One Team Set One More to Go

By Golf Channel NewsroomAugust 17, 2004, 4:00 pm
The Americans now know who will comprise their 2004 Ryder Cup team. But they have to wait two more weeks to see exactly whom they will face.
This weeks World Golf Championships-NEC Invitational could go a long way in determining who makes up the European team that will take on the U.S. at Oakland Hills Sept. 17-19.
Players have two ways of qualifying for the European squad. The top 5 players on the World Points List as of Monday, Aug. 23 will automatically qualify, as will the top 5 not otherwise qualified from the Ryder Cup Points List as of Sunday, Aug. 29.
The World Points List is based on world ranking points awarded since Sept. 4, 2003. The Ryder Cup Points List is akin to a money list, where one euro earned in a European Tour-sanctioned event (since Sept. 4, 2003) equals one point.
Padraig Harrington, Sergio Garcia, Darren Clarke, Miguel Angel Jiminez and Lee Westwood are currently the top five players on the World Points List; all are in the field this week.
If those five maintain their positions, Thomas Levet, Paul Casey, David Howell, Ian Poulter and Paul McGinley would be the top five players on the Ryder Cup Points List; Howell and Poulter are the only ones not in attendance.
Other Europeans in need of a good week in this limited field include: Fredrik Jacobson (sixth World List) and Luke Donald (10th World List).
Thomas Bjorn, Colin Montgomerie and Jesper Parnevik are also in the field, but are really looking to try and impress European captain Bernhard Langer, who is also playing. Langer will make his two captains selections after the top 10 players qualify.
It's up to Bernhard to see whether he's looking for experience or he's looking for players that are particularly on form at the time or whatever the case may be, Montgomerie said at the PGA Championship, where he finished 70th.
I have not just one or two or three guys who should come into the equation, Langer said. There's really probably eight of them who, maybe even more than eight, who have a right to be picked or should be certainly considered, and I understand that. It's going to be a tough one.
Langer addressed the media last week at Whistling Straits and offered some insight to his selection process.
Obviously I need someone who can perform under the most extreme pressure, because that's what Ryder Cup is; it's not a local club championship or anything, as you all know. There's more pressure in that event than any other event, I would think, he said.
I know the greens there at Detroit there are extremely tough ' very, very difficult. So, ideally, you would like to have someone who has a good short game, yet at the same time if the fairways are narrow and the rough is up, you need someone who can hit it straight, as well.
So you need all that. On the other hand, if I have two or three players who are the same and one has a lot of experience and one doesn't, I'd probably prefer the guy who has experience. So there's various things I need to look at. It's not going to be easy.
The NEC Invitational is the second of the three individual WGC events. Tiger Woods won the Accenture Match Play Championship for his only victory of the season. Hes also the defending champion of next months American Express Championship.
Woods has won eight of the 14 WGC tournaments hes entered, three of which have come at the NEC. His trio of NEC titles came from 1999-2001. Hes finished fourth each of the last two years.
Once again, the tournament will be contested at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio. Firestone hosted the event when it was known as the World Series of Golf, from 1976-98. It was also the host each of the first three years after it became affiliated with the WGC. It moved to Sahalle Country Club in 2002, only to return to Firestone last year.
Clarke was the champion a year ago, shooting 12-under 268 to win by four over Jonathan Kaye.
The field is comprised of playing members from the most recent Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup teams, the top 50 from the Official World Golf Ranking, and winners of selected worldwide events.
Related Links:
  • Ryder Cup Points List
  • Full Coverage - WGC-NEC Invitational
  • 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.

    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.