The Alister McKenzie Connection

By Golf Channel NewsroomApril 8, 2008, 4:00 pm
I was President of Pasatiempo Golf Club in Santa Cruz, California. You may recall that Juli Inkster then Juli Simpson grew up on this course. I had practiced and played many rounds with Juli when she was a fourteen year old and also been instrumental in getting a Womens US Amateur at Pasatiempo. Ill never forget the three-iron Kay Cockrell hit into the tough 16th hole in the final round of that event. Julis husband Brian would later become the head pro at Pasatiempo. I liked and respected our pro Jack Doss and knew he had never played Augusta. I told him if he could get us on Augusta I did not care how long it took or what it cost and that I would pay all his expenses for the trip. A few months later Jack said he had it arranged with a member and that three of us could play. I invited my friend Steve Condrey to go along and we made the trip to Augusta.
I dont remember the exact date but it will be easy enough to find out because as we walked into our hotel the day before we were suppose to play Jack turned on the TV to hear that Hinkley had shot President Regan. Ill never forget Jacks worried look as he told us they would probably cancel our round because of the shooting.
They didnt and the next morning bright and early we were driving down Magnolia lane. After checking in we went to the driving range to find we had it all to ourselves. Our caddies in their white uniforms gave each of us a bag of balls and then they headed out on the range. They picked up every ball we hit for our warm up.
All three of us were nervous as we reached the first tee, but no one was as nervous as Jack. He was a very good golfer, but this really had his attention. He was first to hit and though it was almost impossible he sliced his first shot of the day so far right that it went out of bounds. He still managed a 79 for the day. As we walked down that first fairway we noticed the caddies had these white bags around their necks. As it turned out they were full of grass seed and each time we hit a shot they filled in the divot with new seed.
My friend Steve Condrey was an excellent golfer. He was a champion as a 15 year old in Modesto, California and had shot many rounds in the 60s while still a teenager. He went head to head a few times with Johnny Miller as a junior, but he never beat him. He was now nearing his forties but still rarely shot over 80. As we marked our balls to putt out on the first hole Steve tossed his ball to his caddie to clean it. The ball rolled right up to the caddies feet and the caddie just stood there looking down at the ball. Steve didnt know what to think, but figured he must have insulted the guy in some way. Turns out it was the caddies first day on the job and he had no idea he was to clean the ball until the other caddies began telling him what to do.
Steve hit the green in two on the Par 5 second hole and had an eagle putt. We had not gotten use to the green speeds yet and he almost putted the ball of the green on his first putt. By the time we got to the Par 3 sixth we had settled down and were having the time of our lives. Jack hit a truly beautiful shot and we watched as the ball disappeared from site. We thought it had gone in and Jack started jumping up and down. We realized as we approached the green that there was a hump in the green and that the ball had merely gone over that hump. It was still a great shot and he made birdie.
It is hard to describe just how fast and tricky those greens are. Its an Alister Mckenzie design like Pasatiempo so we were used to fast and tricky greens but Augustas are exceptional. It was one of the most special days of my life and fulfilled a dream. I have played many of the best courses around the world, but Augusta stands tall among them all and if I could only play one more round in my life there is no where I would rather return to.
J.R., Hawaii
Return to all Augusta stories
Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.