Woods Among Greats to Win Western

By Golf Channel NewsroomJune 28, 2004, 4:00 pm
With a full century in the books, the 101st Cialis Western Open begins this week at Cog Hill Golf & Country Club in Lemont, Ill.
 
The tournament is the longest-running regular event on the PGA Tour, and the second oldest in the country, trailing the U.S. Open by three years.
 
While the Players Championship may be regarded as the fifth major, no tournament outside of the four major championships has a pedigree comparable to the one at the Western.
 
Nearly every notable name to play professionally has counted the Western Open among his victories. Its list of past champions includes: Hagen, Sarazen, Nelson, Hogan, Snead, Palmer, Nicklaus, Watson and Woods.
 
Theres also Armour, Mangrum, Middlecoff, Casper, Irwin, Kite, Crenshaw and Price.
 
The great ones win the Western; and many win it again -- and sometimes again and again and again.
 
Walter Hagen won it five times; Ben Hogan twice; Sam Snead twice; Arnold Palmer twice; Billy Casper four times; Jack Nicklaus twice; Tom Watson three times; Nick Price twice; Tiger Woods three times.
 
Woods won his first title in 1997, and then again in 99. He added a third victory last year.
 
Its gradually gotten easier for him in this event.
 
He held a share of the 54-hole lead in 97, before shooting a Sunday 68 to win by three. Two years later, he was tied after two rounds, led outright after three, and won by three. And last year, he led from start to finish, tying the 18-hole course record (63 in the first round), setting the 54-hole tournament scoring record (18-under 198), and tying the 72-hole tournament record (21-under 267) along the way.
 
It would be hard to believe it could get an easier this year ' especially given the way Woods has been playing of late. Even when he has been contending, hes made it very difficult on himself to do so.
 
Woods entered last years Western answering similar questions to the ones he is facing this week.
 
I'm walking around, people are asking me that question: when are you going to start playing good again, he said in his pre-tournament press conference a year ago.
 
But while the questions still persist, they may be more legitimate this time around.
 
Woods had three wins heading to Cog Hill in 2003; he has one this year. He was hitting 64.3 percent of his fairways this time a year ago; hes down to 57.6 percent this year. He was hitting almost 68 percent of his greens in regulation; now its just over 64 percent.
 
Believe it or not, even his scrambling stats are down this year. He saved par 63.2 percent of the time when failing to hit a green in regulation last year at this time. Hes done so 59.1 percent so far this year.
 
Putting has been his lone savior and the only thing that has kept him competitive ' other than his desire. He is ranked in the top 5 in putting average per green hit in regulation, which has kept him in the top 5 in scoring average; though, he led the tour in scoring average last year at this time.
 
Price is the last person to successfully defend his Western title, doing so in 1994. Prior to him, it was Nicklaus in 68.
 
Woods wasnt the only one who won at the Western in 2003. Eight players qualified for the British Open based on their finishes at Cog Hill, including Ben Curtis.
 
You know how that worked out for him.
 
This year, however, the Western will not serve as a British Open qualifier. While the Western winner will get a free pass to Royal Troon in two weeks, the Royal and Ancient Club decided to use an actual qualifying tournament in the United States to fill up spots.
 
Twelve players will qualify for the Open Championship Monday from a 36-hole event at Congressional Country Club.
 
It's still a big week, however, for those trying to play their ways to Scotland. Seven players will be exempted into the Open through a special cumulative money list that includes earnings from the Players Championship and the five most recent PGA Tour events, culminating at the Western Open.
 
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  • 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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    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.

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    Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

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    The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.