Notes: Beem heading to Europe

By Doug FergusonApril 24, 2012, 11:53 pm

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - One of the perks Rich Beem received for winning the 2002 PGA Championship at Hazeltine was a 10-year exemption on the European Tour.

He never used it because he didn't need it - until now.

Beem's only status on the PGA Tour is as a past champion, and sponsor exemptions have been limited. In the last year of his exemption in Europe, he took up membership and is having more fun than he imagined.

''Every year, my agent asked me if I wanted to use my exemption,'' Beem said Tuesday from his home in Austin, Texas, where he had a week off before leaving for Spain. ''I didn't have a use for it. I was exempt over here, I wanted to be over here. I wish now I had taken a harder look at it, because I've played some amazing courses and I've loved every minute of it.''

The results could use some work.

Beem missed the cut in his first three events - the Joburg Open, Andalucia Open and the Hassan Trophy in Morocco - before he tied for 11th two weeks ago in Italy at the Sicilian Open. He plays the Spanish Open next week, then gears up for a monster schedule - seven tournaments in eight weeks in which he will play in England, Wales, Sweden, Germany, Ireland, France and Scotland.

He would rather be in America on the PGA Tour for the obvious reasons.

''At the end of the day, you look at what's more convenient and where the money is,'' he said. ''But I love it on the European Tour. It's been nothing short of fantastic.''

There have been some adjustments.

The events he has played in continental Europe are not among the top events, and thus the galleries have been a bit sparse.

''I saw more people Tuesday in Hilton Head than the entire two weeks in Europe,'' he said. ''That's no knock on them. The places we played were great, but it's hard to get to them. And there are adjustments with the travel. It's not like hopping on Southwest Airlines. When guys miss the cut, they tend to stick around for a couple of days. Over here, we spend $100 on a change fee and go home.''

He figures that will change when Europe gets to the meat of its schedule this summer, and every tournament is no more than a short flight from London.

Beem isn't sure where this will lead. The worst-case scenario is that he tries to go through two stages of PGA Tour qualifying school and tries to get his card back. Or, he could play great and work his way back toward the top 50 in the world.

His last trip was two weeks. The next one will be a one-week stay in Spain. Beem was intending to play the following week at Madeira Island in Portugal until word of the airport made him skeptical.

''They said, 'If you land on the first try, it's a mistake.' And I said, 'You know what, I think I'll come home that week,''' he said.


AMAZING GRACE: Branden Grace started the year at No. 271 in the world, fresh off getting his European Tour card through qualifying school. Four months later, he already is a three-time winner.

''If I think back now to last year and playing on the Challenge Tour and just trying to get back to the main tour and really just trying to make a living, it was tough at points,'' Grace said. ''So to be here with three wins is amazing. I wouldn't have thought I would have been top 70 in the world.''

The 23-year-old from South Africa is only the second player in European Tour history to win three times in the season after Q-school. The other was Johan Edfors in 2006. Grace joined even more exclusive company. Only two other players have won three times in one season at a younger age - Seve Ballesteros (three times) and Sandy Lyle.


U.S. OPEN MEMORIES: Matt Kuchar returns to The Olympic Club in June for the U.S. Open, where in 1998 he tied for 14th. Kuchar turned 20 during the final round, so it would seem a return to Olympic would bring back warm memories.

Then again, this is the U.S. Open.

''I can remember walking off the course at Olympic Club and just being dead tired after my rounds at the U.S. Open,'' Kuchar said. ''And I remember my rounds at the Masters feeling like I was walking on clouds, feeling like I had so much fun I didn't want the round to end. At Olympic Club, I was more, 'Boy, I'm glad this round is over with. I don't know if I can take any more punishment.'''

Kuchar has not been on the Lake Course since 1998, even though he has been to San Francisco numerous times. The one time he tried to go to Olympic, the course was being renovated for the U.S. Open. He has no plans to see the course before the next major.


DIVOTS: David Duval made his first cut of the year on the PGA Tour at the Texas Open. He had missed the cut in his opening seven tournaments. ... Frank Lickliter tied for 13th at the Texas Open, his highest finish on the PGA Tour since he tied for 13th in the 2008 Byron Nelson Championship, a span of 56 tournaments and nearly four years. ... Despite good weather, the Texas Open featured a two-tee start in the final round because the TPC San Antonio was playing difficult and officials were not sure how long it would take to finish. Ben Curtis holed the winning putt at 6:02 p.m. EDT. ... The Humana Challenge produced more than $2 million in charitable proceeds, while the Humana Foundation contributed an additional $500,000 from its ''Walkit Challenge'' program.


STAT OF THE WEEK: Sean O'Hair leads the PGA Tour career money list among players under 30. He has made $16.2 million. O'Hair turns 30 in July.


FINAL WORD: ''Some people take a big leap forward, but slowly going forward is not a bad idea.'' - Bubba Watson.

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.