Notes: Feeling like a rookie; Poulter is No. 1

By Doug FergusonJune 29, 2011, 12:27 am

NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. – In his second full year on the PGA Tour, Gary Woodland has reason to feel like a rookie for the rest of the season. That’s not a bad thing, either.

Woodland can count on as many as eight big events based on his good performance this year.

His first Tour victory at the Transitions Championship in March earned him a spot in the World Golf Championship at Firestone and the PGA Championship in August. It also helped him earn enough money to get into the British Open, and he has decided to prepare for links golf by playing next week in the Scottish Open at Castle Stuart.

After that is the FedEx Cup playoffs. He didn’t play well enough as a rookie to qualify for any of the four playoff events.

For the rest of the year, the only golf course he will have seen before is at The Greenbrier.

It starts on truly foreign turf. Not only has Woodland never played links golf, he’s never been to Britain. In fact, he’s never even traveled to Europe.

“I’ve been west, I’ve been south and north – but never east,” he said.

That’s why he signed up for the Scottish Open, which should be a treat.

“The closest links I’ve seen is probably Prairie Dunes in Kansas, which I guess is the most links we can get here in the United States,” he said of the Perry Maxwell design. “But I’m looking forward to getting over there. I grew up in the wind, I grew up in bad conditions playing in Kansas. Hopefully the conditions suit me pretty well, and I think we’ll be hitting that 2 iron quite a bit the next couple weeks.”

Woodland is ninth in the FedEx Cup standings. The goal now that he has a taste of it is to keep coming back for more.

“That’s what I’m here for. I’m here for the big events,” he said. “Obviously, world golf is the best players in the world. It’s great because I can take weeks off and prepare for that. I can get ready for that golf course. I’ve seen it on TV. But like I said, any time I can play against the best players in the world on the biggest stage, I’m looking forward to it.”


 

POULTER REACHES NO. 1: Ian Poulter once told a British magazine that when he reaches his full potential, it will be just him and Tiger Woods. Turns out the battle for No. 1 has come down to Poulter and Stewart Cink.

On Twitter.

Poulter posted a picture on Twitter this week showing that he and Cink had the same number of followers – 1,210,083. That was followed moments later by another tweet: “Here are the numbers now 1,210,086 just moved past Mr Cink.”

It’s all in good fun, but it’s still a big deal to Poulter.

Poulter was talking about the value of Twitter and social media in March, when a reporter mistakenly mentioned that when Poulter and Cink faced each other in match play, Cink (who won the match) picked up some 42,000 additional followers.

Poulter reacted as if he had just been disqualified for his marker moving on the green.

“No, he barely put on any,” Poulter protested. “He’s been on 1.2 million for the last year. I’m telling you. I look all the time. Honestly. I’ll pick it up right now. I’ll pull it up just to prove it to you.”

With that, he took out his mobile phone and called up Cink’s account.

Turns out Cink had only gained 79. Call it a verbal typo.

“Stewart always has been 1.2 million,” Poulter said. “I’ve slowly, slowly, slowly been creeping up on him.”

And he finally passed him. By late Tuesday afternoon, Poulter had 1,210,602 followers, while Cink had 1,210,039. The only other golfer close to them is Tiger Woods, who rarely tweets but had 1,031,065.

Cink, however, still has something on Twitter that Poulter has yet to match: A photo of his first drink from the claret jug.


 

BRITISH OPEN SPOTS: Only four spots remain for PGA Tour players to get into the British Open, with three spots available at the AT&T National this week at Aronimink.

Two players will be exempt through a special money list that started at The Players Championship and included the last five events through the AT&T National. Those likely will go to Hartford winner Fredrik Jacobson and Memphis winner Harrison Frazar. Both are over $1 million. Paul Goydos is third at $646,000, and likely would need a runner-up finish to pass Frazar.

After that, the leading player – not already exempt – from the top five at the AT&T National and the John Deere Classic next week will get into the British Open.

This is a big week in another respect. The next world ranking will be used as the alternate’s list. The highest-ranked players not already in the British Open are Webb Simpson and J.B. Holmes, separated by one spot (No. 57 and No. 58). Both are playing Aronimink. And there figures to be at least one spot available if Tiger Woods doesn’t play.


 

CADDIE FOR A CHAMPION: U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy is playing in the Irish Open, as expected, only there’s a twist. Those who buy tickets for the tournament, to be played July 28-31, will be able to enter a competition to be part of McIlroy’s pro-am team.

The winner also gets a room at a four-star hotel for two nights.


 

DIVOTS: The LPGA Tour has added a new tournament north of the border. The Manulife Financial LPGA Classic will start next year under a three-year agreement. It will be played June 21-24 at Grey Silo Golf Course in Waterloo, Ontario. … The two-year run of the AT&T National at Aronimink ends this year, with the tournament returning to Congressional the next three years. Before leaving, however, the Tiger Woods Foundation is starting a learning center in Philadelphia in conjunction with the KIPP DuBois Collegiate Academy. The program begins this fall and will serve ninth-grade students. … Among the players who have withdrawn from the AT&T National are Ernie Els, Heath Slocum, Fredrik Jacobson and Ben Crane.


 

STAT OF THE WEEK: The last 10 regular PGA Tour events have been decided by one shot or in a playoff.


 

FINAL WORD: “I don’t feel sorry for Rory having to bear that burden of expectations now.” – Justin Rose on whether it’s fair for the public to build up Rory McIlroy after his win at the U.S. Open.

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.