Haas Starts Acting His Age
Jay Haas is learning quickly how to survive on the Champions Tour and really like it. He won again last week, the second time in three weeks he has won on the Champions, and now he gets to play with the elder gents in the season-ending free-for-all ' the Charles Schwab Cup Championship where the top 30 money-winners go off by themselves to play for even more cash.
Haas first victory three weeks ago propelled him into the No. 30 spot. And his win Sunday bumped him all he way to No. 23. This, after just playing in nine Champions Tour events this year.
The 51-year-old had considered playing the regular tour as long as time would let him. He turned 50 way back before last season began, but he played plenty well enough to win a couple million and finish 27th ' with the youngsters. So he figured this year to be roughly the same.
Alas, in 16 tries with the kids this season, he was only sitting in the 144th spot with little more than $485,000. It doesnt take Alan Greenspan to tell you which tour it would be wise to play on, not with almost $745,000 in nine events.
His first win of any kind since 1993 came in a Champions Tour event in North Carolina three weeks ago. That was a little of eye-opening, Jay said.
I played in Greensboro last week (on the regular tour) and felt pretty low and thought I was a little overwhelmed on that tour, so I didn't know what to think this week,' Haas said at the time, just after he had won the event. 'But I came here with a little better attitude, and I liked the golf course from the start.'
Slowly, but surely, hes been noticing the calendar, noticing that it says he was born back in 1953, realizing that people like Craig Stadler, Mark McNulty, Loren Roberts, Curtis Strange theyve all made the switch.
I don't know, it's hard to turn my back on it when I've played well the last couple years, Haas confessed. It's hard to say, you know, I've had enough of that. I would love to win over there (on the regular tour). You think I'm still capable. But I need to play better than I played.
And so, the Champions became more his focus. He had started thinking seriously about curtailing his regular-tour schedule back at the end of May at the Senior PGA. He spoke of the reasons he wanted to continue playing the regular tour, but also of his feelings about joining the gents full-time with whom he has spent the majority of his golfing career.
I guess last couple years I had, two years ago I was trying to qualify for the Presidents Cup, last year for the Ryder Cup, Haas said. This year I won't say I don't have goals, but Im not as, I'm not as focused on one certain thing this year.
And I think that's hurt me a little bit. I don't really seem to - I'm just kind of playing. And I think I need to change that. I need to focus on a certain goal that I want to try to achieve this year.
And I think that one of those is to win out here on the Champions Tour, he said last month. That's been a definite goal this year. To qualify for the season-ending, I guess it's called the Schwab Cup, the top 30 to get into that.
Haas is hampered mostly by his lack of length ' he could get it out there only 276 yards this year on the regular tour, and nowadays thats good for only 184th with the younger men. In addition, his putting suddenly turned sour when he was playing with the boys. He is only 152nd in that category.
But among the seniors, his driving distance of 278 doesnt seem so bad ' he hasnt had enough tries to be ranked, but he would be 31st if he had. Thats about where his putting average of 1.781 would place him ' in the 33rd spot.
So now, with only an occasional exception, Haas has launched a new career. Its called the Champions, and Haas has already proven hes a champion.
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Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge
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
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
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.
Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?
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.