Power Rankings: 2014 British Open

By Will GrayJuly 15, 2014, 4:58 pm

This week marks the 36th event of the 2013-14 PGA Tour season, as the Tour heads across the Pond for the British Open. A full field of 156 players will tee it up this week at Royal Liverpool Golf Club, where the claret jug is once again up for grabs in golf's oldest major championship.

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Phil Mickelson returns to defend the title he won here a year ago by three shots over Henrik Stenson. Here are 15 names to watch this week in Hoylake:

1. Henrik Stenson: A runner-up last year, Stenson has finished no worse than T-21 in his last six majors overall. He enters this week with top-7 finishes in his last four starts, including a tie for second in Germany in his last event. The Swede tied for fourth at the U.S. Open last month and possesses both the game and the temperament to conquer Royal Liverpool this week.

2. Adam Scott: Scott appeared to have one hand on the trophy last year, and only a dramatic collapse prevented him from lifting the claret jug in 2012. He was eighth at Royal Liverpool in 2006 and since then has finished worse than T-27 at the Open only once (MC in 2009). He has top-10 finishes in each of his last three starts dating back to his playoff win at Colonial and should thrive on a course that requires accurate tee-to-green placement.

3. Rory McIlroy: If he were allowed to skip Friday's round, McIlroy would be a shoe-in to win this week. Despite his second-round struggles, though, the Ulsterman has had a solid season in 2014, highlighted by his win at Wentworth and including only one result outside the top 25. His form in the Open hasn't been stellar outside of a third-place showing at St. Andrews in 2010, but his best is still better than that of most of the field this week.

4. Justin Rose: Current form over past history. Rose's lone top-10 finish in the Open came as an amateur back in 1998, but he enters off back-to-back wins, including a triumph on a links layout last week at Royal Aberdeen. Rose has now solidified his standing after the breakthrough victory last year at Merion and is among the best long-iron players in the field, an asset that should prove valuable this week in Hoylake.

5. Jordan Spieth: After an unprecedented rookie campaign, Spieth has shown no signs of letdown this year, contending at both the Masters and the Players Championship and heading to Liverpool off of eight top-20 finishes in his last nine starts overall. The 20-year-old made the cut in his Open debut last year at Muirfield, tying for 44th, and should improve on that considerably this time around.

6. Martin Kaymer: Kaymer burst (back) onto the scene with his win at TPC Sawgrass in May, then demolished the field last month at Pinehurst en route to his second major title. He's clearly playing with an abundance of confidence and has a solid record at the Open, one that includes four top-35 finishes over the last five years and is highlighted by a tie for seventh in 2010.

7. Brendon Todd: His last six starts have gone Win-T5-T8-T17-T5-T4. Todd is in the midst of a career year, with 11 top-25 finishes this season highlighted by his win in Dallas in May. While he's making his Open debut, his stellar short game should help him adjust, as Todd ranks fourth on Tour in strokes gained putting, fifth in scrambling and eighth in scoring average.

8. Sergio Garcia: Fighting with Lee Westwood for the title of "Most overdue for a major." Garcia was fifth at Hoylake in 2006, has three top-25 finishes in the Open since 2010 and tied for second last month at the Travelers Championship. He has had a solid season in 2014, including a win in Qatar in January, but should contend this week - even if that sough-after major title likely eludes him.

9. Rickie Fowler: The only player with top-five finishes in each of the first two majors of 2014, Fowler also added a tie for eighth last week at the Scottish Open and appears on the verge of a breakthrough win sooner rather than later. After playing college golf in breezy Stillwater, Fowler has had no trouble adjusting to links golf, going T14-T5-T31 in the Open from 2010-2012.

10. Zach Johnson: Johnson appears to have the John Deere-Open combination figured out, with a T-16 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011 followed by top-10 results in both 2012 (T-9) and 2013 (T-6). He is no stranger to flighting his ball to fit the conditions of links golf, and again enters with momentum after his runner-up finish last week at TPC Deere Run.

11. Graeme McDowell: McDowell backed into a successful title defense in France two weeks ago, but a win's a win. The Ulsterman was fifth two years ago at Royal Lytham and had top-25 finishes in both 2008 and 2010, proving he has the game to contend in this event. In addition to his win at Le Golf National, McDowell tied for sixth at the Irish Open and was T-28 last month at Pinehurst.

12. Dustin Johnson: Johnson has missed only two cuts in 15 starts this year and tied for fourth at the U.S. Open. He notably contended in the Open at Royal St. George's in 2011, where he tied for second, and his T-39 finish last year at Muirfield broke a streak of three straight top-15 finishes in this event. A winner earlier this season in China, he ranks second on Tour in the all-around and third in scoring average this season.

13. Matt Kuchar: Kuchar hasn't played since the Travelers Championship last month, but he's having a typically consistent season, with nine top 10s and 13 top 25s in 17 starts, including his win at Hilton Head. Kuchar has cracked the top 15 at the Open each of the last two years, including a tie for ninth in 2012, and contended this year at both the Masters (T-5) and U.S. Open (T-12).

14. Jimmy Walker: Walker surprised many with his three wins earlier this season, but since then he has added top-10 results at each of the first two majors this year. He is making his first Open appearance but had a solid introduction to links golf last week at Royal Aberdeen, where he finished the week under par after a final-round 69, and ranks second on Tour in birdie average.

15. Brandt Snedeker: Now under the watchful eye of Butch Harmon, Snedeker is beginning to show signs of life after a slow start to 2014. The putter that was so cold for so long is starting to heat up, and Snedeker has top-25 finishes in each of his last three starts overall, dating back to a T-9 finish at Pinehurst. After his surprising T-3 result at Royal Lytham, Snedeker tied for 11th last year at Muirfield.

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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 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.