Notes A new gambling policy on European Tour

By Doug FergusonMarch 16, 2011, 3:58 am

Transistions ChampionshipPALM HARBOR, Fla. – The European Tour has a new policy in its regulations this year that forbids a player or a caddie to place a bet on any golf tournament in which they are participating.

That’s the letter of the law. But it’s not the intent.

“It’s a completely new regulation for us,” said David Garland, director of tour operations. “We just feel that looking at other sports, and instances of gambling scandals in other sports over here, we didn’t have a policy. It’s been a little topical at the moment.”

Betting, particularly in Britain, is almost a sport unto itself. Garland said golf is the fourth-most popular betting sport in the United Kingdom. During some of the major championships, there can be bets on who will have the lowest score among a particular group, or even as simple as who will place in the top 10.

The first section of the policy is that no player or caddie can either directly or indirectly bet or be involved in a bet in a competition they are playing or have any influence. Another section forbids players or caddies to provide information in which either has inside information.

That kind of stuff would appear to go on all the time.

“I don’t think the $20 bet is a problem,” said Thomas Bjorn, chairman of the tournament committee. “We’ve had big scandals in cricket, there’s stuff going on in snooker. You have to protect yourself against the inside stuff.”

So is this policy directed mainly at caddies?

“Not at all,” Garland said. “We know the caddies have a range of small bets. It’s just making them aware that it can lead to other things. They’ve got to realize caddies are an integral part of the golfer’s team. They can influence, and they need to be aware of this policy.”

Garland said the tour essentially needed to protect itself with a policy, especially in light of other scandals. Unlike the anti-doping policy, in which a six-month education process preceded the policy taking effect, the tour put it in the books immediately and will spend the next year talking to various people involved to make them understand.

“What we’ve seen in other sports is that it’s the individual who’s not at the top of the game that gets involved,” Garland said. “It starts with information. Then it goes to, ‘Can you do this for me and do that for me?’ In the world of illegal gambling, these are high numbers people are talking about, and it may become tempting.

“We want to get this over to players, caddies and everyone connected on the tour about the dangers involved.”


TOP RECOGNITION: Martin Kaymer can still make his way through airports and shopping malls without being recognized as the world’s No. 1 player, although he did get a taste of his growing fame in Arizona.

After moving to the top of the ranking, Kaymer said he was finishing up dinner at a steakhouse in Scottsdale.

“We got a free dessert from the restaurant and on the cake it said, ‘Congratulations, No. 1 in the world,”’ Kaymer said. “I get recognized a bit more than in the past.”


TWITTER AND TEXT: Lee Westwood has taken to Twitter and his followers quickly grew to some 135,000 during his 17-week reign as No. 1 in the world ranking. He is active, having put out more than 3,000 tweets.

Westwood, however, appeared to go silent when Martin Kaymer replaced him at No. 1 in the world.

That wasn’t the case. Westwood just went old school and sent Kaymer a text message. It was his agent, Chubby Chandler, who explained to him the phenomenon of Twitter.

“Sometimes you can see some of the guys on it, they don’t quite get what they’re achieving,” Chandler said. Lee has 135,000 followers, and when he wasn’t No. 1, I said to him, ‘I think you should congratulate Martin.’ He said, ‘I already have. I sent him a text.’ And I said, ‘You’ve got 135,00 people who don’t know you’ve done that.”’


STICKY GRIPS: Geoff Ogilvy was curious about a new style of grips that he made the switch to when he was home in Australia late last year.

What’s so unusual about the leather grips from The Grip Masters?

For starters, they’re made of kangaroo – but that’s an Australian thing.

What intrigued Ogilvy is that the more the grips get moist, the more tackier they become. He says he can control that by how much he wipes them down with a wet towel.

“I got addicted to the tackiness straight away,” Ogilvy said of the one-piece leather grips.

As for the kangaroo? The grips also are made from the leather of cows, and even deer and sea snakes.

“Everything (Rory) Sabbatini has on his belt, you can get for a grip,” Ogilvy said. “I just thought kangaroo would be cool. I’m sure I’d like a cow just as much. But everyone has cows. We’re the only country that has kangaroos.”


DIVOTS: Now that Butch Harmon no longer works with Stewart Cink, he has added another client to his stable – S.K. Noh, the talented teenager from South Korea. Harmon says Noh approached him in Abu Dhabi, and he came to see Harmon in Las Vegas on his way to the Cadillac Championship. Harmon says he’ll be working with him on a limited basis. … The USGA is moving its U.S. Amateur and U.S. Women’s Amateur events in 2012 to earlier in the year to avoid conflicts with going back to school. … Lee Trevino, 71, shot a 70 in the first round of the Toshiba Classic. It was the first time he broke his age in competition. … Golf Channel said it averaged 1.07 million viewers the opening two rounds of the Cadillac Championship, the best two-day viewership for Doral since 1.09 million viewers in 2002 when it was on USA Network. Golf Channel now has had higher ratings for all 36 of the PGA Tour rounds it has broadcast this year.


STAT OF THE WEEK: The last eight World Golf Championships have been won by eight players dating to the 2009 Bridgestone Invitational – Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Ernie Els, Hunter Mahan, Francesco Molinari, Luke Donald and Nick Watney.


FINAL WORD: “I find it very strange that he has never been No. 1 in the world. He really deserved to be there. But obviously with Tiger up there all those years, it was very difficult.” – Martin Kaymer, on Phil Mickelson never reaching the top of the world ranking.

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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.