Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 1, 2008, 5:00 pm
In Backspin, GolfChannel.com takes a look back on the biggest stories from the past week in golf ' with a spin.
 

SPLIT PERSONALITIES: Tiger Woods and General Motors parted ways after a nine-year partnership. The cash-strapped company said in a statement that it is looking to reduce costs, and that the worlds No. 1 player also wants more personal time as he expects his second child.
 
Backspin Woods was reportedly making $7 million a year from GM, primarily promoting Buick. Oh, how will he survive in this economy? Guess he'll have to go back to work in 2009.
 

THANKS, BUDDY: Stuart Appleby, upset at John Daly's inclusion in the Australian Masters, referred to Daly as a 'walking train wreck.' Appleby was miffed that Daly had received a sponsor's invitation to compete, despite his numerous ' and recent ' personal problems.
 
Backspin Daly took the high road in discussing the remarks with the media, saying he was trying to focus on his golf and not what others were saying about him. Still, it had to burn. And you just know he wants to punch Appleby in the nose. In the end, both players had time to reflect, as both missed the cut and had the weekend off.
 

DOWN UNDER DRAMA: Rod Pampling outlasted compatriot Marcus Fraser in a tough, three-hole sudden-death playoff to win his first Australian Masters.
 
Backspin In addition to native son Pampling's victory, and aside from the abovementioned brouhaha between Appleby and Daly, Australian golf fans also were witness to Robert Allenby's emotional finish on Sunday in which his ailing mother ' diagnosed with liver cancer ' arrived at the course to watch her son try and win one last event. Coming up short, Allenby later tried to sum up his feelings in a press conference, saying, 'Obviously, you know, just the thought, of . . . I think you can put two and two together without me even saying it.'
 

BIG, FAT (AND SKINNY) CHECK: K.J. Choi was the big winner over the weekend at Indian Wells as he topped Phil Mickelson, Rocco Mediate and defending champion Stephen Ames to win the 2008 edition of the LG Skins Game.
 
Backspin Besides collecting a cool $415,000 in cash, Choi also locked up a return visit, as the champion is automatically invited back the next year. Already a tough sell going up against a weekend full of college football and the NFL, the name Choi ' no offense to smiling and friendly South Korean ' does not bode well for ratings at next years event. Much like the FedEx Cup, this event definitely needs some tweaking. Speaking of which...
 

IS CHANGE GOOD?: PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem announced several changes to the FedEx Cup, beginning in 2009. Primarily, under the new formula, points that previously had been reset at the start of the four-tournament playoffs will not be changed until the Tour Championship, meaning all 30 players who qualify for the finale will have a mathematical chance to win.
 
Backspin So far Finchem and company are 0-for-2 when it comes to producing playoff drama. Tiger skipped an event in 2007 and still won, while Vijay Singh claimed the $10 million prize this year, before the final tournament. Will it now work? It all depends on who it comes down to in the end. If it involves Tiger and some other top players, then it worked. If it involves Briny Baird and Kevin Sutherland, then it didn't.
 

CENTER STAGE: Robert Karlsson and Henrik Stenson roared back from a four-stroke deficit with a closing 9-under 63 in alternate-shot format to win the Omega World Cup. It was Sweden's second-ever win in the event.
 
Backspin The victory is just another feather in the cap for Karlsson, who has enjoyed the best year of his burgeoning career. Two victories on the European Tour, the Order of Merit title, rising all the way up to sixth in the world rankings and now a World Cup winner. And as fellow Swede Annika Sorenstam exits stage left, it is now Karlsson who will be center stage for Swedish golf fans.
 

GOOSE BUMPS: Sorenstam captained her International team a 12 - 11 victory at the Lexus Cup in Singapore. Sorenstam won her Sunday singles match against longtime friend and foe Se Ri Pak and later admitted she experienced goose bumps after goose bumps.
 
Backspin With just one event remaining ' this week's Dubai Ladies Masters ' before she 'steps away,' it was nice to see Annika the Great taste victory at least one more time. And although it wasn't an individual title, a team-styled win was relished all the same for the Hall of Famer, who added, There is nothing like a team event and, when you pull it all together, the atmosphere and camaraderie is one of a kind. So, too, is Annika.
 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Tiger wasn't the only player with whom GM severed ties. They also ended Fred Couples' 16-year run with Cadillac. ... A charity golf tournament cut ties with troubled former pitcher Roger Clemens after four years.
 
Backspin Did anyone ever associate Couples with Cadillac? We also associated him with La-Z-Boy. ... Clemens has been linked to steroid use, and no one else ' especially not a charitable organization trying to raise funds ' wants that kind of stigma.
 

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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 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.