Expert Picks: Northern Trust Open

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 14, 2012, 2:58 pm experts offer up their fantasy choices below for the Northern Trust Open. Each week a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players based on Golf Channel's new fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel consists of: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and Win McMurry; editorial director Jay Coffin;'s Rob Bolton; 'Morning Drive' hosts Gary Williams and Erik Kuselias; and Golf Talk Central contributor Ryan Ballengee.

Win McMurry

Group 1: K.J. Choi: He cashes checks at Riviera. Never missed a cut. In 11 starts has four top-10s, including a T-7 last year. He knocked the rust off overseas on the desert swing, but has had a week to rest and readjust back in the United States.

Group 2: Aaron Baddeley: I typically avoid the defending champion, but not at Riviera. Since 2003 we've seen two back-to-back champions here, a trend as winners and runner-ups' names are frequently repeated in this tournament's history books. Oh, and he tied for fourth last week.

Group 3: Jimmy Walker: He comes in off a T-9 at Pebble, one of two top-10s in his last three starts, and he finished T-4 in this event a year ago.

Group 4: Fred Couples: Despite the daily struggles with his back, Freddie always seems to find a way into contention at Riviera. He loves L.A., loves the course, loves the people he reconnects with here each year, and he finished T-7 here last year after spending a majority of the week in the lead.

Ryan Ballengee

Group 1: Phil Mickelson: Got burned last week by ranking him but not picking him. He's a two-time winner and clearly rejuvenated after Pebble.

Group 2: Kevin Na: In the top five in his last two starts, he had a chance to win here in '10 and was in the top 10 last year.

Group 3: Jimmy Walker: Quietly playing some excellent golf, Walker has improved dramatically here every year - 70th, to 37th, to 4th last year.

Group 4: Fred Couples: T-33 last week in Dubai, has his back fixed and is celebrating his 30th Riviera start.

Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Luke Donald: The world No. 1 is making his PGA Tour season debut this week and if we learned anything from 2011 it was that 'Luke Donald Disease' may not collect a ton of trophies but it cashes a lot of checks.

Group 2: Aaron Baddeley: Defending champion never signed for a card over 69 last year and the Australian showed good form last week with his fourth-place finish at Pebble Beach.

Group 3: Padraig Harrington: Irishman showed signs of life last week with his first top-10 Tour finish since last year's Wells Fargo Championship.

Group 4: Jason Gore: When it comes to feel-good stories it's tough to find a better rooting favorite than Los Angeles-area resident who landed a coveted sponsor exemption into the Northern Trust thanks to a viral campaign on Twitter.

Rob Bolton

Group 1: Luke Donald: No. 1-ranked golfer in the world. Unfinished business after missing the cut at Riviera last year. Top-sixes here the previous three years.

Group 2: Aaron Baddeley: The defending champion posted a solo fourth at Pebble Beach last week. He's cashed at Riviera in all nine of his starts.

Group 3: Jimmy Walker: Recorded one of his three fourth-place finishes in 2011 here. Top-10s in two of his last three starts, including a share of ninth at Pebble Beach.

Group 4: David Hearn: First-timer at Riviera has had trouble avoiding the big number lately but he's a good fit with the course profile.

You can watch complete coverage of the Northern Trust Open Thursday-Friday live on Golf Channel from 3PM-6PM ET.

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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 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.