Notes: Judging Tiger's progess; Money title

By Doug FergusonOctober 11, 2011, 9:55 pm

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – For a snapshot of where Tiger Woods’ game is at the moment, consider the Frys.com Open. It was the first time in more than 12 years that he played all four rounds of a full-field tournament and failed to earn any world ranking points.

One reason is he tied for 30th, recovering from a bad start with three rounds of 68. A larger reason is the field at CordeValle was the third-strongest in golf last week - behind the Madrid Masters and Korea Open - that it only doled out points to the top 29 players.

It was only the 10th time in his career that Woods played an entire tournament without getting world ranking points.

The most recent occasion was last year at Firestone, with a limited field, when he tied for 78th out of 80 players. Otherwise, go all the way back to his tie for 56th at the 1999 Bay Hill Invitational for the last time Woods went four rounds and received no points (he also was shut out at the International that summer, but failed to qualify for the final round).

So what does it mean?

In the short term, he dropped to No. 52 in the world and will remain out of the top 50 for at least five more weeks until he plays the Australian Open, which is shaping up to have a strong field.

In the long term? That’s more difficult to gauge.

He said his goal last week in the Fall Series event was to win, although that was his goal when he made his pro debut at the Greater Milwaukee Open in 1996 and tied for 60th. Woods also said he made progress, that he “got better every day.”

Indeed, there was a stretch of about four or five holes on Friday and Sunday when Woods produced some palpable energy with his golf, only to settle into mediocrity and lose his momentum. Even so, he finished 10 shots out of the lead.

In the seven stroke-play tournaments that he finished this year, the closest Woods came to winning was at the Masters, where he wound up four shots behind Charl Schwartzel. Other than that, he was never closer than seven shots of the winner (Dubai, Bay Hill) and CordeValle was the third time he was at least 10 shots out of the lead.

Not even Woods was sure where he was.

“It’s getting there,” he said. “It’s a process. I don’t know what the end is. That’s one of those things when the career is all said and done, then you know. But I’m in the midst of it, and I know I’m getting better, and that’s the tough part.”


CHASING THE MONEY (TITLE): Webb Simpson will have to finish in at least 15th place alone at the McGladrey Classic to earn enough money to move past Luke Donald atop the PGA Tour money list.

Simpson is $68,971 behind and decided to add another tournament with hopes of winning the money title.

The money title is important to Donald because he has a chance to become the first player to lead the money list on the PGA Tour and European Tour in the same season. Players have to be members of both tours to be counted on the money list.

Donald can see why it’s important to Simpson, too.

Winning the money title on the PGA Tour comes with a five-year exemption. Even though Simpson has won twice this year and now is exempt for the next three years, a year ago he didn’t have his card locked up until the Fall Series.

“So for someone this time last year who was struggling to keep his card, that might be very appealing,” Donald said a few weeks ago.

Donald, meanwhile, hinted he could play in next week’s Disney tournament, the last stop on the schedule. He is waiting to see how Simpson fares at Sea Island before deciding what to do.


DUSTIN AND GARY: Dustin Johnson and Gary Woodland have been friends since they were amateurs. They first played a practice round in college and have remained close. It’s only a coincidence that they’re two of golf’s best athletes.

Woodland played on a traveling baseball team as a teenager until his father urged him to narrow his choice of sports. He also spent one year playing college basketball before realizing his future was in golf. Johnson was profiled in a recent PGA Tour commercial dunking a basketball, swimming and doing other athletic endeavors.

It was an impressive display - except to Woodland.

“Yeah, yeah, I’ve seen all that,” Woodland said when asked what he thought of the commercial. “I’ve seen it once. That was enough.”

Someone asked Woodland who would win in a game of “horse.”

“I’d kill him,” Woodland said.

What about one-on-one in basketball?

“I’d kill him,” Woodland said again.

As for the dunk by Johnson on the commercial?

“On a small goal,” Woodland replied. “That ain’t no 10-foot goal.”

Was there anything in the commercial that Woodland could not do himself, if not better? This time, Woodland paused.

But only for a second.

“I’d need to see the commercial again,” he said. “No. There’s nothing he can do that I can’t.”

This conversation was relayed to Johnson, and it made him break into a wide grin.

“He likes to run his mouth,” Johnson said. “Tell him to bring it. He knows where to find me.”


MALAYSIA MOMENTS: There were a few snickers last year when the PGA Tour announced an unofficial tournament in Malaysia for 25 tour players from the FedEx Cup standings. The joke was the tour would have trouble finding that many from the top 25.

Instead, the Asia Pacific Classic is shaping up to have a field that most Fall Series events wish they could have.

It includes 12 players who have won this year, from Brandt Snedeker to Lucas Glover to Jhonattan Vegas and Brendan Steele. The exemptions went to Stewart Cink, Angel Cabrera and David Duval.

The tournament will be played Oct. 27-30, and several of those players will head over to Shanghai for the HSBC Champions, the final World Golf Championship of the year.


DIVOTS: Ernie Els played for the 21st time this year on the PGA Tour, the most in his 17 years on the PGA Tour. He tied for fourth, his first top 10 of the year. … Rod Pampling was given a sponsor’s exemption to Disney on Tuesday. Pampling started the year without his full card and has moved up to No. 114 on the money list with two tournaments remaining. … While Bud Cauley appears safe to get his PGA Tour card, Sea Island is a big week for Adam Hadwin of Canada. The 23-year-old tied for seventh at the Frys.com Open, which would made him eligible for the McGladrey Classic. He is the equivalent of No. 148 on the money list, and if he can stay in the top 150, Hadwin will be exempt into the final stage of Q-school. … Mark Calcavecchia, Jay Haas and Kenny Perry will represent the Champions Tour in the Three-Tour Challenge, to be played Nov. 8 at Rio Secco in Las Vegas.


STAT OF THE WEEK: Blake Adams has played 32 tournaments this year on the PGA Tour. The only week he sat out when he was eligible to play was the Mayakoba Classic in Mexico.


FINAL WORD: “As long as it’s legal, I’ll keep cheating like the rest of them.” - Ernie Els on using a belly putter.

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Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.

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.