Greenbriers Old White may steal the show

By Scott WalkerJuly 28, 2010, 8:03 pm
There is a dirty little secret that the best TV executives know: Sometimes golf fans are only watching the golf course.

Yes, we love stars like Tiger and Phil, who make marvelous shots on command, but the golf course is always the co-star. The cut 3-wood that Tiger hit to end his third round at the U.S. Open would have been a good shot anywhere else. But the shot had added significance because it came at the iconic 18th hole at Pebble Beach.

Here is a not-so-dirty little secret: Players choose most of their based upon the golf courses. That leads us to the Old White Course at The Greenbrier this week. It is the first course designed on the property (C.B. McDonald with Seth Raynor in 1914), but is lesser known by the current generation than the adjoining Greenbrier Course.

The Greenbrier Course is the one that has hosted the big events in the resort’s history (Ryder Cup, Solheim Cup, Champions Tour events), but it is only being used by select resort guests this week. That is how deep the roster of courses is at the Greenbrier (4 in total -- you can see some pictures on my Twitter feed -- @scottwalkerontv).

So why wouldn’t the PGA Tour use such an historic venue? Slugger White is vice president of rules and competitions for the Tour. The West Virginia native told me that the decision to use the Old White Course was a gut feel while touring the property a few years ago. That turned out to be a popular decision by the players this week.

“I am a big Seth Raynor fan. I like squared off greens and squared off bunkers. You don't see that a lot around here,” said Brandt Snedeker.

Jim Furyk was also attracted to the McDonald/Raynor design that was updated by Lester George in 2006.

“I am a classic golf course connoisseur,” added Johnson Wagner, who got to see these courses a few times while he played at Virginia Tech, which is about 70 miles away from The Greenbrier.

There are quirks on the course that some may never accept. The valley that runs through the third green (a classic Biarritz green) is one you can hide your car in, as Wagner said in his news conference. There is a blind approach to the 13th green. And there is a “boomerang” ridge that sits in the middle of the par-3 finishing hole that has the players’ attention.

“If someone were to draw up the 18th green today they would get killed. There is an elephant buried in the middle of it. I think it is fun. It's different,” said Richard S. Johnson.

And that is the point this week. If you can get used to the quirks, you can appreciate the challenge. So, keep this in mind you make your weekend viewing plans. The co-star of the tournament, the Old White, may just steal the show.

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.