A fresh start for players young and old

By Doug FergusonJanuary 14, 2010, 5:16 am

2007 Sony OpenHONOLULU – John Daly couldn’t get past the front door, the best compliment he has had in years.

Daly has lost about 100 pounds in the last nine months through lap-band surgery. He received a sponsor’s exemption to the Sony Open, so he agreed to host the pro-am party Tuesday night at a Honolulu hotel along with Rich Beem.

Daly was late, although he had a good excuse.

“They wouldn’t let me in,” he said. “If I weighed 300 pounds and had four chins, I’d have no problem getting in. No one recognized me.”

Indeed, the two-time major champion has a new look for the new season.

The question is whether he has a new game.

A year after he was serving a six-month suspension from the PGA Tour, Daly has yet another chance this year. He already has received two sponsor’s exemption, is in Pebble Beach on his own, and said The Greenbrier Classic in August has offered him a spot. He turns 44 this year and feels more pressure to perform than when he was a rookie in 1991, when he won the PGA Championship at Crooked Stick as the ninth alternate to begin a wild ride.

“I feel a tremendous amount of pressure, not from my sponsors, but from myself,” said Daly, whose only status comes from being a past champion. “My goal is to get my card. If I make enough money, fine. If I win, fine. Just so I can finally set up 2011 with a schedule.”

Daly, however, isn’t alone.

The tropical warmth of Honolulu brings a renewed sense of optimism for young and old, for the four PGA Tour rookies who have never teed it up in the big leagues to guys like 50-year-old Tom Lehman, making his 467th career start.

The Sony Open, which starts Thursday, is the first full-field event of the PGA Tour season.

Among the newcomers is Brian Stuard, who went from the anguish of narrowly missing his card from the Nationwide Tour (No. 26 on the money list) to the thrill of earning it for the first time at Q-school.

Stuard was a little wide-eyed showing up at Waialae Country Club, for even though the Sony Open doesn’t attract massive crowds being on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, it’s still more than he has seen at a tournament.

“I’m trying to approach it like any other golf tournament,” Stuard said.

Then he went to his locker, which is right next to Vijay Singh. And when he headed to the practice range, he wound up hitting balls next to the Fijian, who already is in the World Golf Hall of Fame.

“That was a little different,” Stuard said. “Everything is just bigger.”

Paul Goydos can relate.

His rookie season was 1993. His first PGA Tour event was at Waialae. His first round was an 80.

“I felt completely intimidated,” Goydos said. “My chances of winning were zero, not even measurable. I was walking through the locker room on Monday and Davis Love was walking toward me and the guy looked about 12 feet tall. Hitting balls next to Payne Stewart, watching him hit the ball so good … it was silly. I was pretty intimidated in a sense that, ‘Am I really this good?”’

He started on the 10th hole, and the wind was blowing so hard that a short par 4 that typically requires a drive and a wedge made him reach for a 6-iron for his second shot. He could barely stand upright on the green. And when Goydos managed to two-putt for a par, he noticed a leaderboard through the palm trees on the opposite nine of the 18th fairway.

The leaders were at 9 under.

Goydos, who has won twice on the PGA Tour, was walking through the locker room on Monday. This time, he ran across 21-year-old Rickie Fowler. The first reaction? “Who’s kid is this,” Goydos said.

“He looks like he’s about 8 years old,” Goydos said. “He’s going to intimidate me in another way – youth.”

Twenty players at Waialae have one tournament in the books this year, having played at the winners-only SBS Championship at Kapalua. The winner, Geoff Ogilvy, headed home for Arizona to prepare for a trip around the world to Abu Dhabi.

The defending champion at the Sony Open is Zach Johnson.

Also in the field is Singh and Ernie Els, rare for them to play at Waialae without having qualified for Kapalua. Els has moved from London to Florida and plans to cut his travel this year, so he figured Hawaii wasn’t a bad place to start – not without having to arrange to travel to the Middle East during a global schedule like no other of this generation.

He turned 40 late last year and knows time is running out. The Big Easy hopes to prove his time is not up.

“When you have a love of the game, you still want to achieve things,” Els said. “The first week is still quite exciting. You look around this week at who might be doing what for the future of the tour. Players like myself, Retief (Goosen) … Phil (Mickelson) will be 40 this year. It’s like the sand in the hourglass is starting to run out. And we’d like to prove to everyone we still belong.”

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.

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.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.