Fact Pack: Players Championship

By Will GrayMay 8, 2012, 8:30 pm

This week one of the deepest fields in golf heads to TPC Sawgrass for The Players Championship. Among the more difficult tests players will face this year, the Stadium Course offers fast, undulating greens and difficult rough - not to mention the infamous island green 17th hole. The list of champions here includes many of the game's greatest names, but this has also been a tournament where players like Craig Perks and Stephen Ames were able emerge from obscurity to notch the best win of their career. With that in mind, here is a look inside the numbers to see which players may contend for the title and help your Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge team in the process:

Perhaps surprisingly, Sergio Garcia is the all-time leading money winner at this event, having won more than $3.4 million here in 12 appearances. The 2008 champion has made the cut 10 times, with a runner-up in 2007 and T-4 finish in 2002. Garcia will be making his first start this week since a T-12 finish at Augusta last month.

• Many American golf fans may not know Francesco Molinari - or at least may confuse him with his brother Edoardo. But the younger Molinari enters this week off a come-from-behind victory in Spain on Sunday, and has top-20 finishes in each of two stroke play events in the U.S. this year (T-13 at the WGC-Cadillac, T-19 at the Masters).

• Maybe more than at most PGA Tour venues, experience and course knowledge tend to pay dividends at TPC Sawgrass. Dating back to Fred Funk's victory in 2005, all but one Players champion made at least seven starts in the event prior to winning - the lone exception being Henrik Stenson, who won in his fourth Players start in 2009.

• If looking to back a player with less experience, Chris Stroud may be a strong candidate. Despite a MC at Quail Hollow, Stroud has seven top-25 finishes in 12 starts this year. He also seems to like the Stadium Course, finishing T-10 in his 2010 debut and following that up with a T-12 showing last year. Stroud has broken par in six of eight competitive rounds at TPC Sawgrass.

• Two rookies with local ties may be worth keeping an eye on. Matt Every and Bud Cauley both hail from the Jacksonville area and will make their first Players start this week. Every has had trouble making the weekend this year but has made the most of things once he's gotten there, with four top-10 finishes in only six made cuts. Cauley, along with John Huh and Harris English, has helped lead a strong 2012 rookie class.

• Seemingly out of nowhere, Ben Curtis is currently playing some of the best golf of his career. The last month has produced a win at Valero, followed by a T-13 finish at Zurich and T-5 at Wells Fargo last week - an impressive streak for someone with only one top-10 finish on Tour since June 2009 entering this year's Valero Texas Open. Curtis has used a hot putter to his advantage, finishing each of the last three weeks inside the top 15 in putts per GIR for the event.

The Stadium Course tends to favor longer hitters, and few can hit it further than J.B. Holmes. Currently fourth on Tour with a 306 yard/drive average, Holmes has found this event to his liking recently, with four top-16 finishes here since 2007. In those four starts, he never finished with a putts per round average higher than 27.50 for the week.

**Don't forget to join Fantasy Expert Rob Bolton for a live golf chat Wednesday at 12:00p ET at www.rotoworld.com** 

Tune in to Golf Channel Thursday-Friday from 1-7PM ET for live coverage of The Players Championship.

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.