Backspin FInchem Getting Beat Up

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 10, 2007, 4:00 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.
COG THRILL: Tiger Woods shot 8-under 63 Sunday to claim his fourth career BMW Championship title, and in the process move into first place on the FedExCup Playoffs points list.
Backspin It's not surprising that Tiger could skip the first Playoffs event and still have the overall lead going into the finale. What may come as a bit of a shock, however, is the fact that Tiger is now only two victories behind Arnold Palmer on the all-time PGA TOUR wins list. This was Tiger's 60th career TOUR title -- before the age of 32. He also moved his official TOUR earnings to over $75 million.
STAYING ALIVE: Steve Stricker continued his amazing comeback this past week finishing solo third to give himself a chance to win the $10 million bonus. Stricker will enter the finale 3,133 points behind Woods, with 10,300 points going to the TOUR Championship winner.
BackspinTechnically, there are five players still alive to win the big pot, but Rory Sabbatini and K.J. Choi would need separate meteors to fall on Woods, Stricker and Phil Mickelson in order to finish first. It will ultimately come down to those three players, which should make for a compelling finale.
FINCHEM FIRESTORM: PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem had to weather quite the firestorm last week after enduring Phil Mickelsons withdrawal from the BMW; a sudden avalanche of complaints from other TOUR players about the perceived lack of communication between the two parties; and the weekend announcement that heat had wrecked the putting surfaces at East Lake, site of the TOUR Championship.
BackspinFinchem is one cool cat and has done a solid job as commissioner of the PGA TOUR ' well, with a little help from a guy named Eldrick. Sports fans once hated the idea of expanding the Major League Baseball playoffs from four teams to eight. They also initially hated instant replay in football. But Finchem and Co. are without a doubt on the right track with the end-of-the-season playoffs. Tweaks? Sure. Lots of tweaks? Probably so. Going in the right direction? No doubt.
PHILLING LEFT(Y) OUT: After dropping his Finchem bombshell just moments after his impressive win over Woods at the Deutsche Bank, Mickelson officially announced his withdrawal from the BMW Championship on Tuesday.
BackspinOnce again, Mickelson showed that things are never dull when he is in the picture. Mickelson did his best to shoot down FInchem in his post-victory interview, and then acted as if the bullets weren't intended for the commisioner when announcing his BMW withdrawal. Overall, the only person who was wounded in this battle was Mickelson. His absence may have cost him $10 million -- and some good PR.
UMBRELLA, PLEASE: The LPGA Tour's 54-hole NW Arkansas Championship was cursed from the get go. Massive rains left the course unplayable for most of the weekend, forcing the tour to shorten the event to just 18 holes and label it a 'non-event.'
BackspinIt's a small miracle this kind of stuff doesn't happen all the time in golf. When you play a sport that is literally in the hands of Mother Nature, it's a blessing when a full tournament is completed. Just a hunch, but we suspect the 'golfing gods' and Mother Nature must run in the same social circles.
USA! USA! USA!: Jonathan Moore hit a pure 4-iron to 4 feet for eagle on the 18th hole to give the Americans the final point they needed Sunday to capture the Walker Cup, the first time in 16 years they brought back the Cup from across the pond.
BackspinThe victory, bolstered by NCAA champ Jamie Lovemark from USC and Colt Knost, the U.S. Amateur champ, showed their mettle down the stretch, becoming the first U.S. squad to bring home the Cup from foreign soil since a certain team with the likes of Phil Mickelson and David Duval won at Portmarnock back in 1991. Which leads us to this: USA! USA! USA!
YOU WANT DRAMA?: Brett Rumford drained a 30-foot chip from off the green on the first playoff hole to beat Phillip Archer at the Omega European Masters. It was Australian's first victory since the 2004 Irish Open.
BackspinPerhaps lost in the shuffle because of the FedExCup going on in the States is the fact that the European Tour rarely lacks for excitement. The past four weeks are a case in point: Mikko Ilonen birdies the 72nd hole to win the Scandinavian Masters; Ross Fisher wins the KLM Open on the final hole with a birdie; Marc Warren captures the Johnnie Walker Championship with birdie on the second playoff hole; and then Rumfords heroics on Sunday. Shameless plug alert! All this action is seen live each week on the GOLF CHANNEL!
THE LIGHTER SIDE: Sue McMeekin of Satsop and Les Bell of Montesano, Wash., had an usual partner for seven of their nine holes at the Oaksridge Golf Course -- an Emu. Yes, thats right, an Emu. That would be the flightless bird, second only in size among avians to the ostrich, that can grow to more than 5 feet in size.
BackspinIf youve ever ventured out by yourself to play some golf, youve no doubt encountered plenty of odd characters along the way. Some you have enjoyed playing with, while some have made you wish you would have stayed at home and finished mowing the lawn. But an Emu? Who wouldnt love to have that golfing story? The giant bird apparently followed the ladies for quite a while, watching each swing and sometimes walking between them or standing directly in front of them.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Tadd Fujikawa missed the cut last week at the Omega; Fiddlesticks C.C. landed the 2010 USGA Senior Women's Amateur; Robert Allenbys caddie, Matthew 'Bussy' Tritton, quit during the middle of Fridays second round of the BMW Championship.
BackspinFujikawa may have missed the cut but he went out in grand style - making an albatross on his final hole, holing out a 3-wood from 285 yards on the par-5 18th; Normally, the announcement of the site of a future U.S. Senior Women's Amateur event wouldn't garner a spot in the 'In Case You Missed It' files, but when the name of the golf club is called Fiddlesticks, well, you can see why; Allenby seemed to be quite proud of the fact that yet another caddie had quit on him. Heres thinking the Aussie will never be up for a Boss of the Year award.
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    Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

    By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

    The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

    They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

    Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

    Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

    Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

    ''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

    The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

    In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

    Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.

    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.