Cink Always Aware of Feelings of Inadequacy

By George WhiteAugust 23, 2004, 4:00 pm
For all you figure filberts out there, here is one to chew on ' Stewart Cink is third on the tour in final-round scoring average. Thats impressive. If a player has any back-down at all, surely it will reveal itself when he absolutely, positively has to make his money.
It wasnt very long ago, though, that Cink was uncertain whether he would ever amount to anything in professional golf. He suddenly became aware of his professional inadequacies, something that he just couldnt seem to get out of his mind.
It was 2002 when I was struggling the most, he said of that time only two years ago. He was a Ryder Cup selection in 2001, but the events of 9/11 occurred and the match was postponed. That, unfortunately, gave him an opportunity to look around at whom else had made the Ryder Cup team.
I started comparing myself as a golfer to the other Ryder Cup team players, he said. Not just the current guys, but the ones that were in the past, too, Ryder Cup guys down the line. And I started being really harsh on myself for making mistakes.
For instance, Ryder Cup players don't miss three-footers, don't hit the ball in the rough on par-5s - just really hard on myself. And it changed very gradually over time so it's almost like I didn't notice it.
Cink had finished 26th on the money list in 2001, but his sudden period of self-doubt dropped him all the way down to 73rd the following year. It reached such a state that he finally revealed his fears to his swing coach, Mark Wood.
I sat him down and said, I've got problems. I mean, I'm really worried about where the ball is going to go, and I'm worried about missing putts. I'm scared of leaving myself a three-footer coming back. This obviously was not the same Stewart Cink that presently is No. 1 on the tour in putting.

Wood had an answer. He had an acquaintance in Florida whose specialty was working with self-doubters such as Cink. His name is Preston Waddington, and he had just the fix for Cink. Dont try to be perfect, said Waddington. It isnt possible, and the quicker you discern that, the better golfer you will become.
I've really learned a lot since then, the last few years, about fear in a golfer's mind and where it comes from, said Stewart. And instead of trying to push further out and filling your mind with other thoughts, I've really tried to grasp the fear and figure out why I'm afraid - why is a golfer afraid of a three-footer when it really is just a ball going in a hole or not? It really boils down to sense of self issues.
I was letting my golf results, my scores, my position on the money list, wins, not winning, everything - affect the way I felt about myself. And there's enough burden out here to carry when you've got these guys you're playing against and the golf courses are difficult.
Cink is very open about his sessions with Waddington. Some players would be hush-hush about any kind of psychological help. But not Stewart. Humans are prone to feelings of self-doubt, and Cink was Exhibit 1A. Jack Nicklaus himself said that if a golfer isnt a little scared, then he isnt much of a golfer.
You know, Cink said after winning the NEC Sunday, it's too much to ask of a person to perform under that kind of stress and add all this sense of self on top of it. It's psychoanalyst mumbo jumbo, I guess, but I've really gotten to a place where I'm accepting of my mistakes. Out there today, I was just prepared to accept any of those putts not going in.

Oh, he said, he still has periods of self-doubt. He expects, like Nicklaus, that he will be facing his fears when hes 50. A work in progress, Stewart termed it.
It's sort of the way the golf course unfolds itself different every day, you face new challenges, he said. Well, in my mind I face new challenges every day, too. I love talking about it because I'm proud of myself for admitting that I have issues. And being strong enough to go and tell somebody that I needed help, and I got help and worked hard to deal with it.'
He had in his mind what a champion golfer should look like. And he didnt fit that picture. Actually no one does, but Cink didnt realize it. No one is perfect with every shot, every putt. Its not how good your good shots are, as the saying goes, but how good your bad shots are. Thats where the champions stand out, never being bad enough to make it a hopeless situation.
Every time I took a new step up, said Cink, I started becoming harder on myself. And I gave myself less leeway for mistakes, so I was just killing myself. It was just too much stress to play under.
Cink still gets down on himself at times. He isnt a Vijay or Ernie or a Tiger ' and he never will be. But he still is one of the best players in the world. Hes No. 5 on the tour money list, and that should mean something. He doesnt need a therapist to tell him that that is pretty good.
Email your thoughts to George White

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.

Getty Images

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.

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.