Sean OHair stays busy during a week off

By Doug FergusonSeptember 25, 2009, 3:30 am

THE TOUR Championship by Coke 2007 LogoATLANTA – Sean O'Hair played five of six weeks through the BMW Championship, grinding his way to a pair of top 10s in the last two events to climb up to the No. 7 seed going into the Tour Championship.

Most players were thankful for the one-week break in the FedEx Cup playoffs. O’Hair apparently was not one of them.

“I played six days in a row,” he said.

This was far different from playoff golf, however. O’Hair called up his buddies near his home outside Philadelphia and they played every day around town — his home course of Aronomink, Kennett Country Club and Concord Club, where his wife grew up playing.

“It was a good week off,” he said. “Just played with my buddies, and we just had a good time. Did a lot of gambling and lost a lot of money. I lost a lot of money last week, but that’s OK.”

O’Hair said he didn’t play particularly well, which explains the losses. Plus, he gave his friends too many shots.

“They were winning bets on the first tee,” he said with a grin. “The one that hurt me was I gave a 1-handicap – a good buddy of mine, who used to be a really good player – six shots. And he schooled me. I think he actually tied me at Aronomink. He tied me straight up. So I lost a lot of money that day.”

O’Hair said he wanted to stay active in golf, and this was not much pressure.

“I didn’t go out and beat balls, I didn’t go out on the putting green and putt,” he said. “Really, I got in my car, threw my clubs on the cart and away we went. That was about it. It was a good time.”

As for those losses? He didn’t give an amount, only that he still has won more he has lost to them. And before anyone feels sorry for him, O’Hair already has made nearly $3.8 million this year, with a chance to win substantially more at East Lake.

ONE BAD HOLE: Phil Mickelson spent part of last week working with putting specialist and former PGA champion Dave Stockton, and he got off to a reasonable start Thursday in the Tour Championship.

His only mistake was a big one. Mickelson took a quadruple-bogey 8 on the 14th hole and wound up with a 73.

More disturbing than the snowman on his scorecard was that Mickelson had only 123 yards to the green from the middle of the fairway. He pulled it into the bunker, then blasted it over the green. His four shot went across the green and back into the bunker, and from there it took him two shots to get out. Then came two putts and an 8, and that was that.

Mickelson was in good spirits when he finished. He declined a brief interview with reporters, looking at them and saying with a smile, “You guys don’t need me, do you? I’m in last place.”

No one minded, and Mickelson headed to the railing and signed autographs.

CONFIDENCE AND COMPLACENCY: Ask a simple question and expect to get anything but that from Padraig Harrington.

He had gone in the tank all year while searching for a technical swing key. Once he figured it out, he went back to scoring and has been contending just about every week. Someone asked about his confidence level.

“I don’t think I’ve ever played golf with confidence,” Harrington said, a peculiar answer from a three-time major champion. “I’d love to see the day I did.”

He then gave a clear example from Cog Hill why confidence is not his thing.

“I birdied the first hole in the final round, and I hit a beautiful 6-iron into the second hole, and the wind gusted and it came up short in the bunker,” Harrington said. “And I walked off the tee, and I said, ‘Never mind, I’m going to get this up-and-down, it’s OK.’ I felt good about it, felt very comfortable, and of course, I overplayed the bunker shot 4 feet short, missed the putt.

“Next hole, 7-iron, similar shot, coming out of the rough, spun a bit low, comes out of the bunker, no problem, I’ll get it up-and-down,” he said. “I said, ‘That’s the end of that. In the future, every time I hit a bad shot, I’m going to walk up to it saying, ‘How am I going to get this up-and-down? I’m never going to get this up-and-down.’ The confidence just doesn’t work for me.”

Harrington said he has been that way for years. Put him on the beach, and he couldn’t hit it into the ocean. Put him on a tight hole with out-of-bounds on both sides of the fairway, and he’ll split the middle.

“I just struggle when I get a bit complacent,” he said. “I’m a strange fish. I work better with fear than I do with confidence.”

DIVOTS: In second place is a trio of players who have won the last five British Opens – Stewart Cink (2009), Padraig Harrington (2007, 2008) and Tiger Woods (2005, 2006). Go one step down to find Lucas Glover, which means the four players behind leader Sean O’Hair have won five of the last eight majors. … History doesn’t favor Sean O’Hair. Only two players who led after the opening round at East Lake have gone on to win the Tour Championship – Vijay Singh in 2002 and Bart Bryant in 2005. … David Toms was the only player who failed to make a birdie in the opening round. He shot a 74.

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.

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.