Kohler and Dye Bubba-proof Whistling Straits

By Randall MellSeptember 1, 2011, 7:37 pm

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. – Call it Bubba’s Hillock.

OK, that’s not the official name of the small mountain going up in front of the new back tees at Whistling Straits’ fifth hole, but you wouldn’t be far off saying Whistling Straits owner Herb Kohler and architect Pete Dye have Bubba-proofed the hole. Actually, they’ve protected it from all long hitters like Bubba Watson, but Watson made the largest impression shrinking the course during his run into the PGA Championship playoff a little more than a year ago.

Whistling Straits’ head professional Mike O’Reilly gave this writer a sneak peek of some of the new tees in a visit during the U.S. Amateur last week. With the new fifth tee, the course will measure about 7,825 yards from the back tees. That’s 318 yards longer than the PGA Championship layout last year. Notably, it’s also longer than Erin Hills played (7,760 yards) during the U.S. Amateur, the longest layout in U.S. Golf Association championship history. Erin Hills is 60 miles southwest of Whistling Straits.

Whistling Straits will host the PGA Championship again in 2015 and the Ryder Cup in 2020.

Dye’s new back tee at No. 5 isn’t officially open for play yet, but it’s close. The new tee box adds 35 yards to the par 5, which will soon play to about 635 yards.

It’s a dogleg-right, around a pond. Watson used his driver to take a shortcut not imagined when Dye first built the hole.

“Bubba was hitting driver and 9-iron,” O’Reilly said. “It was a 310-yard carry the way he played it. That’s a 340-yard carry now.”

Notably, Dye also built a large mound (hillock) just to the right and front of the new tee box, which would help block a bid to cut the corner. Specifically, it blocks a favored left-handed Bubba fade.

There are also new tees at the 10th and 14th holes. With Dye mulling the possibility of building another new tee at the 16th, the course could soon play to 7,850 yards from the back tees, though there’s no guarantee the PGA Championship will be played from there when it returns in four years. Heck, by then, there might be even more new tees.

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.