Expert Picks: 2014 Hyundai TOC

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 2, 2014, 6:27 pm

This week marks the seventh event of the 2013-14 PGA Tour season as the Plantation Course at Kapalua plays host to the winners-only Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Each week, a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players, based on Golf Channel's fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel includes: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributor John Hawkins; editorial director Jay Coffin; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams; staff writer Ryan Lavner and defending fantasy champion Charlie Rymer.

Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Dustin Johnson: Kapalua is a big hitter’s ballpark and as DJ demonstrated last year his game, and his game plan, is a perfect fit for the Hawaiian opener.

Group 2: Jordan Spieth: Although it’s the phenom’s first trip to the winner’s only event he has been virtually perfect in his young career and there’s no reason to think that will change in 2014.

Group 3: Gary Woodland: He wasn’t at his best in his maiden trip to Maui in 2012 (24th place) but he has the power for Kapalua and after his rebound year last season the confidence to win any week.

Group 4: Ken Duke: The veteran waited 186 starts to earn his first trip to Kapalua with his victory at last year’s Travelers Championship and it stands to reason he will make the most of the chance.

Jason Sobel

Group 1: Dustin Johnson: This tourney has been susceptible to repeat winners and DJ could be primed to become another.

Group 2: Bill Haas: Nobody has played this event more consecutive years, so the experience should help.

Group 3: Gary Woodland: I’m banking on a monster year for Woodland, beginning with a huge week at Kapalua.

Group 4: Martin Laird: Best of the bunch in Group 4, as his decided length should be a factor on this course.

Randall Mell

Group 1: Matt Kuchar: Heavy Kona winds can't wipe the smile off Matt Kuchar's face. He seems poised for something big this year.

Group 2: Webb Simpson: Simpson tied for third at Kapalua just two years ago. He already has a win and T-7 in 2013-14 wrap-around season.

Group 3: Russell Henley: Hawaii was awfully good to him last year (Sony Open win).

Group 4: Martin Laird: Hey, a Scot who can win in Texas (Valero) can win in Hawaii's winds, can't he?

Ryan Lavner

Group 1: Adam Scott: Closed out 2013 with a pair of wins and two other top 3s. Better start him while you can in early ’14.

Group 2: Webb Simpson: Another player who seemed to find his groove as 2013 came to a close. His last four starts: 4th-1st-7th-5th. Tied for third here a year ago.

Group 3: Harris English: A pair of top 10s in the early portion of the 2013-14 campaign, including the win at Mayakoba. Alikely candidate to surge in the rankings this year.

Group 4: Martin Laird: Apparently likes the Plantation Course. Was solo second in 2012 and T-4 in ’10. 

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.