Expert Picks: 2015 WGC-Cadillac Championship

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 4, 2015, 1:57 pm

This week marks the 16th event of the 2014-15 PGA Tour season, as the Tour remains in Florida for the WGC-Cadillac Championship. 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; editorial director Jay Coffin; associate editor Will Gray; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams; host Charlie Rymer and defending fantasy champion Ryan Lavner.

Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Rory McIlroy: Consider last week’s missed cut at the Honda Classic an aberration, even more so considering he went out on Monday at the Seminole Pro-Member and scorched the course with a 63.

Group 2: Dustin Johnson: Another power player who had an “off” week at PGA National but is a perfect fit for the new-look Doral and already has two top-5 finishes this season.

Group 3: Anirban Lahiri: For those who don’t know the name, learn it. Lahiri has won two of his last three starts in Asia and has climbed to 35th in the world.

Group 4: Ross Fisher: The Englishman has been as consistent as anyone on the European Tour since late last year, with two runner-up showings and not a single missed cut since September.

Jason Sobel

Group 1: Rory McIlroy: Go ahead. Jump off the bandwagon after last week’s missed cut. I’ll stick with a guy who’s too good for another stinker.

Group 2: Jim Furyk: He’s been trending in the right direction since this year’s late start and shouldn’t veer far from that at Doral.

Group 3: Jamie Donaldson: Nearly everything he’s accomplished in the past year – Ryder Cup clincher; PGA Tour membership – was forged during last year’s runner-up at this event.

Group 4: Gary Woodland: It's been a slow month for a guy with immense talent, but expect a big win sometime in the very near future.

Will Gray

Group 1: Bubba Watson: I'm definitely taking a chance by leaving the world No. 1 on the bench, but I'll take my chances with Watson, who has a pair of runner-ups in the last three years at Doral and hasn't finished worse than T-14 in four starts this season.

Group 2: Dustin Johnson: A missed cut at PGA National ended his hot streak, but he still had a pair of top-five finishes before that and now heads to Doral where he has three top-12 finishes in the last four years, including a runner-up in 2011.

Group 3: Jamie Donaldson: The Welshman was a runner-up at Doral last year and he has been quietly successful in the U.S. already this year, following a T-19 finish at Torrey Pines with a sixth-place showing at the Honda behind a final-round 66.

Group 4: Alex Noren: The Swede spent a lot of time on the disabled list recently, but he appears to be rounding back into form based on a run of three straight top-11 results earlier this year, a stretch that was highlighted by a runner-up in Dubai.

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.

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.