Notes: Miller says game produced 'train wrecks'

By Doug FergusonJanuary 10, 2012, 8:09 pm

KAPALUA, Hawaii - Johnny Miller was quick to point out how different he and Nick Faldo were as players, and he said this with some regret. Miller aimed at every flag he saw. Faldo was more of a strategist.

“Nick was the ultimate in restricting the temptation, playing a cautious game - middle of the green, swing easy, basically think his way around in a non-exciting way,” Miller said. “And that lent itself to winning majors.”

Miller won 25 times on the PGA Tour but had only two majors - the 1973 U.S. Open at Oakmont (lest anyone forget, he shot 63 in the final round) and the 1976 British Open at Royal Birkdale over a rising teenage star named Seve Ballesteros.

Faldo won six majors, three times each in the Masters and British Open.

“I played just the opposite,” Miller said. “I hit it as hard as I could, fired at every flag stick, and that lends itself to having train wrecks in the majors. If I had to do it over again, I’d have two gas pedals - one of the majors, one for the regular tournaments. I never figured that out.”


HAT FOR SALE: Scott Piercy’s hat looks like a blank billboard, which is about what it is.

Piercy has Titleist on one side of the hat and FootJoy on the other. The front was supposed to be another corporate sponsor but the deal fell through. Piercy, the Reno-Tahoe Open winner, wasn’t going to give it away for free.

“We had a couple deals that looked like they were going to close, and they fell through at the last minute,” Piercy said. “As everyone knows, it’s tough out there right now. The deals that we did have weren’t the greatest, so we decided to keep it blank.”

Piercy said he had a few offers, but “we didn’t get anything that we felt was fair.”

The hat deal didn’t sour his mood - not in the least. Piercy made his first trip to the winners-only Tournament of Champions and tied for 12th after a rocky start.

Next up is the Sony Open, and Piercy already has noticed a change that comes with winning. He has a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour and no longer feels he has to rush into the year.

“It’s nice not to play for three months and have the first tournament be one you can kind of work into it, instead of showing up at Sony and having a so-so day or two and you’re going home,” he said. “You have a so-so day or two here, you still have the weekend.”

At Waialae, the course will be filled with rookies eager to get going.

“They’re like, `Oh, man, I finally made it to the PGA Tour.’ We’ve all seen that. I’ve done it,” he said. “As a rookie, you’ve got to kick butt on the West Coast, and everybody but the rookies know it. So it’s nice to ease into the year.”


AMERICAN RICHES: The Race to Dubai was announced with great fanfare for 2009, which was to conclude with a $10 million purse at the Dubai World Championship and a $10 million bonus pool.

Because of the economic crisis, the prize fund for both was reduced to $7.5 million.

Going into its fourth year, the bonus pool for the top 10 players now is $3.75 million, with $1 million going to the winner - that compares with $10 million for the FedEx Cup champion on the PGA Tour from a $35 million bonus pool.

The good news for Europe is that it extended its agreement for the Race to Dubai through the end of 2014.

And while the bonus pool dwindled, the prize money for the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai has increased to $8 million, the same amount offered at The Tour Championship.


GOLF CHANNEL: The Golf Channel must wait a few days to see if that Monday finish at Kapalua helped the viewership. But it couldn’t complain about the start of the new season.

Coming off its biggest year, Golf Channel began 2012 with the highest-rated opening round at Kapalua since it began broadcasting the Tournament of Champions in 2007. Friday’s coverage averaged 705,000 viewers (0.7 household rating), up 27 percent over Round 1 at Kapalua last year, and 50 percent higher than any previous opening round Golf Channel has broadcast at Kapalua.


DIVOTS: Martha Lang has been appointed to another one-year term as chair of the USGA’s Women’s Committee. … Gaylord Sports Management, whose list of clients includes Phil Mickelson and Nick Watney, has been acquired by French-based Lagardere Unlimited. Steve Loy, who founded Gaylord in 2000, will be the president of Lagardere Unlimited Golf. … Ryo Ishikawa is beefing up his U.S. schedule. Along with playing in the Sony Open, the Japanese star has accepted a sponsor’s exemption to play the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. David Duval also received an exemption to Torrey Pines. … Of the last 20 winners of the Tournament of Champions, Daniel Chopra (2008) is the only player who failed to make it to the Tour Championship. … Hunter Mahan has renewed his equipment contract with Ping.


STAT OF THE WEEK: Fifty years ago, Jack Nicklaus tied for 50th at the Los Angeles Open and earned $33.33. A three-way tie for 50th at the Sony Open this week pays $13,530.


FINAL WORD: “This is really the first and only event that is kind of like a congratulations for winning.” - Scott Piercy, making his debut in the Tournament of Champions at Kapalua.

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.