Notes: Tiger's free drop; DJ to start practice soon

By Doug FergusonMay 8, 2012, 9:19 pm

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Tiger Woods never found his golf ball and received a free drop when it was pointed out a fan picked up the ball.

He went on to miss the cut at Quail Hollow by one shot. The rules official decided the evidence did not merit a penalty.

But imagine the outcry if Woods made the cut. Or what if that happened to a player who went on to win the U.S. Open by two shots?

The details don't make this a clean comparison, but it gave Meg Mallon occasion to recall the bizarre circumstances in the first round of the 2004 U.S. Women's Open.

She was playing the 421-yard fourth hole at The Orchards in the opening round, when she pulled her tee shot toward a food compound. When she arrived to where her ball should have been, it wasn't there. Marshals didn't know what happened.

''I said, 'What you do mean you don't know where the ball is?''' Mallon said on Tuesday.

Her first thought was to go back to the tee, but she called for a rules official when someone in the gallery said someone picked up the ball. The official arrived, talked to people in the gallery and concluded that must have been the case.

''We went to the vicinity of where they thought the fan picked up the ball, and it was a trampled down area,'' Mallon said. ''They gave me a drop,

I had to pitch out to the fairway and I hit 7-iron to a foot for my par.''

Three days later, Mallon closed with a 65 for a two-shot win over Annika Sorenstam.

But this is where the comparisons differ. No one found Woods' golf ball at the Wells Fargo Championship. The evidence official Mark Russell had when making the ruling pointed toward a stolen ball, and the wide-open area of trampled pine straw (along with the nature of the trees) supported that.

In Mallon's case, there was chatter after her drop about the missing ball, and someone confessed.

''After I hit the shot, a woman heard everyone talking and realized she had done it,'' Mallon said. ''She came up to me and said, 'I'm so sorry. I was getting something to eat when I looked down, and there was a golf ball, so I picked it up.'

''She was a nun,'' Mallon said. ''And she was honest.''

TIGER & PAVAROTTI: British player-turned-broadcaster Peter Alliss is among those who believe Tiger Woods is getting too much instruction.

At a news conference before his induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame, Alliss said Woods' ''golfing brain for some reason or another is completely addled.'' What astonished him was a scene from the practice range at the Masters last year. Alliss said he was sitting with Arnold Palmer at the end of the range.

''And there 50 yards away is Tiger Woods at the green nearest the television facility being shown how to chip,'' Alliss said. '''You must do it this way, this way.' And I said to Arnold, 'Are we seeing ...?' He was the greatest chipper in the world for a period, and this guy is teaching, 'No, don't do it that way.'

''It's like Pavarotti saying, 'I'm fed up with being a tenor. I think I'm going to sing as a baritone.' Land sake,'' he said. ''That's as stupid as that, in my opinion. That's not a criticism, that's an opinion. But that's why he's fuddled and befuddled. ... But he's gone. He's gone at the moment.''

LOPEZ HONOR: Nancy Lopez will receive the Byron Nelson Prize next week at the Byron Nelson Championship outside Dallas. The award recognizes people in golf who show the same philanthropic spirit for which Nelson was known.

Lopez sparked popularity in the LPGA as a rookie in the late 1970s. She won 48 LPGA events, including three major championships and was a four-time player of the year. She was twice voted Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year.

The Salesmanship Club of Dallas makes a $100,000 donation to the charity picked by the winner of the Byron Nelson Prize. Lopez has chosen AIM for the Handicapped.

OVERDUE TRIP: Phil Mickelson was getting serious with his girlfriend, Amy, when he went to Paris to play a golf tournament and wanted her to go with him. So he asked her parents, Gary and Renee McBride, and ''explained to them how this was somehow a good idea.''

''Gary, in his great parenting, put it on us and said, 'Listen, you're going to have plenty of time to go to Paris together. Amy, it's your decision. But you're not going,''' Mickelson said during his induction speech for the World Golf Hall of Fame, as the room laughed. ''I do want to say to him that we still have not been to Paris together.''

That's about to change. Mickelson said they would go to Paris in a few weeks for his wife's 40th birthday.

DUSTIN OUT: Dustin Johnson has gone two months without playing on the PGA Tour, though he plans to gradually get back to practice.

Johnson had surgery to repair cartilage damage in his knee during the offseason, but he withdrew from his first tournament because of back pain that never quite went away. He withdrew from Bay Hill with hopes of being ready for the Masters and then hurt his back again the Friday before the Masters lifting a jet ski from the water near his home in South Florida.

''I can promise you, I won't be doing any more heavy lifting, other than in the gym,'' Johnson said in a statement from Hambric Sports Management. ''I've learned a valuable and expensive lesson the hard way.''

Johnson has three top 10s this year, though only one serious chance at winning, when he missed a playoff at Riviera.

He is behind in Ryder Cup points, but he still has three majors and a World Golf Championship to make up ground, along with the rest of his schedule. He has not said when he would return. The release said the ''coming weeks.'' Johnson said he would take it slow.

''There's no point in me taking any dumb risks and hurrying my return just because I'm anxious,'' he said. ''The next time I tee it up, I'm going to be healthy, strong and 100 percent ready.''

DIVOTS: Rory McIlroy is to throw out the first pitch at a San Francisco Giants game on June 12, two days before the start of the U.S. Open at The Olympic Club in San Francisco. ... Matt Kuchar, at No. 14, is the highest-ranked American in the Ryder Cup standings, who either has not won a major or has not won this year. ... The Irish Open got another boost Tuesday when PGA champion Keegan Bradley announced he was playing. The field will feature three of the last four major champions - Bradley, McIlroy and Darren Clarke. ... The Players Championship is missing four of the top 50 in the world ranking - Charl Schwartzel, Dustin Johnson, Anders Hansen and Paul Lawrie. ... McIlroy has decided to put a 2-iron in the bag for The Players Championship, taking out his 5-wood. He has never been a fan of hybrids.

STAT OF THE WEEK: There were 83 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame at the induction ceremony in Canton, Ohio, last August. There were 14 members of the World Golf Hall of Fame at the induction Monday night in St. Augustine, Fla.

FINAL WORD: ''His problem isn't his swing. It's just playing golf. And that's everyone's problem.'' – Hunter Mahan on Tiger Woods.

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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 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.