Notes: Harmon giving golf going-away present

By Doug FergusonMay 15, 2012, 9:56 pm

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Butch Harmon turns 69 this summer, and he's ready to cut back on how much he works. In his last major effort, he has published what amounts to a lifetime as a swing coach.

No, he's not writing a book.

Harmon has produced 57 chapters and four hours of instruction on DVD that offer more than 250 tips. Harmon hopes it can help everyone who plays, from seniors to women to juniors to players who aspire to make a living on tour.

''I've done other DVDs in the past, but this was going to be the last big thing I was going to do,'' Harmon said. ''I wanted to do something with a lot of substance for everybody. The game plan was smaller than it turned out, but as I got into it, I just wanted to be able to touch every golfer. We literally went through the gamut of everything that could happen to you when you play golf.''

What might set this DVD apart is that Harmon managed to get most of the players he has worked with over the years to talk about their time together - Phil Mickelson, Greg Norman, Ernie Els, Adam Scott, Nick Watney and yes, Tiger Woods.

''Nobody balked,'' Harmon said. ''The only one I was sad I couldn't get was Jose Maria (Olazabal), but he just wasn't in the States last year.''

Harmon said he is not technical by nature, and he talks on video the way he would if he were on the practice range.

As for retirement, Harmon refers mostly to his work at Sky Sports as a commentator. He doesn't want to travel as much, especially after his son gets out of high school and heads off to college.

''I'm tired,'' Harmon said. ''When you get tired, your attention span isn't as good as it used to be. I'm a workaholic. I put 110 percent effort into everything. Once I get to the point where I don't care, it's not good. I'm not there yet, but it's coming.''

But his pupils are safe. Harmon currently works with Mickelson, Watney, Dustin Johnson, Gary Woodland and Natalie Gulbis. They don't need to find a replacement.

''I'll never step away,'' Harmon said. ''I'll always teach. I love to teach.''


WHAT'S IN A NAME: Sunghoon Kang, who made an 8-foot birdie putt on the last hole of the last tournament to keep his PGA Tour card last year, quietly altered his name the last two weeks without much notice.

He now is Sung Kang.

What happened to the last part of his first name?

''It's hard for you guys to say it,'' he told a group of reporters at Sawgrass. ''You guys didn't even try to say it right, so I changed it for you guys.''

He could have used initials like K.J. Choi or S.Y. Noh, or even K.T. Kim. Kang, however, thought that might be a problem.

''Then you guys would say, 'Shhhhh,''' he said with a laugh.

Despite not going to college, Kang has become proficient in English. He said he used to come to the U.S. as a teenager to train for a few weeks in the winter and summer. Most of his time was spent in Dallas with the Hank Haney group.

Asked if he ever bought cowboy boots, Kang must have misunderstood.

''No,'' he said. ''I'm a Lakers fan.''


IMG CHANGES: About the only disruption for Luke Donald this year is off the course.

His agent, Jon Wagner, was among three employees who left IMG two weeks ago. Golfweek magazine reports this week that two of his clients, Trevor Immelman and Sean O'Hair, also have left IMG. Donald remains with IMG, as his contract does not expire until the end of 2013. His business affairs will be managed by Jon Heaton, whose clients include Steve Stricker.

Meanwhile, Golfweek reported that IMG Worldwide was granted a temporary restraining order to keep Wagner from recruiting IMG employees, clients or prospects. A hearing is scheduled this week to decide if it should be permanent.

A year ago, Mark Steinberg left IMG as head of the golf division when he could not reach an agreement on a new contract. He took Tiger Woods with him to Excel Sports Management, though Stricker and Annika Sorenstam stayed put.

The magazine cited sources in reporting that IMG's staff of player reps has dwindled from 40 employees to 13 in the last 12 years.


CVS CHARITY CLASSIC: Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa return to competition next month for the CVS Caremark Charity Classic, the two-day event hosted by Brad Faxon and Billy Andrade that has raised more than $15 million for New England charities.

The two retired stars will have some LPGA company June 17-19 at Rhode Island Country Club. They will be joined by Yani Tseng, the five-time major champion and No. 1 in women's golf, and Lexi Thompson. Organizers say Juli Inkster, out all year recovering from elbow surgery, also plans to play.

Among the male players are Mark Calcavecchia, Corey Pavin and Peter Jacobsen.


DIVOTS: Paul Lawrie is making his 500th career start on the European Tour when he plays in the World Match Play Championship this week in Spain. He is the 22nd member to join the ''500 Club,'' and for his efforts, he received an engraved ice bucket from the tour. The record for most starts is Sam Torrance at 706. ... Angel Cabrera had a good week - the son of the two-time major champion, anyway. Angel Cabrera Jr. was among 67 players who earned cards on the Canadian Tour at qualifying school. ... Now that he is in the World Golf Hall of Fame, Sandy Lyle can play in full-field tournaments on the Champions Tour. He previously had limited status. ... Pierre Bechmann of France will be captain of The Royal & Ancient Golf Club starting in September. He is the first captain from continental Europe.


STAT OF THE WEEK: Ben Curtis has earned $2,096,730 in his last four tournaments. That's more than the $2,035,126 he made from 2009-2011 combined.


TWEET OF THE WEEK: ''Between Na's routine, Barkley's swing and my speech, we would make one hell of a threesome.'' – Sophie Gustafson, LPGA player with a severe stutter.


FINAL WORD: ''If there had never been a Tiger Woods, there's no telling how many tournaments Phil Mickelson or Ernie Els would have won. But there is a Tiger Woods.'' – Butch Harmon, who has worked with all three of them.

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.