Notes Tough date for Tigers event in 2011

By Doug FergusonDecember 8, 2010, 2:37 am

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Graeme McDowell would love nothing more than to defend his title in the Chevron World Challenge, especially because of all it has done for him the last few years.

It might be too much to ask him to return – along with a lot of other European Tour members.

Because of the Presidents Cup going to Australia, everything on golf’s global calendar has been pushed back. The Presidents Cup will be the week before Thanksgiving, followed by the World Cup in China.

That means the Chevron World Challenge will be the same week as the Hong Kong Open, where Ian Poulter is the defending champion. So he won’t be back at Sherwood next year. “It’s disappointing,” Poulter said. “There’s only certain hours you can sit on a plane. Some guys are going to have to miss out.”

Being opposite Hong Kong isn’t even the worst of it.

The Dubai World Championship – the season finale on the European Tour – is the week AFTER the Chevron World Challenge. Anyone playing in California cannot make it to Dubai until late Tuesday afternoon. “And the pro-am is Tuesday,” Paul Casey said.

European Tour members in the Chevron field this year were McDowell, Poulter, Casey, Luke Donald and Rory McIlroy. Martin Kaymer was supposed to be there until he withdrew.

Along with Chevron and Hong Kong, the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa will be that week (Dec. 1-4). That attracted Lee Westwood, Padraig Harrington, Ernie Els and Retief Goosen. For those European Tour members not playing Hong Kong, it makes more sense for them to be in South Africa, which is only two time zones behind Dubai.

“It’s a disaster next year,” McDowell said. “I’m disappointed to see that. But it’s all about geography. “China, L.A., Dubai … it’s not ideal. I’m tired just thinking about it.”

Greg McLaughlin, the president of the Tiger Woods Foundation and tournament director at Chevron, doesn’t see a way out. When he first was made aware of the schedule, he considered moving Woods’ event. But there is no room earlier, and it’s pointless to go after Dubai and bump too close to Christmas.

One half-joking suggestion to McLaughlin was simply to remove “World” from the title for next year. His only solution is to take his lumps for one year, although having Woods in the field certainly won’t hurt interest or attendance.

Chevron and its 18-man field gets world ranking points because there is a set criteria (majors, world ranking). The two sponsor exemptions must be from the top 50 in the world. Depending on how the Americans fare next year, McLaughlin better hope he has enough players available.

“It’s not going to be the same field,” Donald said. “And if the Europeans keep going like this, it will be a weaker field.”

MIDDLE EAST SWING: The strongest part of the European Tour schedule is early in the year when it makes its “desert swing” through Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Bahrain and Dubai. Next year, it figures to get even stronger by adding some of the best Americans.

Phil Mickelson is playing in Abu Dhabi. Tiger Woods will be going to the Dubai Desert Classic.

And the real shocker: Steve Stricker is going to Qatar.

“I’ve never been over there,” Stricker said. “I’m looking forward to it.”

It is believed to be the first time in his career that Stricker has received appearance money. He will open next year with two weeks in Hawaii, take two weeks off before Qatar, return home and then defend at Riviera and head to the Match Play Championship.

“Instead of forcing myself to play in events I usually don’t play, I thought I would go over and work on my game,” Stricker said. “Kenny Perry went last year and said it was a great time. They get a good field. I think a couple of Americans are thinking about going over.”

Qatar is held opposite the Phoenix Open. Woods is going to Dubai, which is the same week as Pebble Beach.

TIM & RORY: Rory McIlroy was surprised to learn that despite fulfilling his PGA Tour obligations this year, by not taking up membership in 2011 he will only be able to play 10 tournaments. The Players Championship would not count toward that number if he chooses to play.

Even more peculiar was the conversation he said he had with Commissioner Tim Finchem over the weekend.

Finchem was at the Chevron World Challenge to announce the PGA Tour awards and meet with the players. By the sound of it, he said the kind of things he usually does – only it took on a funny meaning to McIlroy.

“I had a conversation with Tim yesterday (Saturday) and he said, ‘Is there anything we can do for you? We’re always happy to see you over here playing,”’ McIlroy said with a smile.

His response?

“I said, ‘Thank you very much,”’ he said with a laugh. “Look, I’m happy playing 10 or 11. I would like to play some events – I’d like to play Bay Hill, but it just doesn’t really work. Phoenix is one I would quite like to play.”

Instead, he will play the Honda Classic (between World Golf Championships), defend his title at Quail Hollow and play the Memorial. The other seven are majors and WGCs.

As for The Players Championship?

“Undecided,” McIlroy said.

There have been reports he doesn’t like the TPC Sawgrass, although McIlroy said it’s more about the schedule. He wants to play the World Match Play Championship and the BMW Championship at Wentworth, held in successive weeks after Sawgrass. Then it would mean coming back to America for the Memorial.

Throw in Quail Hollow, and it could mean five straight weeks with a trip across the Atlantic in between.

STAT OF THE WEEK: For the first time in at least 25 years, no one from last year’s Q-school class won a PGA Tour event. The tour only has Q-school records dating to 1985.

FINAL WORD: “I start thinking about Augusta when I drive down the driveway for the last time on the Sunday of the tournament.” – Geoff Ogilvy.

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.

Getty Images

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.

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.

Getty Images

Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.