From Start to Finish

By Mercer BaggsSeptember 7, 2009, 4:00 pm
Steve Stricker

 
MR. SEPTEMBER: Steve Stricker birdied his final two holes Monday to win the Deutsche Bank Championship and take over the top spot on the FedEx Cup points list. He also moved to No. 2 on the Official World Golf Ranking. Stricker edged Scott Verplank, who birdied his final four holes, and Jason Dufner by one shot.
 
Backspin Stricker now has two wins, two more top-3s, and a total of nine top-20 finishes in 10 playoff starts. He's also played on victorious Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup teams over the past two years. Who loves golf during football season more than him? Someone should tell him that he can still play in official events after the Tour Championship.

Padraig Harrington at the WGC-Bridgestone

 
THE BANK WAS OPEN: Padraig Harrington was one of eight players who had at least a share of the lead during the final round of the Deutsche Bank Championship. However, an errant driver, which led to a bogey at 10 and a double bogey at 12, relegated him to a tie for third.
 
Backspin Harrington seemed to seize control of a wide open tournament with four birdies over his first seven holes Monday. But his inexplicable stumble after the turn kept the Irishman winless on the season. This is just the latest in a recent string of final-round mishaps. After watching him close out last year's British Open and PGA Championship, it's hard to believe that this is the same Harrington.

Tiger Woods

 
NOT THROWING IN THE BALL ... ER, TOWEL: Tiger Woods fired an 8-under 63 Monday to finish tied for 11th at the Deutsche Bank Championship. The score was the low round of the day by two strokes. His round included eight birdies, one eagle and two bogeys [both on the back nine].
 
Backspin If you've ever wondered why Woods doesn't play more events each season, here's the reason: He doesn't have the temperment to deal with mediocrity. That's been pretty evident the last couple of weeks, including Monday when he didn't seem overly pleased with his score. Woods doesn't play for fun; he's plays to win. He has his routine, and that routine has translated into great success. Assuming he plays in the final two playoff events, that will make seven tournaments in an eight-week span. That's overkill for Woods. Right now he's tired, he's grumpy and all he can think about is not playing golf.

Suzann Pettersen

 
TEXT BOOK: Suzann Pettersen ended a 43-event winless drought on the LPGA by cruising to a five-shot victory at the the CN Canadian Women's Open. Pettersen claimed her sixth career tour title and first since 2007, when she won five times.
 
Backspin Pettersen said she used a text message from her Nike stablemate Tiger Woods as motivation prior to the final round. Wonder what Woods' digital Rolodex looks like. Think he just sends text messages to other famous people all the time? He probably just gets bored and shoots off messages like, 'What's up, dude?' to Mandela.
 

 
Anna Rawson

 
GOOD BEGINNING: Anna Rawson opened in 7-under 64 to lead after the first round of the Canadian Women's Open. The Australian golfer/model finished with rounds of 73-72-70 to tie for 18th.
 
Backspin The result was Rawson's second top-20 of the season and moved her to 92nd on the money list, with the top 90 earning tour cards for next season. Rawson has talent and good looks. Success for her would mean additional success for the LPGA. But the tour needs more than pretty faces; it's needs personality. Suzann Pettersen has plenty of that.
 

Vijay Singh

 
VIJAY DOES NOT MEAN VICTORY: The FedEx Cup playoffs are halfway done and only 70 players remain in contention for the $10 million bonus. Not among them is defending champion Vijay Singh. Last year's FedEx Cup champion started the week in 81st position and could not improve enough to stay alive.
 
Backspin Unlike last year, the 2009 FedEx Cup champion is still to be determined with two events remaining. Yet, similarly to last year, these playoffs don't seem overly compelling ' even with a fairly exciting final round at the Deutsche Bank. There is still much work to be done.



Tiger Woods and Ernie Els

 
THANKS, BUDDY: Ernie Els, fresh off his runner-up showing at The Barclays, said he was feeling great and looking forward to possibly earning his first win of the season at the Deutsche Bank. He then missed the cut. To add insult to injury, Tiger Woods took a swipe at Els saying he hasn't worked as hard physically as he needed to in order to rebound properly from ACL surgery.

 
Backspin Woods knows what he's talking about since he, too, underwent surgery to repair a torn ACL in his knee. He also knows Els. The Big Easy turns 40 this year. His three-year plan to catch Woods atop the world ranking never panned out, but he still has time to add to his Hall-of-Fame resume ' maybe even another major championship. It just might require a Tiger Woods work ethic.

Ava Madelyn McGee

 
OH, BABY: Annika Sorenstam gave birth to her first child last week. Sorenstam and her husband, Mike McGee, announced that Ava Madelyn McGee was born at 3:30 a.m. Tuesday. She weighed 6 pounds and 10 ounces and measured 19 inches.
 
Backspin Welcome to motherhood, Annika. No victory will be as cherished, no missed putt as frustrating, nothing more challenging or rewarding than raising your child. Word of advice from a father of twin girls: Take a deep breath, exit the room and then return. You'll understand what that means in due time.

 
Jeff Sluman

 
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Jeff Sluman defended his title at the Champions Tour's Wal-Mart First Tee Open at Pebble Beach. ... Alexander Noren won for the first time on the European Tour at the Omega European Masters. ... Troy Merritt won for the first time on the Nationwide Tour at the Mexico Open. ... Ryo Ishikawa claimed his fifth Japan Tour title with a five-shot victory at the Fujisankei Classic.
 
Backspin Sluman used an ace at the par-3 fifth hole to help him hold onto his trophy. ... Noren used a chip-in eagle en route to his victory. ... Merritt made a 20-foot birdie putt on the first hole of sudden death to claim his maiden title. ... It will interesting to see if the teen gets the nod from International Presidents Cup captain Greg Norman.

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 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.