The 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass: Never a dull moment

By Brandon TuckerSeptember 5, 2012, 8:12 pm

Right: Bill Chapman, Michael Bresnahan and Jim Wright take dead aim on the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass Wednesday.

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Golf Channel Am Tour Senior Nationals competitors win a $500 gift card to Golf Galaxy with a hole-in-one this week. What I saw Sr. Sarazen competitor Bill Shirley do this morning on the 17th, while not an ace, deserves at least a cold beer.

Any golf fan has probably seen thousands of shots hit at No. 17 on TV thanks to The PLAYERS. But you've probably never seen any played from pine straw. Leave that to the amateurs. 

This morning, from 138 yards, Shirley hit a line drive well left of the green. It bounced off the walking path and sailed over the grassy knoll. Check out where he played his second: 

His ball landed on the green and, somehow, checked up pretty good to stay on the top shelf, about 15 feet from the hole. Shirley bogeyed and escaped what appeared to be imminent disaster.

'I couldn't see anything so there was no intimidation,' recalled Shirley. 'It was like I was in the backyard.'

Earlier, the 8:24 tee time of Vic Ferraris, Ken Downing and Gregg Smith arrived at the 17th tee to witness the group ahead of them having a rough go, to say the least: all three players had missed land with their first tee shot, one player needed three shots to reach the green and another player took seven drops before finding Land, Ho!

'You know you're in trouble when you're talking to the ball,' muttered Downing as he watched the carnage and accompanying pep talks to little white inanimate objects at the drop zone from the tee, which may have been of interest to any masters psychology students. Downing, despite seeing plenty of splooshes, still managed to hit his tee shot stiff.

Ferraris, however, missed with his first tee ball, but chose to reload on the tee.

'That drop area's disaster waiting to happen,' he said as he reloaded on the tee rather than walk up for the delicate wedge shot. He chose wisely, finding the green on his second.

The Stadium course does its thing

Pete and Alice Dye may be interested in how the Snead flight (handicaps 20 and above) fared on their creation in the opening round Tuesday. To sum it up, the back nine, and particularly the infamous island green, destroyed many competitors chances with three days to go. 

The first day ended with the flight averaging 7.67 on the 17th, which ended up being the toughest hole on the course, edging out No. 9, 11 and 16 (all par 5s). There were some 'outliers' to put it lightly on 17: 37 'others,' including a '32' and a '24'. In total, the Stadium claimed 433 'others,' more than there were birdies, pars, bogeys and double bogeys combined. The average score was 112.

Certified sports psychologists are standing by...

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 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.