After Further Review: Call it a comeback for Spieth

By Jason Sobel, Randall Mell, Rex HoggardMarch 31, 2014, 12:30 am

Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. In this edition of After Further Review, our writers weigh in on Jordan Spieth's comeback, the PGA Tour's lackluster leaderboards and the age of parity.

Jordan Spieth didn’t win Sunday, and other than a couple of brief early moments when he got within a few strokes of the lead, he didn’t seriously contend. Even so, he still owned one of the more impressive performances of the weekend.

Three days earlier, after a lengthy fog delay, the 20-year-old opened his Valero Texas Open campaign with four consecutive bogeys and six in his first seven holes. This looked like it could have been the point where, after a whirlwind year that saw him win, reach the Tour Championship, compete in the Presidents Cup and rise to inside the world’s top 20, he finally ran out of gas.

Instead, he played his final 65 holes in 10 under to claim a 10th-place result. It’s not fair to compare any player with Tiger Woods, so I won’t do it. But throughout his career, one of Tiger’s trademarks has been strong finishes even when he doesn’t have his best stuff. It isn’t too soon to wonder whether Spieth will someday have a similar reputation. - Jason Sobel

Who hit the dimmer switch? PGA Tour leaderboards continue to work on low voltage this season. The stars just aren’t lighting them up.

In like a lamb, out like a lion? We’ll see which way spring turns at the Masters, but if this trend continues, look for a surprise winner at Augusta National.

Your winners since the calendar turned to March are Henley, Hadley, Reed, Senden, Every and Bowditch.

If you really love golf, you appreciate the work these players put into trying to make names for themselves. If you really love golf, you also understand the game struggles to grow beyond its niche without star power.

When sports fans outside the niche turn to golf at the majors, they turn to see the game's stars shine. They yawn at just about anything less.

Underdogs, Cinderella stories? They don’t resonate in golf the way they do in other sports. And they aren’t resonating this spring. – Randall Mell

Parity continues on the PGA Tour. Steven Bowditch’s victory over Matt Kuchar (T-4), who at No. 11 was the highest-ranked player in the field at the Valero Texas Open following Phil Mickelson’s withdrawal on Saturday, was by any definition an upset. But given what has transpired on Tour this season the Australian’s victory was the status quo.

Consider that in the last month Russell Henley, who was 109th in the world at the time, upset Rory McIlroy; Patrick Reed (No. 44 at the time) stunned the field at the WGC-Cadillac Championship; and Matt Every (No. 94) slipped by Adam Scott at Bay Hill, Bowditch’s victory is hardly a surprise. It’s simply business as usual. – Rex Hoggard

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.