What We Learned: World-class golf in ... November?

By Jason Sobel, Randall Mell, Ryan LavnerNovember 17, 2013, 3:30 pm

Each week, GolfChannel.com offers thoughts on 'what we learned' from the world of golf. In this edition, our writers weigh in on the surprising world-class golf that we are witnessing so late in the year and Adam Scott's crowded closet.

It’s Nov. 17, and world-class golf is being played all over the globe. One of the last weekends of 2013 has this scribe wishing the calendar would already flip to 2014.

Henrik Stenson, the world No. 3, won the Dubai double dip to cap one of the best seasons in recent memory.

Adam Scott, the world No. 2, captured the second leg of the Aussie Slam and his fourth title of the year.

Lexi Thompson, still just 18, earned her third career victory on the LPGA, and her second in her last four starts

Harris English, 24, validated his victory five months ago inMemphis with an emphatic four-shot romp in Mexico.

These were the kind of performances that made you think their best – majors, anyone? – is yet to come. Bring on 2014. - Ryan Lavner

It was the incomparable Happy Gilmore who once uttered the immortal, immoral words, "Gold jacket, green jacket. Who gives a ..." Well, you know the rest. As it turns out, the answer to his rhetorical question is Adam Scott. That's who. Watching the world's second-ranked player knock down flagsticks (almost literally on the 17th hole) to successfully defend his Australian Masters title, one thought came to mind: How does this guy not win every week? The easy answer to yet another rhetorical question is his putter, but the world's best ball-striker only needs to be halfway decent with his broomstick to earn trophies these days – or jackets, as the case may be. And he isn't stopping anytime soon. Scott has 25 months to keep piling up wins before he has to pull anchor. The next one may not be too far off, either. With two legs of the Aussie triple crown already down, Scott said with a smile, "You can't win 'em all if you don't win the first two." That's a quote even Happy Gilmore would like. – Jason Sobel

If Lexi Thompson keeps warming to her putter, there will be a new force to reckon with in the women’s game.

Since making a simple change in her setup with her putter two months ago, Thompson, 18, has won two of her last four LPGA starts, including Sunday’s Lorena Ochoa Invitational. The win will likely vault her into the top 10 in the Rolex world rankings for the first time, bumping her over Cristie Kerr and Paula Creamer as the second highest ranked American behind Stacy Lewis. Notably, Thompson beat Lewis in a back-nine duel in Mexico this weekend, boosting Thompson’s confidence and Lewis’ awareness that there may be another force to reckon with in the women’s game. - 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 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.

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.