Some Web.com graduates still looking for place to play

By Doug FergusonOctober 16, 2013, 1:51 am

SAN MARTIN, Calif. – Kevin Tway is the latest son of a major champion to earn a spot on the PGA Tour, and he is already getting attention as a rookie.

Just not for the reasons one might think.

It has nothing to do with his father's eight PGA Tour wins, or even that famous bunker shot at Inverness that Bob Tway holed for birdie to beat Greg Norman in the 1986 PGA Championship. Not that the son has forgotten.

''I even put 'past champion's son' and it didn't work out,'' Tway said with a laugh.

He was referring to the letter he sent the Las Vegas tournament director asking for a sponsor exemption, which is hard to come by these days. Tway received an exemption for the Frys.com Open, but not for Las Vegas. He tried to qualify Monday for one of four spots and lost in a playoff.

What's amazing is that Tway even needs an exemption.

The PGA Tour this year eliminated Q-school as a route to the big leagues, leaning instead on the Web.com Tour as the ''primary pathway to the PGA Tour.'' Tway won a Web.com Tour event, made the cut in 14 of his 18 tournaments and had four top 10s to finish No. 5 on the money list.

The top 25 are assured Tour cards.

But this path to the PGA Tour comes with a catch. What follows the regular season are four additional tournaments – the Web.com Tour Finals – that determine where the rookies and returning Tour members are seeded going into the new season. The higher seed, the more likely a player gets into a tournament.

Tway had little to gain, plenty to lose. He missed two cuts, didn't finish higher than a tie for 52nd in the other two and now can't get into tournaments. Instead of being seeded No. 9, he plunged to No. 46 out of 50 players.

It's another reminder that getting a PGA Tour card and getting a chance to play are not always the same. What's worse is that these 50 players will be seeded again at the end of the six tournaments this fall – except that only the top half are assured of getting into the tournaments.

Tway was lucky to get a spot in the Frys.com Open, and even though a 72-71 weekend left him tied for 40th, it's better than no tournament at all. Mark Anderson finished at No. 8 on the Web.com Tour money list. He'll be lucky to get into a single tournament until sometime in 2014.

The flip side is someone like Brendon Todd. He finished 20th on the Web.com money list, and then in the four-event ''Finals'' he had a pair of top 20s and tied for second in the last one. His seeding went up 27 spots to No. 12, meaning he's likely to get in all four North American events.

''Obviously, I want them to do it a different way,'' Tway said. ''It seems unfair. But other people like it. I'm not a smart enough person to come up with a plan. Hopefully, when I get my starts I'll play well. And if you play well, they can't keep you off the Tour.''

That comment was refreshing, especially coming from a 25-year-old rookie who got the short end of the draw.

Playing better is always the solution in golf, no matter how the system works.

Even so, there's something wrong with the Tour's message that a year on the Web.com Tour now is the ''primary path'' to the big leagues. Because it's not. It's an entire season, followed by four tournaments that decide how much you get to play.

It's like driving from California to Florida and being told upon entering the state that the actual destination is Miami.

''Most people feel that guys who play all year long on the Web.com Tour should have some merit,'' said Jamie Lovemark, who went from No. 12 on the money list to the 39th seed. He received an exemption to the Frys.com Open, and missed out at the qualifier in Las Vegas. ''Maybe you should protect the top 10. I'm sure they'll tweak it. But no matter what they do, someone will get the wrong end of it.''

There were bound to be glitches in the first year of a new system. The Tour's mistake was underestimating how many guys would play in October when it went to a wraparound season. Officials thought all 50 players from the Web.com Tour Finals would get in all four events, or at least two of them.

The day after the Web.com Tour Finals, nearly every player had signed up for the first event.

The Tour is reviewing the first year of the Web.com Tour Finals, and changes are likely. They weren't simple the first time, and they won't be now. Along with looking after the players on the Web.com Tour, consideration has to be given players who just missed their cards on the PGA Tour, the strongest circuit in the world.

Alex Aragon – No. 9 on the Web.com Tour money list who fell to a No. 36 seed – barely got into the Frys.com Open as an alternate. It felt like Christmas morning when he learned over the weekend he received an exemption to Las Vegas.

''There's no perfect solution,'' Aragon said.

But he had what seemed to be the most reasonable one. The top 25 on the Web.com Tour money list would be assured their cards, and the money list from them would continue through the four $1 million events in the Finals to determine their seeds. A separate money list would apply for everyone else competing for 25 additional cards at the Web.com Tour finals. The 50 seeds would be determined by alternating from one category to the other.

Otherwise, that ''primary path'' could feel more like a dead end.

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.