Rory clips Tiger by a shot in Duel at Jinsha Lake

By Ryan LavnerOctober 29, 2012, 8:58 am

Rory McIlroy led from the opening hole and topped Tiger Woods by a shot Monday in a wildly entertaining exhibition in Zhengzhou, China. More fascinating than any of the shots struck at Jinsha Lake, however, was the uncensored interaction between the top two players in the world.

Players were wired for sound during the pay-per-view, made-for-TV event, which only enhanced the experience for the viewer. If you didn’t mind eavesdropping, it was wonderfully enlightening.

Tiger and Rory talked equipment. After walking off the fourth tee, McIlroy grabbed Woods’ Nike iron and swung a few times. Later, they talked golf balls and spin rates. (Rory-to-Nike conspiracy theorists … unite!)



They talked swing changes. On the 10th hole, Woods admitted to “struggling with Sean (Foley),” his swing coach, saying, “I’ve been hitting my short irons so (expletive) far.” He went on to explain how he rarely took a divot with his short clubs under former coach Hank Haney, but now, though, “all of a sudden, I’m taking divots.”

They talked Honda Classic. McIlroy won the tournament in March, of course, and moved to world No. 1 in the process, while Woods closed with a stirring 62 to tie for second. “All that fist-pumping for nothing,” woofed McIlroy.

They talked Malaysia. Woods said he lost eight pounds last week in Kuala Lumpur, and that the heat was so suffocating, “it felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest. I had sweat dripping off my shirt when I was over the ball.” Apparently, he also lost his pin sheet on Saturday, which could help explain the third-round 69 that dropped him off the pace. (He eventually finished joint fourth.)

They talked scheduling. Woods noted that this was his first full season since 2005; that he likely will dial back his number of events next season; and that, post-British Open, U.S. players are plenty busy – maybe even too busy – with the FedEx Cup and all of the late-season jet-setting.

They talked English Premier League soccer and Kiawah Island and Ryo Ishikawa, who two years ago shot 58 the same week Rory fired 62. “Smoked your (butt),” Woods quipped.

Indeed, there was no shortage of barbs, quick and pointed.

And the golf was pretty stellar, too.

They played in 3 hours, 15 minutes, chatted up and down each fairway and required little time over the ball – perhaps to avoid the incessant clicks from cellphone-wielding fans. No doubt, it was a stark contrast to their most recent encounter, two weeks ago at the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final, when Woods rarely engaged with his opponent and dusted a listless McIlroy, 64-70.

On Monday, with a light fog hovering over Jinsha Lake Golf Club for much of the exhibition, McIlroy shot a bogeyless 67 to edge his boyhood idol by one. It was just the third time in 11 rounds that the Northern Irishman has defeated Woods in head-to-head play, though it’s ill-advised to form any concrete conclusions from an 18-hole match.

“It was pretty close,” said McIlroy, who a day earlier finished second at the European Tour’s BMW Masters. “Tiger made a few birdies on the back nine, and I just tried to keep my nose in front.”

Woods, despite outdriving the 23-year-old on almost every tee shot, never led during the match. He pulled within a shot after a stellar birdie on the 14th, but proceeded to miss makeable birdie putts on 16 and 17, then sailed his approach on the final hole into the back bunker.

“We had a great match,” Woods said afterward. “It was a lot of fun, and I think everyone here enjoyed it. It’d be fun if we can do something like this again.”

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.

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.