After Further Review: Spieth paid ultimate compliment

By Jason Sobel, Randall Mell, Rex HoggardDecember 8, 2014, 1:00 am

Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. In this edition of After Further Review, our writers weigh in Jordan Spieth's 10-shot runaway at the Hero World Challenge, the secrecy of the Ryder Cup task force and Cheyenne Woods earning her way onto the LPGA tour next year through Q-School.

During the third round of the Hero World Challenge, announcer Roger Maltbie on the NBC telecast summarized Jordan Spieth’s game thusly: “There’s no outstanding particular strength to his game. He’s not a power hitter, he’s not the straightest hitter, he’s not the best iron player, he’s not the best putter. But when you start putting everything together and his management of a golf course and of his game, it adds up to very efficient golf.”

Full disclosure: I was on the course at the time and didn’t hear the intonation nor the context of this comment. But the reaction of many observers hinted that it was somehow disrespectful to his talent level.

Call me old-fashioned, but I’d like to believe that analyzing a player as being consistent across the board is hardly an uninformed jab. Based on the statistics, Maltbie wasn’t wrong – although Spieth’s recent putting performances could pose a future argument to the opinion that he’s “not the best.”

The truth is, explaining that a player who doesn’t bomb it like Bubba Watson or hit towering iron shots like Rory McIlroy or own a mercurial short game like Phil Mickelson can still beat the world’s best players on guts and guile is far from an insult. In some ways, it’s the ultimate compliment. - Jason Sobel

Steve Stricker, one of the most affable and accommodating PGA Tour types in front of a microphone, was asked a relatively innocent question about this week’s initial meeting of the U.S. Ryder Cup task force. His answer seemed to set the standard for how the 11-member task force plans to handle its business.

“My lips are sealed, buddy. I'm not going to be the one spilling the beans,” he smiled.

There are government secrets that aren’t as well protected as the possible contents of this week’s meeting. After enduring one its most high-profile and public losses at this year’s Ryder Cup the PGA of America plans to find the answers in private. - Rex Hoggard

The LPGA got another nice jolt Sunday to end a season filled with wonderful jolts.

Cheyenne Woods, niece to Tiger Woods, might be the only woman in the game who has the potential to “move the needle” more than Michelle Wie. Six months after Wie won the U.S. Women’s Open, Woods made news at LPGA Q-School on Sunday by winning her tour card. She’ll join the LPGA as a full member next year.

In a year where the LPGA delivered one compelling storyline after another, Q-School didn’t disappoint as an exclamation point on the year. Woods will be among a really strong rookie class joining the tour in 2015. Australia’s Minjee Lee, UCLA’s Alison Lee, Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn, England's Charley Hull, South Korea’s Ha Na Jang and Japan’s Sakura Yokomine will vie for what should be an intense battle for Rookie of the Year. - Randall Mell

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.

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.