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Mickelson's brother to caddie; no longer Rahm's agent

By Doug FergusonDecember 1, 2017, 4:12 pm

NASSAU, Bahamas – Jon Rahm has a new agent in a move that means Phil Mickelson will keep his brother as his caddie.

Lagardere Sports announced Friday Tim Mickelson, Rahm's coach at Arizona State until leaving to become his agent at Lagardere, has made a full-time move to be on the bag for his brother next year.

Mickelson and Jim ''Bones'' Mackay parted ways this summer for 25 years, and Mickelson used his brother for the rest of the year. That gave Tim Mickelson two jobs at the seven tournaments that Rahm and Mickelson played - a caddie for the five-time major champion, the agent for one of golf's rising stars.

Rahm now will be represented by Steve Loy, the president of golf at Lagardere, with Jeff Koski in the U.S. and Jamie Evans in Europe handling most of the daily affairs.

''Coach Mickelson will always be important to me and has done many good things to support my career, and I wish him and Phil well in their new partnership,'' Rahm said in a statement. ''I am really excited to continue working with the team at Lagardere Sports and get the 2018 season underway.''

Koski was the first agent at Lagardere who recruited Rahm while he played for the Sun Devils.

Rahm, who graduated from Arizona State in four years despite not speaking English when he arrived on campus, turned pro last summer and earned his PGA Tour in just four tournaments. He won at Torrey Pines in January, and then added victories in the Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai last month.

That moved the 23-year-old Spaniard to No. 4 in the world.

He also challenged Dustin Johnson down the stretch in a pair of World Golf Championships, losing to him on the 18th hole in the final of Dell Match Play.

Mickelson has not won since the 2013 Open at Muirfield, though he extended a record last year by competing in his 24th consecutive team - Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup - for the Americans. He also last month became the only player to stay in the top 50 in the world ranking for 24 consecutive years.

Mickelson last played in the HSBC Champions, and he said then he was ''not far enough along'' in thinking about a caddie to discuss his plans.

Rahm starts the new year at Kapalua for the Sentry Tournament of Champions. Mickelson does not play until the CareerBuilder Challenge in the California desert. Mickelson said his health and outlook was still strong as he goes after two missing pieces from his career - a U.S. Open title that has kept him from the career Grand Slam, and a U.S. victory in the Ryder Cup on European soil.

The Ryder Cup is in France next year. Mickelson has qualified for every Ryder Cup team since 1995.

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.

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.