One Year Should be Plenty for US Cuppers

By George WhiteNovember 4, 2004, 5:00 pm
Now that the PGA of America has shocked us all by naming Tom Lehman captain of the Ryder Cup team, they ought to stun us again with another change. Isnt it about time we do away with this business of selecting the U.S. Ryder Cuppers over a two-year period?
 
The two-year qualification might have had some justification in the past when you wanted to reward someone for excellence over a longer period. But we have the Presidents Cup now, which is played in the Ryder Cups off-year. That means that every year players have a chance to qualify for some kind of international play. A hot player next year will most likely make the Presidents team. After the Presidents Cup, under this scenario players would qualify all over again for the Ryder Cup.
 
I know, I know the Ryder Cup addresses this issue, in part, by making the Ryder Cup year the bigger year in points. Points carry twice as much weight if they are accumulated the year of the Ryder. But even though the non-Ryder years count only half as much as Ryder years, why have them at all?
 
This wouldnt have made a scintilla of difference this year, agreed. The Europeans won by a whopping nine-point margin, and I dont care if you had 30 people who qualified to play their 12 ' the Europeans still would have won. It was as if the PGA Tour were playing the Hooters Tour. But the question remains, why have the two-year qualifying period at all?
 
Would it make much difference in the team personnel? Only marginally ' this year it might have meant Kenny Perry or Fred Funk gave up his place for, say, Todd Hamilton. Im not going back through all the results of this year, but the fact remains that it wouldnt have been a major change. But in many years, one player could sway the result by two or three points. And a two-or three-point swing usually means the difference in winning and losing.
 
Paul Azinger said it Wednesday: 'In the end, what America needs to do is not get the right captain but get the right point system to get the hottest players; not the best, because they're all great, but the hottest players.'
 
I know the argument that some have advanced ' why cut it off at a year? If you want the hottest golfer, why not make it six months? One month? Heck, the hottest golfer of the moment would probably be the one who shoots the best score this day.
 
But you obviously have to have a cut-off point, and one year seems reasonable. And every year everyone would start out with zero points, even-steven, if the Presidents Cup would change their requirements also.
 
The Presidents Cup, of course, carries on with this two-year silliness, too. But its ranking this year is for 2004 only, and the list of those in the top 10 raises a few eyebrows. John Daly is No. 10. Zach Johnson is No. 8, Steve Flesch is seventh. And way up in the fifth spot is Hamilton.
 
That is what the Ryder Cup rankings might have looked like for this year. Absent from the top 10 are Funk, Jim Furyk, Chris Riley and David Toms. Those guys would still be eligible for a captains selection, of course, if the captain felt they could make a difference.
 
Of course, it wont make any difference if the United States doesnt have the best golfers ' and I mean the golfers who can meld together as a team. Hal Sutton was criticized unmercifully for this years debacle, but maybe we were expecting too much. Lets face it ' Hal might have had an inferior team ' period. If that was really the reason, then Lehman is doomed to a similar fate, and it wont matter a whit how great a captain he is.
 
But consider this year an anomaly ' and if youre a U.S. fan, you better pray that it is. If the next Ryder Cup is normal, it will be decided by a couple of points. And a couple of points might well be provided by the hot golfer.
 
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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.