Woods moves on without a coach

By Doug FergusonJune 2, 2010, 8:09 pm

DUBLIN, Ohio – Tiger Woods is the defending champion at Memorial and a four-time winner at Muirfield Village.

It just doesn’t seem that way.

He arrived at the course that Jack Nicklaus built – the one that Woods at times seems to own – with his game as unpredictable at ever. Woods is coming off a neck injury that he said now feels good enough to practice and play. He no longer has a swing coach, having split with Hank Haney three weeks ago, and has no plans to find another one anytime soon.

Since returning to golf in April, he has completed only one tournament, a tie for fourth in The Masters. That takes on even greater significance with the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach only two weeks away.

“Maybe this time I’ll get four rounds in and get ready for the Open,” Woods said Wednesday.

He remains as capable as ever, and Woods wasted no time showing that in the Memorial Skins Game. Playing in the second group of five players, he hit a towering shot out of the right rough behind a tree on the 10th hole to about 18 feet and rolled in the quick putt for a birdie to win a skin. Next up came the par-5 11th, where he followed a pure tee shot with a 4-iron to just outside 4 feet for eagle.

Easy game, right?

Everything else has been a struggle, starting with the upheaval in his personal life, seeping into his game.

When last seen in public, Woods leaned his head against the locker at the TPC Sawgrass, eyes closed and looking lost, after withdrawing from the final round of The Players Championship with what he feared was a bulging disc. Turns out it was inflammation of a joint in his neck, which he treated with massage, anti-inflammatory medicine and rest.

“My neck feels pretty good,” he said. “Still not where I want it to be, but the inflammation has calmed down. I’ve got a range of motion again. It’s a little bit sore after a good, hard day of practice. But I can recover for the next day, which is good.”

As for the coach? Woods doesn’t feel as though he needs one.

Even when he left Butch Harmon sometime in 2003, he had been friends with Haney through Mark O’Meara, and they often discussed swing thoughts and strategy even before they began working together.

Now, Woods’ coach is a video monitor.

“That’s the great thing about technology,” Woods said.

He’ll find out what kind of swing he brings to the course on Thursday when the Memorial gets under way with some compelling story lines, not all of them involving Woods.

Phil Mickelson, for the third straight tournament, has a chance to replace Woods at No. 1 in the world ranking. He was in position at The Players Championship with Woods out of the way, but went the wrong direction in the final round. At the Colonial last week, Mickelson missed the cut. Perhaps his time is coming. He won all nine skins in his group, which featured Nicklaus, during the Wednesday game.

“It would be cool,” Mickelson said about the ranking. “I don’t want to discount it. Right now, my goal is to play well here and get ready for the Open next week.”

Mickelson mentioned to the tournament host how badly he wants to win his tournament. Nicklaus couldn’t agree more, spinning a famous phrase from Bobby Jones who once said a golfer’s resume is not complete until he wins at St. Andrews.

“I told him, ‘A golfer’s resume is not complete until he wins at Muirfield,”’ Nicklaus said with a laugh.

More than the ranking, Woods and Mickelson are more interested in having their game right for Pebble Beach.

Mickelson has been up and down throughout the year – his Masters victory and runner-up at Quail Hollow were the only two times he has been in serious contention – but at least he knows what to expect having had far more repetitions.

Woods has played only nine full rounds since Nov. 15, the day he won the Australian Masters. That doesn’t include the 54 holes he played the other day, in carts and in shorts.

“It would be nice to get four rounds in and be in contention and hopefully win this thing,” Woods said. “That’s kind of where I’d like to be. I’d like to see where my game is going into the Open, and I should get a full tournament in, which I haven’t had since the Masters.”

Nicklaus was told that oddsmakers still list Woods as the favorite at the U.S. Open.

He was not surprised. Neither was he convinced.

“Six to one?” Nicklaus said, repeating the odds. “That will drop very quickly.”

Then he paused with some uncertainty.

“A lot will depend on what he does this week,” Nicklaus said. “I don’t know how is health is. I don’t know how he’s playing. I think a lot will depend on his preparation, and I think that’s why he’s here. He struggled at Augusta, even though he played pretty well. He struggled from not having played.

“This is a big week for him.”

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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.