Yin, Ernst picked for Solheim team; Creamer left out

By Randall MellAugust 6, 2017, 8:27 pm

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – The U.S. and European Solheim Cup teams will re-engage their intensifying rivalry with some fresh new faces in the mix.

American captain Juli Inkster announced Austin Ernst and rookie Angel Yin as her two picks Sunday to fill out her 12-player roster. They will join Danielle Kang as first-time Solheim Cup participants.

European captain Annika Sorenstam announced LPGA rookies Madelene Sagstrom of Sweden and Emily Pedersen of Denmark as two of her four picks. They joined Solheim Cup veterans Anna Nordqvist of Sweden and Caroline Masson of Germany as captain’s picks.

One-third of Sorenstam’s team will be playing a Solheim Cup for the first time, and they will do it in challenging conditions on foreign soil.

England’s Georgia Hall and Florentyna Parker made the team as the top two qualifiers on the Ladies European Tour points list. Neither has played a Solheim Cup before.

The Americans will meet Europe Aug. 18-20 at Des Moines Golf & Country Club.

Eight players made the American team off the U.S. Solheim Cup points list: 1. Lexi Thompson; 2. Stacy Lewis; 3. Gerina Piller; 4 Cristie Kerr; 5. Jessica Korda; 6. Danielle Kang; 7. Michelle Wie; 8. Brittany Lang.

U.S. Solheim Cup team records

European Solheim Cup team records

Two players made it off the U.S. Solheim world rankings list: 1. Brittany Lincicome; 2. Lizette Salas.

Notably, for the first time since 2003, the Americans will field a team that won’t include Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel. They didn’t qualify and weren’t captain’s picks.

Inkster was asked how difficult it was to tell Creamer.

“She was upset,” Inkster said. “She’s a competitor. She wanted to be on the team. I would be upset, too. I explained to her why I picked these two here.”

One-third of this American team wasn’t part of the squad in Germany. Alison Lee and Angela Stanford helped the United States two years ago but aren’t part of this team after failing to qualify.

Four players made the European team off the Ladies European Tour points list: 1. Georgia Hall; 2. Florentyna Parker; 3. Mel Reid; 4. Jodi Ewart Shadoff.

Four players made it off the European world rankings list, the four highest ranked players who didn’t make it on points: 1. Carlota Ciganda; 2. Suzann Pettersen; 3. Charley Hull; 4. Karine Icher.

Notably, Inkster and Sorenstam both submitted a protected name Sunday as an alternate that could serve as a third captain’s pick if one of their players is sick, injured or unable to play. It’s relevant with Korda mending a forearm injury and Nordqvist contending with a bout of mononucleosis.

The alternate’s names weren’t revealed.

The captains have until the opening ceremony begins on Aug. 17 to replace a player with the alternate, or until 5 p.m. on that day, whichever comes first.

While there was much drama with players making late runs to make the American team, nobody cracked the top eight in the U.S. Solheim point standings or the top two on the world rankings list.

Thompson will be the only top-10 player in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings in this year’s Solheim Cup, but the nature of the intensifying rivalry between the United States and Europe in the biennial international team event makes that a mere footnote.

The Solheim Cup may be the one and only true rivalry today in the women’s game.

The Solheim Cup’s intensity grew even more with the controversy that ignited a historic American Sunday singles comeback in Germany two years ago.

The Europeans looked as if they were rolling to a rout for their third consecutive victory against the Americans when a furor erupted over whether Pettersen and the Euros should have conceded a putt at the end of fourballs in St. Leon-Rot. The incident angered and rallied the Americans before singles play.

The controversy flared after Lee scooped up her ball thinking an 18-inch putt to halve a hole was conceded near the end of a fourball match, with Pettersen insisting it wasn’t.

The Euros went on to win that match to take a 10-6 lead into singles, only to watch a highly motivated American team mount the biggest comeback in Solheim Cup history.

The controversy set off a debate pitting the Rules of Golf against sportsmanship.

Record Solheim Cup crowds are expected with Pettersen and the Euros coming to Des Moines in less than two weeks and team captains expected to put a focus on sportsmanship.

“Everyone learns from mistakes or incident,” Sorenstam said. “I think we are ready to move on and focus on the good parts, and just let the golf showcase itself.”

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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.