After Further Review: What's Wie's future?

By Randall MellApril 25, 2016, 2:28 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds. 

On another injury-related WD by Michelle Wie ...

At year’s start, swing coach David Leadbetter delivered a tough-love message to Michelle Wie. “I love her like a daughter, and we can say things to each other,” Leadbetter told GolfChannel.com. “I said, `Now is the time, young lady, when you need to show what you’re capable of.’”

That’s what makes her continuing struggle so frustrating for everyone who believes she still has more potential to lift the women’s game to new heights than anyone else playing today, that she has more of the charisma and intangibles required to draw new fans from beyond the sport’s niche than anyone else. Wie started this year finally healthy again, but it’s just not happening for her, and Sunday’s withdrawal just adds to the uncertainty over whether it ever will. Her WD comes on the heels of her missed cut at the Lotte Championship in her Hawaiian home. It marks her fourth MC or WD in seven starts in full field events this year.

Wie’s body looked like it was finally strong enough this year to allow her to build on that great return of promise she flashed two years ago winning the Lotte Championship and U.S. Women’s Open, but we don’t know now if her body’s going to hold up this year or even if her body’s the real problem. She withdrew from the Swinging Skirts Classic after 15 holes Sunday with neck spasms. She was 11 over for the day when she walked of the course.

Is the body giving away again, or is it something even more troubling? We don’t know, and maybe she doesn’t, either, but the timing’s troublesome because we’re on the verge of a historically important run of big events in the women’s game. Now is the time, as Leadbetter said. There’s never been a better time for Wie to show the world what she’s really capable of. – Randall Mell


On players snubbing the Olympics ...

First it was Vijay Singh citing a need to focus on the PGA Tour. Then it was Adam Scott who said his decision was based on a condensed schedule, followed by Louis Oosthuizen. Overall, the three high-profile no-shows from this year’s Olympics are concerning, but not unexpected nor ruinous.

Golf’s return to the Games was never about the impact it would have on the developed nations, like Australia and South Africa. The real measure of success will be on how the Games will influence the growth of golf in undeveloped countries.

“If I’m going to finish third [at the Masters], I’d prefer a bronze medal. For Paraguay, it’s going to be much bigger than a third at the Masters,” said Fabrizio Zanotti, who is currently qualified to play for Paraguay. “For Paraguay, for sure. I think Paraguay only has one [Olympic] medal in the history, in soccer. It’s going to be huge.” – Rex Hoggard


On a refreshing #SB2K16 ...

I’m not afraid to admit it, I loved the hell out of #SB2K16. I could not get enough.

Watching Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas and Smylie Kaufman all be unafraid to share their fun Bahamas vacation on social media was refreshing on so many levels. It even made me create a Snapchat account for the first time. I checked it about 50 times each day.

Now, their respective agents may not have been too pleased that they were each so forthcoming, but there was nothing wrong with anything that anyone did. Four millionaires living the dream in paradise, playing golf shirtless and shoeless, dancing, pulling pranks, doing impressions of various golf announcers, etc., is all good, clean fun. The Rory McIlroy twist was a hoot too.

For my money, Kaufman was #SB2K16’s leading man, which is what Thomas wrote his postmortem. Spieth was the top dog and Fowler was a close second, but we got a great glimpse of Kaufman’s personality. He’ll shine with media for years to come if he can win from time to time.

I was most pleased that I didn’t see anyone hammering them for their antics or accusing them of being elitist. Boys will be boys and we were fortunate to catch a sliver of the action. I’ve already set a notice on my calendar for #SB2K17.  Jay Coffin


What he said ...

Too often we rail against the stars in any sport for being too guarded. Too corporate, too hesitant to show their true colors or any semblance of personality.

Well, thanks to the greatest bro-cation in the history of Snapchat, that claim can't be leveled against the likes of Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas and Smylie Kaufman. The quartet used social media this week to offer a glimpse into their epic getaway, a far cry from the pressure-cooker they experienced at Augusta National just a couple weeks ago.

There was song, dance, drink - even a found dog. But most of all, there was a lighter side to show that these ultra-talented 20-somethings don't take themselves too seriously once they step outside the ropes.

It was a refreshing and enjoyable window into their lives, as they partied it up in the Bahamas as you'd expect most others would do (or would like to have done) at their age. Expect the media credentialing line for Baker's Bay in 2017 to rival anything we'll see later this summer at Oakmont.  Will Gray

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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.