Anything Tiger Can Do

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 3, 2008, 5:00 pm
Editor's Note: In Backspin, the editorial staff takes a look back on the biggest stories from the past week in golf -- with a spin.
NOT SO FAST MY FRIENDS: Lorena Ochoa made her LPGA season debut at the HSBC Women's Champions in Singapore and showed aboslutely no signs of rust as she blew away the field, winning by a whopping Tiger-like and career best 11 strokes.
BackspinAfter seeing Sorenstam and Creamer win the first two events of the LPGA Tour season, there was no doubt Ochoa was itching to get into the mix. The final leaderboard looked like a dream scenario for golf fans with the names Sorenstam, Creamer, Morgan Pressel, Stacy Prammanasudh and even Karrie Webb all positioned in the top-10. The only problem was Ochoa decided to go Tiger on everyone, thus sucking the air out of what could have been a race to the finish with Tour's top stars. Shame on Lorena for being so good, so early in the season.

WORTH THE WAIT?: Ernie Els got off to a hot start in the final round of the Honda Classic and then held on to claim his first PGA TOUR victory since the 2004 season. The win vaulted Els pass Steve Stricker in the world rankings, right behind Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
Backspin The golfing gods must have figured it was time to even things out for the Big Easy. His share of misfortune and missed opportunities over the last couples years has been well documented and this time Els watched as others made the mistakes coming down the stretch. Just two days into March, the TOUR has already seen Tiger, Lefty and now Els all visit the winner's circle - just the kind of build up we want to see heading towards Augusta National.

FREDDIE AND THE SHARK: The Presidents Cup will have two new captains as it was announced that Greg Norman will head the International team and Fred Couples the United States squad. The two will become the first captains who have competed in the matches Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player were captains at the last three competitions.
BackspinThe announcement this week moves the Presidents Cup into a new era as it said goodbye to two icons from the '60s and '70s, Nicklaus and Player, and welcomed two stars from the '80s and '90s in Freddy and the Shark. This was an honor clearly not lost on Couples, who said, Not in my wildest dreams did I think this would happen. And Robin Williams as a vice-captain should be fun.

CUT IT OUT ALREADY: The PGA TOUR announced early last week that the much-maligned new cut rule that went into effect at the start of the year has been altered and will now have a 54-hole cut if the situation arises in which 78 or more players are on the number.
BackspinThe new cut rule has not only been controversial to many players, but also quite confusing to many fans as well. Perhaps best to sum up the seemingly ongoing sticky situation is none other than TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem, stating, 'I just think we didnt think through the new rule. Its hard to understand. People see players making the cut and not playing. Nobodys happy with that.' Mark one up in the accountability department for the commish.

WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR YOU?: New Zealand's Mark Brown heated up on the back nine on Sunday - posting birdies at the 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th - to pull away and win the Johnnie Walker Classic in New Delhi, India. It was Brown's first career European Tour title.
BackspinThe amazing story here is the fact that Brown gave up on the game several years ago after he became completely frustrated with his lack of good results - to the point of taking an office job. But the lure of the game once again came calling and the 33-year-old found his way back out onto the course in 2006 and in just over two years remarkably found himself in the winner's circle. Said Brown in an understatement, 'It's a dream come true.'

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: David Duval missed the cut at the Honda Classic, shooting 72-78; Billy Walters, who teamed with Fredrik Jacobson to win the pro-am portion of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, was cleared by officials concerning the authenticity of his stated handicap of 11.
BackspinA story nobody wants to hear, but Duval has played in five events in 2008 and has missed the cut in four and withdrew from the other. In 11 rounds has yet to break 70, this from the former No. 1 player in the world; As reported by GOLF CHANNEL's Brian Hewitt, the well-know Vegas golf hustler actually didn't even break 80 in any of his rounds and attributed their record win as a classic ham and egg effort. Must have been one tasty omelet.

Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Honda Classic
  • Full Coverage - HSBC Women's Champions
  • Full Coverage - Johnnie Walker Classic
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  • 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.