Fact Pack: Phoenix Open and Qatar Masters

By Will GrayFebruary 1, 2012, 6:20 pm

This is another week where the attention of the fantasy golf world will be split between two deserts a world apart. The PGA Tour heads to TPC Scottsdale for the Waste Management Phoenix Open, while the European Tour continues their Desert Swing at the Commercialbank Qatar Masters. Participants in the Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge will need to do their homework before they submit lineups for each event this week. With that in mind, here is a look inside the numbers to see which players may contend for the title(s) this week and help your fantasy team in the process:

Mark Wilson is back on the course to defend his 2011 Phoenix Open title, having won the 2012 Humana Challenge in his last start. Wilson led the field in greens in regulation en route to victory here last year, and no one has more than his three wins on the PGA Tour since the start of the 2011 season.

• Mr. ‘Stache, Johnson Wagner, will also be in the Phoenix field. The only player with three top-10s already in 2012, Wagner will once again look to make his mark in the tournament’s second half. The 2012 Sony Open winner has a 66.5 stroke average this year across Rounds 3 and 4.

• If Scott Piercy finds a way to handle the shortest holes on the course, he could find himself in contention this weekend. The 2011 Reno-Tahoe Open champion is a combined 32 under par on par 4s and par 5s in 2012, but 9 over par on par 3s so far this season.

• Piercy, along with Chris Kirk, are the only players in the field who have played in every PGA Tour event thus far in 2012. Kirk has made 4/4 cuts, while Piercy has three top-25 finishes in his four starts this season.

• TPC Scottsdale typically ranks among the easiest courses on Tour for scrambling. At 7,216 yards and par 71, a player like Gary Woodland may find success this week as his length off the tee will aid him more than his scrambling issues (currently ranked No. 174) will hurt him.

• The greenside bunkers around TPC Scottsdale will likely not phase Tour rookie and Group 4 player Jonas Blixt. The Swede, who vaulted into contention last week with a Saturday 65 at Torrey Pines, has hit into more than three bunkers per round on average so far in 2012. He has gotten up and down 82.4% of the time, though, good for fourth on Tour in the category.

Brendon de Jonge will be a player to keep an eye on in Group 3. De Jonge has finished in the top 30 in each of his three 2012 starts, and has two top-25s in Phoenix in the last three years. He has demonstrated the ability to go low when required, already carding three rounds of 65 or better this season.

• If looking for a player with some experience at the TPC Scottsdale, look no further than Vijay Singh, who may be rounding back into form after a difficult 2011 season. Coming off a T-13 finish at Torrey Pines last week, Singh now heads to a course where he has had great success – two victories and four other top-10 finishes, including T-3 last year. This week will mark Singh’s 16th career start at the Phoenix Open.

• At the Qatar Masters, Thomas Bjorn returns to the tournament that sparked his improbable resurgence in 2011. Bjorn won in Doha last year, then won twice more on the European Tour and finished fourth at the Open Championship. He shows no signs of slowing down early in 2012, finishing T-3 in Abu Dhabi last week alongside Tiger Woods and Graeme McDowell.

• Six Americans will be in the field in Qatar, headlined by Hunter Mahan who made a strong showing in his 2012 PGA Tour debut, finishing T-6 last week at Torrey Pines. Mahan’s frequent flyer account will get a boost this month, as he will return to California next week to play at Pebble Beach, part of a stretch of five events in five weeks for the former Ryder Cup participant.

• Former U.S. Amateur champion Peter Uihlein will be playing in his second event as a professional this week in Qatar. Originally slated to play in Abu Dhabi last week, Uihlein opted for a more low-key pro debut, finishing 12th in a European Challenge Tour event in India. This will be the first of seven European Tour starts for Uihlein, who will need to amass approximately 260,000 Euros to earn his tour card, similar to the path Bud Cauley took to earn his PGA Tour card last fall.

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.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.