Let the hype begin: Tiger, Romo and Pebble

By Doug FergusonJanuary 17, 2012, 9:26 pm

HONOLULU - Ollie Nutt can’t recall how long it has been since there was so much interest and speculation in the field for the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am - and that was after Tiger Woods announced he was playing.

Woods is set to play with Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, although the pro-am pairings aren’t set until Feb. 7, the Tuesday of tournament week. Nutt, president and CEO of the Monterey Peninsula Foundation, said the tournament has been in touch with Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, and hopes to hear by the end of the week if he will accept an invitation to play.

Also expected to play is Tom Brady, who hopes to get New England back into the Super Bowl, which would be played the Sunday before the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

Nutt can more easily measure the interest in ticket sales than phone calls.

“This last week, after Tiger committed, we’re up 35 percent,” Nutt said Tuesday after hosting the tournament’s media day. “I think Saturday could be a sellout. We’ve been hitting 34,000, 35,000. We’ve set the maximum at 37,500, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we sold out. We won’t go more than that. We still want the spectators to have a good experience. And with the rotation of three courses, we know we can handle that number.”

Pebble regular and “Caddyshack” star Bill Murray stole the spotlight last year when he teamed with D.A. Points, who captured his first PGA Tour event. For now, the focus has shifted to Tiger and the quarterbacks.

Nutt said Romo and Woods have said they were interested in playing as partners. As for the speculation that Tebow would join the foursome if he played, Nutt said, “I don’t see that as likely.”


NAME GAME: You’ve heard stories about players who take time off and move up in the world ranking. How about the case of Michael Thompson, who moved up 52 spots after not playing one week?

It’s a true story - although it’s the product of confusion over his middle initial.

Thompson was coming off a rookie season on the PGA Tour in which he finished 98th on the money list to easily retain his card. He played in the inaugural Thailand Golf Championship at the end of the year and finished third behind Lee Westwood and Charl Schwartzel. When he looked at the world ranking, he actually dropped two spots to No. 183.

“I got back from Thailand and saw that I got no points,” Thompson said.

He called his agent, and before long the Tour and world ranking board were involved.

Thompson played his first PGA Tour-sanctioned event at the 2008 Masters, the year after he was runner-up in the U.S. Amateur. Because there already was a Michael Thompson in the ranking archives, he was assigned “X” as his middle initial. This is a common practice. He played the Masters, U.S. Open and Traveler’s Championship in 2008 as an amateur, and he tied for 28th in his pro debut that fall in the Texas Open.

When he earned his card, the tour entered him in the system using his proper initial - “H” for Hayes.

But the Michael X. Thompson remained in the system and was awarded the 12.8 points for a third-place finish at Thailand that should have gone to Michael H. Thompson.

There was no golf played the following week, but in the final world ranking of 2011, the points were restored, and Michael H. Thompson had gone from No. 183 to No. 131.


CITIZEN CARL: Carl Pettersson started his 10th season on the PGA Tour with a minor change: He’s now an American citizen.

He moved from Sweden to England when he was 10, then to North Carolina while still in high school. His father was an executive for Volvo. Pettersson never left, however. He played golf at North Carolina State, married a local girl, and settled in Raleigh to raise a family.

“I’ve been here for 20 years. My kids were born here. My wife is American,” Pettersson said. “I haven’t lived in Sweden since I was 10. I just wanted to do it because of my kids. And I feel American. It’s hard to say that because I know I was born in Sweden. But I played junior golf here, went to high school here.”

Pettersson said the process included fingerprints, a background check and a history test.

“And I got 100 on that, which I was proud of,” he said. “They had questions like when the Declaration of Independence was written, and some questions about the Constitution. I crammed it all in the night before, memorized it and then forgot it.”


POLICY BOARD: Ben Crane, Harrison Frazar and Scott Verplank are the nominees to be chairman of the Players Advisory Council. Voting lasts for about a month. The chairman eventually joins the policy board.

They are part of a 16-man PAC that was announced Tuesday. The other players are Stewart Cink, Jason Day, Ken Duke, Charley Hoffman, Matt Kuchar, Joe Ogilvie, Carl Pettersson, Justin Rose, Patrick Sheehan, Webb Simpson, Chris Stroud, Bo Van Pelt and Mark Wilson.


DIVOTS: The minor changes the world ranking board approved in 2010 now are complete. The new season began with 52 being the maximum tournaments that count as the divisor. … Johnson Wagner and Harrison Frazar were the only players to start the season with top 10s in the two Hawaii tournaments. … Only five winners of the Sony Open did not play at Kapalua the previous week in the 14 years since the Tournament of Champions moved to Maui. … Tom Pernice Jr. played the final round at Waialae with Kevin Chappell, who wasn’t even born when Pernice first played the Sony Open in 1986.


STAT OF THE WEEK: Steve Stricker has played the week after winning a PGA Tour event eight times in his career. His only finish in the top 10 was a tie for ninth in 2007 Deutsche Bank Championship.


FINAL WORD: “The PGA Tour, I mean, it’s the Nationwide on steroids.” - Jhonattan Vegas.

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.