Notes Fowler explains Ryder Cup selection Cog Hills new greens
The 21-year-old is the first captain’s pick without a PGA Tour victory. And he is the first PGA Tour rookie to play for the U.S. team. But upon hearing how he was chosen, Fowler certainly doesn’t feel as though he stands out.
Fowler revealed Wednesday that in the final hours of the decision, captain Corey Pavin was taking the pulse of every assistant captain and every player. Whatever the process, Fowler was chosen.
“What was cool about the whole situation is that Corey brought in all the assistants and all the team members to basically help him pick the last four guys,” Fowler said. “Which I thought was pretty cool because it makes the player … well, the players basically pick their own team in a way. Obviously, Corey makes the final decision.”
Oddly enough, Fowler was having dinner with Bubba Watson when Pavin was making the rounds through text message. Fowler didn’t realize until later that Watson was punching away on his keys in text messages to the captain.
“They were basically voting and spending that time picking the final guys on the team,” Fowler said. “So he’s sitting across the table from me while the whole team is deciding what’s going on.”
Fowler later showed his youth.
Instead of pacing the floor in his room waiting for the phone to ring, he was playing video games of dirt bikes with his father.
“It’s a great way to kill time on the road,” Fowler said.
No doubt, the kid is relieved to have made the team, although he figured there would have been more chances. How to celebrate?
“I am going to get a little haircut,” Fowler said. “It’s getting a bit long for me right now.”
COG HILL GREENS: Rees Jones renovated Cog Hill two years ago with hopes the public course could land a U.S. Open. The changes didn’t stop Tiger Woods from a fifth victory last year, just like Jones’ work at Torrey Pines hasn’t stopped Woods from winning in San Diego.
“It’s more cosmetic than anything else, especially off the tees,” Woods said. “I’m still playing to the same areas. Going into the greens is definitely much more difficult than it used to be.”
Steve Stricker also noticed a change in the greens, although he didn’t offer much in the way of a compliment.
“I think the greens are the biggest adjustment,” he said. “I think visually, it looks great from the tee. The greens, on the other hand, are somewhat different, to put it nicely. He’s got a characteristic about them that I don’t really care for. But that’s just my personal feeling. The green complexes are pretty difficult.”
The putting surfaces themselves are also getting the players’ attention. Woods referred to them as “spotty,” which he would attribute to the strain of grass (bent), the time of year (summer) and recent rains.
“It does affect the putts, no doubt,” Woods said. “We’re all going to have to deal with it. It’s been a pretty hot summer, and with a hot summer, bentgrass greens get a little bit stressed.”
VERPLANK’S EFFORT: Stephen Ames had to play in a twosome the opening two rounds of The Players Championship because of a 145-man field. He finds out Thursday whether he plays by himself.
Ames is paired with Scott Verplank, who was on his way to Chicago on Wednesday night with hopes of playing.
Verplank’s left wrist hurts so much that he withdrew from the second round of the Deutsche Bank Championship when he no longer could grip the club through his swing. “If I can’t hit it straight, I’m not any good,” he said.
The plan was to take time off to let it heal -- but that was before a late sequence of events enabled Verplank to fall only to No. 70 in the FedEx Cup standings and qualify for the BMW Championship.
He took a cortisone shot about an hour after the Boston event ended, then had the MRI on Tuesday.
“No bad structural damage,” Verplank said in a text message. “Not in any immediate danger. This week is totally up to me and how much I can put up with it.”
There are no alternates in the playoffs, so even if he can’t make it, Verplank won’t be depriving someone a spot in the field. And he’ll still collect his $110,000 bonus for reaching the top 60 in the FedEx Cup.
DIVOTS: Slightly more than half of the players at Cog Hill—36 out of 70— are Americans. … Andres Romero missed a birdie putt on the final hole at the TPC Boston and figured his playoff run was over. Instead, the Argentine who began the playoffs at No. 115 managed to crack the top 70 (68th) and gets another shot at reaching the Tour Championship. The only other players who started outside the top 100 and made it to the BMW Championship are Kevin Streelman (No. 102 to No. 26) and Tiger Woods (No. 112 to No. 51). … Steve Stricker and Matt Kuchar are tied in the race for the Vardon Trophy with an adjusted scoring average of 69.61.
Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son
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.
Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?
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
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.
Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational
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.