclusively to his golf.
Just not quite yet.
Nine months after he was caught in a web of infidelity, Woods and Nordegren divorced on Monday. It was announced through a press release from their lawyers, after a hearing that lasted no more than 10 minutes.
Ready to start a new chapter on Wednesday at Ridgewood, he was confronted with yet another story. Nordegren, in what she said will be her only interview, spent 19 hours over four visits with People magazine to give her side of this tale. It was short on details – exactly what happened that night after Thanksgiving that caused Woods to drive off in wee morning hours and crash into a tree, and how much he paid in the divorce settlement – and chock-full of heartfelt emotion.
“I’ve been through hell,” Nordegren said in the interview, which the magazine released about the time Woods teed off in his pro-am. “It’s hard to think you have this life, and then all of a sudden – was it a lie? You’re struggling because it wasn’t real. But I survived. It was hard, but it didn’t kill me.”
Woods spoke to the magazine, so this was no surprise.
The surprise came on the first hole of his pro-am, after he hit his approach to the green. Andrea Peyser, a New York Post columnist, walked out into the fairway with notepad and pen to ask him questions. She had never been to a golf tournament and was not aware that reporters were to stay by the ropes.
Later, he was asked about his ex-wife’s comments in the magazine interview.
“I wish her the best in everything,” Woods said. “You know, it’s a sad time in our lives. And we’re looking forward in our lives and how we can help our kids the best way we possibly can. And that’s the most important thing.”
The focus now shifts to his golf, and Woods indicated as much by saying, “This is my job. This is what I do.”
Gone are the days when practice and even some tournament rounds ended with a phone call from lawyers, or a divorce document that had to be approved. Among the more telling details from divorce papers made public were that he signed the marital settlement agreement on the weekend of the AT&T National outside Philadelphia.
Woods handled questions about his golf swing and his divorce in equal fashion, but on one question he was succinct. He was asked to describe how the divorce process had affected his preparations for golf.
“It was a lot more difficult than I was letting on,” said.
Hard work remains. In the first year of the FedEx Cup playoffs, Woods didn’t even bother playing in The Barclays. That was in 2007, when he was playing so well that he could spot the field one tournament and still win the $10 million prize, and he did just that.
He also missed in 2008, this time with knee surgery, when the tournament was played at Ridgewood. It’s a Tillinghast course, traditional and tree-lined, and Woods had never seen it until his pro-am round Wednesday.
He seemed to hit the ball well enough and was pleased with the shape of some of his shots. The trouble for him all year, however, has been taking the same game from practice to a real round. That’s what awaits on Thursday.
Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge
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
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.