Expert Picks: Hyundai TOC

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 5, 2012, 4:44 pm experts offer up their fantasy choices for the 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 new fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel consists of: senior writers Rex Hoggard and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and Win McMurry; editorial director Jay Coffin; 'Morning Drive' hosts Gary Williams and Erik Kuselias; and Golf Talk Central contributor Ryan Ballengee.

Rex Hoggard

Group 1: K.J. Choi: Strong finish to 2011 and some good history at Kapalua (T-2 in 2003).

Group 2: Aaron Baddeley: The only constant at Kapalua, other than the Kona winds, is that Australians are a safe bet.

Group 3: Gary Woodland: Bombers rule the Plantation Course and Woodland is the ultimate power player.

Group 4: Michael Bradley: Taking the “other” Bradley, not Keegan, based on Michael’s island history – two wins in Puerto Rico. 

Jason Sobel

Group 1: Bubba Watson: Prepped for the season-opener by shooting 58 at his home course.  That’ll do.

Group 2: Bill Haas: Ended last season with the FedEx Cup, but traditionally a stronger starter than finisher.

Group 3: Rory Sabbatini: Two years ago, finished one shot out of a playoff at Kapalua.

Group 4: Brendan Steele: Many in the field may treat this week like an extended vacation; Steele won’t.

John Hawkins

Group 1: K.J. Choi: This guy is poised to have a big year in 2012.

Group 2: David Toms: A great putter with a good history at Kapalua.

Group 3: Jonathan Byrd: Always take the defending champion when he’s in Group 3.

Group 4: Bryce Molder: Going for an under-the-radar guy in Group 4.

Jay Coffin

Group 1: Nick Watney: Last year was a breakout year for the Californian, but this year will be better.

Group 2: Bill Haas: Hey, what can I say? I’m a sucker for a guy with a similar hairline.

Group 3: Ben Crane: Typically plays well early in the year and this year should be no different.

Group 4: Brendan Steele: First name to jump out at me from the group.

Gary Williams

Group 1: Nick Watney: After a strong 2010, Watney had a breakout 2011. May better his T5 finish at Kapalua from 2008.

Group 2: Keegan Bradley: Should have a great week as a strong start will help put “sophomore slump” questions to bed.

Group 3: Gary Woodland: Top 30 finishes in all four majors in 2011 showed he can contend with the world’s best.

Group 4: Jhonattan Vegas: Played his best golf early in 2011 with a T3 at Torrey Pines to go with his Humana Challenge win. 

Erik Kuselias

Group 1: Webb Simpson: Coming off an unbelievable 2011, there is no reason he can’t start 2012 with a win on Monday.

Group 2: Martin Laird: Finished T4 here in his only prior start and will be motivated to start strong in a Ryder Cup year.

Group 3: Gary Woodland: Talent off the tee combined with Kapalua’s length should allow him to contend.

Group 4: Brendan Steele: Riding some good momentum into this week after a strong close to 2011.

 Win McMurry

Group 1: Steve Stricker: Knows how to shake off the early season rust as seen with 3 top-10s in the past four years here.

Group 2: David Toms: With huge greens, proximity will be key at Kapalua; Toms ranked sixth in GIR in 2011.

Group 3: Rory Sabbatini: The “other” Rory may get the hype, but the South African has two runner-up finishes in Maui.

Group 4: Brendan Steele: Almost took Vegas here, but chose Steele based on his strong finish to 2011.

Ryan Ballengee

Group 1: Steve Stricker: Finished second in Strokes Gained Putting last year, a key stat for a course with enormous greens.

Group 2: David Toms: Hits a lot of greens and, last year, put it closer than all but four guys on Tour.

Group 3: Rory Sabbatini: Notorious for hot starts, Sabbatini also has two runner-up finishes here.

Group 4: Scott Stallings: The Greenbrier winner can blast it off the tee.

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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.