Finchem, Tour happy with schedule possibilities

By Doug FergusonNovember 6, 2011, 7:44 pm

SHANGHAI – The PGA Tour no longer is looking for new tournaments in Asia as it considers revamping the schedule so that a new season would start in the fall after the FedEx Cup is over.

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said Sunday that if players approve the idea of a fall start to the season, then it would be easy to give the HSBC Champions equal status as the other three World Golf Championships. That would include making prize money official.

That would give the PGA Tour two Asia stops - the Asia Pacific Classic in Malaysia and the HSBC Champions - which Finchem feels is adequate combined with the domestic tournaments.

The earliest a fall start could happen is 2013, and Finchem said much of that depends on a player meeting in January at Torrey Pines and the next policy board meeting in March.

“We have a combination set of changes in front of the players that would relate to restructuring the Nationwide Tour and maybe restarting the season in the fall,” Finchem said. “If we go down that road, it makes it a lot easier. And that’s the road I’d like to go down.”

Tour officials have been studying a concept that would merge top Nationwide Tour players with PGA Tour players who fail to qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs. They would play their own series of events to determine who gets Tour cards for the following season, while qualifying school would offer Nationwide Tour cards.

If that happens, a new season could start with what is now the Fall Series, and it would include Malaysia and Shanghai. Both tournaments would offer official money and FedEx Cup points toward the following year.

“There are issues with it,” Finchem said. “The players need to support us. We have some work to do, although I don’t know of anyone who has huge problems with the specifics. But, change is change.”

HSBC is troubled that the PGA Tour does not consider it the same as the three WGC events in America. At the moment, the HSBC Champions only counts as official if a PGA Tour member wins, and even then it doesn’t count toward a money list.

Finchem said HSBC could still get full status even if the Nationwide idea is rejected.

“We have options even if we don’t go down that path with the structure of the tournament and what it means,” Finchem said. “We’ve looked at official money in the past. It’s just cleaner if we get everything done under the FedEx umbrella.

Finchem’s appearance in Shanghai two years ago raised speculation that he was looking to stake out an already crowded territory. Some referred to it as his “Asian invasion.” Finchem was on an 18-day trip through China, South Korea and Japan.

Now, however, he says two tournaments should be enough.

Asked if he were actively looking for a new tournament in Asia, Finchem replied, “No.”

“But we’re entertaining people who want to talk to us about it,” he said. “Right now, we feel like we have a game plan that’s a really good schedule. You never know, so you always want to know what’s available.”

As for the Asia Pacific Classic, Finchem said the field likely would be expanded if it were an official event. Bo Van Pelt won two weeks ago against a 47-man field, with 35 of them on the PGA Tour. He said the field still would be small compared with other PGA Tour events because of the weather.

“We’re getting good support for the guys wanting to play, which is a factor,” he said. “You need demand from the players, and that seems to be there.”

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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.