Cheering Champs Booing Tiger

By Mercer BaggsNovember 23, 2009, 11:04 pm

Anna Nordqvist

 
SHORT AND SWEDE: Anna Nordqvist shot 7-under 65 Monday for a two-stroke triumph at the LPGA Tour Championship. The tournament was plagued with rain delays, but eventually finished a day late and 18 holes short. Nordqvist, who also won the McDonald's LPGA, had six birdies in a seven-hole stretch Monday to lead her to victory
 
BackspinAll things considered, it wasn't a half-bad ending for the LPGA. Despite the weather woes and tournament reduction, they still had a decent final round, which included a nail-biter for Player of the Year [more on that later]. Nordqvist actually should have won more than just this tournament; she should have won Rookie of the Year honors. But thanks to a quirky system, that trophy went to Jiyai Shin.
Lorena Ochoa

 
GOOD TILL THE LAST SHOT: The LPGA Player of the Year award nearly came down to the final stroke of the season. After Lorena Ochoa birdied the par-4 18th at The Houstonian, Jiyai Shin needed to chip in moments later to claim the title. Shin narrowly missed and Ochoa was handed her fourth consecutive POY trophy by a single point.
 
Backspin It was fun to watch the final few holes Monday at the LPGA Tour Championship, but a points system should never determine who is the best player each season. Ochoa won three times, had 13 top-10s, won the scoring title and was fourth on the money list. Shin won the money title, was second in scoring, had three victories and 12 top-10s. Statistically, they are deadlocked. It should take human judgement – people who bore witness to the season – to determine who was the best.

Michael Whan

 
THERE WILL BE GOLF: The LPGA announced its 2010 schedule Wednesday with its fewest events in 40 years. A total of 24 tournaments will be contested next year, down from 27 this year and 34 two years ago. The season kicks off in Thailand Feb. 18, and concludes at a site to be determined for the Tour Championship Nov. 21. In all, there are 13 events scheduled for the U.S., 10 outside the States and one TBD.
 
BackspinNew commissioner Michael Whan has a schedule for next year, so that's good. Unfortunately it has the consistency of a Kirstie Alley diet. There are numerous two- and three-week gaps between events. There is a month between the second and third tournaments of the season. And there are four weeks in between the first major and the the next start. The longest the tour goes during a single stretch is five weeks during the summer. Actually, if the PGA Tour had this kind of schedule, Tiger Woods might play every tournament.

Michelle Wie

 
WON AND DONE: One week after winning her first LPGA event, Michelle Wie withdrew after the first round of the LPGA Tour Championship. Wie cited an injured left ankle as the culprit. An MRI showed no serious damage.
 
Backspin This past week – with Wie and the weather – was a microcosm of what the tour will face in 2010:  no momentum. The tour is in dire need of a dominant force [no one more desirable than Wie], but it's going to be difficult for anyone to maintain a hot streak next year and break from the pack with all of the stops and starts. It will be like taking a road trip with my mom.

Lee Westwood

 
RACE KING: Lee Westwood closed in 66-64 to capture the Dubai World Championship and the season-long Race to Dubai. Westwood started the week trailing Rory McIlroy on the money list, and was playing catch-up on the leaderboard through two rounds. But a brilliant weekend performance gave the Englishman his second career money title by nearly $900,000 over McIlroy, who finished third in Dubai.
 
Backspin Nick Faldo may have been knighted recently, but does he own a scepter? Westwood does. He also owns $2.75 million, with $1.25 million coming from his tournament victory and the rest coming as a bonus for winning the season-long title. Westwood deserve a ton a credit. He said prior to the start of play that winning would take care of everything. Every athlete says that. Westwood, however, actually delivered.

Doug Barron

 
JUST SAY NO: A U.S. magistrate denied Doug Barron’s request for a temporary restraining order that would have allowed the 40-year-old journeyman to play in the second stage of Q-School. Barron became the first player suspended by the tour – for one year – for violating their anti-doping policy.
 
BackspinThis was plenty interesting, and I do feel badly for Barron, but the one thing that sticks out most in my mind is: Were there really 10 cases of players being busted for recreational drug use, as alleged by Barron's lawyer, and not punished by commissioner Tim Finchem? If so, that's a huge shame. The Tour is so protective of their perceived image of perfection that they are willing to sweep any bit of ugliness under the rug. And then put a couch on top of the rug.

Tom Watson

 
THE WATSON RULE: The Royal & Ancient announced Monday a new exemption status that will allow Tom Watson a chance to compete in the Open Championship until at least 2014. Under the new rule, any past Open champion who finished inside the top 10 at any time over the previous five years will receive a five-year exemption.
 
Backspin Good move by the R&A. Watson's near win at Turnberry was easily the highlight of the 2009 season. The Open, above all other majors, allows past champions – guys who know how to work the rota venues – a chance to contend. The Masters used to be that way, until Augusta National grew into a monster that eats the aged. Even if this rule is never applied again, it's worth it just to have Watson back for one – or five – more years.
Tiger Woods

 
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Tiger Woods was an honorary captain at the Stanford-California football game Saturday. ... Mark Brooks defeated Rickie Fowler to win the Pebble Beach Invitational. ... Michael Maggi, an energy trader from Houston, bid $22,000 to play in Wednesday' pro-am with Michelle Wie.
 
Backspin Woods was also inducted into the Stanford Athletics Hall of Fame. California, however, won The Big Game, 34-28. He was also booed ... Brooks has won this tournament three times. We're guessing he still won't be favored over Woods come next year's Open at Pebble. ... How the hell do you trade energy? Who is he, Ra?

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 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

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

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.