What We Learned: Ko and the cup

By Jay CoffinAugust 27, 2012, 12:05 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com offers thoughts on 'what we learned' from the week. This time we focus on what Nick Watney's Barclays win means in terms of the Ryder Cup; Lydia Ko's becoming the youngest LPGA winner ever, and, of course, Tiger Woods.

You either have it or you don't. Fifteen-year-old amateur Lydia Ko has it. In spades. It's the innocence of youth, but against one of the year's best and deepest fields, she stepped on the gas Sunday to shoot 67 and easily win the Canadian Women's Open. Ko is already halfway to Michelle Wie's career LPGA victory total, she has exactly one more victory than Paula Creamer this year on the LPGA and she stared down likely Player of the Year Stacy Lewis in the final round and dusted her by five shots. That's heady stuff from a 15-year-old who contends she'll still attend college. Imagine what she can accomplish by the time she's old enough to sip a victory beverage. – Jay Coffin

The job of Davis Love III just became more difficult. There’s no way of telling exactly what was going through the U.S. Ryder Cup captain’s mind prior to The Barclays, but it wouldn’t be a terrible assumption to believe that the likes of Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk, Hunter Mahan and Rickie Fowler were atop his list of potential wild-card selections. That was before Nick Watney, Brandt Snedeker and Dustin Johnson – three more viable candidates in their own right – finished 1-2-3 at Bethpage. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that a few very accomplished players won’t be making the trip to Medinah. – Jason Sobel

Davis Love III may have a tougher job than European captain Jose Maria Olazaba when it comes time to make his picks for next month’s matches. Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk seem to be locks to land two of Love’s four picks, but Nick Watney’s blazing finish at Bethpage, combined with the relatively pedestrian play of Hunter Mahan (MC) and Rickie Fowler (T-24), may lead to some last-minute soul searching. Watney finished the Ryder Cup points race at 30th while Brandt Snedeker, who finished second to Watney at The Barclays, was 13th, putting conventional wisdom on notice. – Rex Hoggard

Davis Love III just ripped up his lineup card after The Barclays when winner Nick Watney put some shine on an otherwise dull season. A former top-10 player who is now back in the winner’s circle? It’s hard to ignore a hot player with an even hotter putter. Throw in Brandt Snedeker, who won at Torrey Pines, was in contention all week at the Open Championship, and nearly came from behind to win at Bethpage; St. Jude winner Dustin Johnson, whose long-and-strong game seemingly would play well at Medinah, as well as most places with tee boxes and holes, and suddenly, Hunter Mahan and Rickie Fowler are no longer locks to make the team. The Deutsche Bank Championship just became must-see TV – for golf fans, sure, but also for Love.  Ryan Lavner

As much as fans try to will Tiger Woods to victory, it isn’t always going to happen.

The crowds in New York were – for the most part – in Tiger’s corner all week. But as much as fans might want Tiger to win, we can’t expect him to win every time he tees it up. Woods will win again. Woods will win majors again. He'lll probably even break Jack’s record. But we shouldn’t be so polarizing with our expectations of him. He’s going to have some great rounds and some not-so-great rounds, and that is the new norm for Tiger. Bailey Mosier

Youth isn’t wasted on the young.

Not in women’s golf.

Not within the LPGA ranks, where 23-year-olds now feel old. Just ask Yani Tseng. The Rolex world No. 1 said she felt old Sunday after watching Lydia Ko become the youngest winner of an LPGA event at 15.

Ko didn’t just beat the LPGA’s best at the CN Canadian Women’s Open. She waxed them. She won by three shots, but it must have felt like 10 shots to the pros who watched her close so ruthlessly on the back nine.

In what feels like “The Year of the Collapse” with so many PGA Tour pros blowing leads in big events, Ko put on a clinic in how to close out a victory. The exhibition has to flummox the LPGA veterans who watched this kid roll over one of their strongest fields of the year. It also has to scare them a little bit. Who else is coming behind Ko and Lexi Thompson? Who else is going to make 23-year-olds feel old? – Randall Mell

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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.