What we learned: RBC Heritage

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 15, 2012, 10:41 pm

Each week, the GolfChannel.com team offers thoughts on 'what we learned' from the most recent events. This week, we learned that in the absence of truly grappling golf, other creatures take center stage.

I learned that no matter how great of a season we've had so far, we were overdue for a stinker. Congrats to Carl Pettersson on an impressive victory at Harbour Town, but the event – which has provided many great finishes over the years including last year's duel with Brandt Snedeker and Luke Donald – lacked emotion and interest. Everyone seems tired the week after a major championship – including players and fans alike – and the leaderboard this week didn't do much the help cure the Masters hangover. – Jay Coffin

That the most intriguing part of Bubba Watson's Masters win will be his dealings with the media. He acquitted himself well during his first few rounds, showcasing a solid sense of humor. But what happens when he has to go into the media center before every event? When he's asked questions after every round, including when he shoots 76? What happens when the British tabloids start asking about last year's trip to France? Bubba might eschew a swing coach but he might need a media consultant to successfully navigate this unfamiliar terrain. – Mercer Baggs

That without a dominant player the World Golf Ranking is as flawed at the top as it has appeared further down the order in recent years. Luke Donald’s tie for 37th at the Heritage guaranteed that Rory McIlroy would regain the top spot in the ranking. The mathematicians have explained the phenomenon, pointing out that the Ulsterman’s divisor is going from 50 to 49 this week, but that doesn’t make it right. McIlroy may be a deserving world No. 1, but he shouldn’t have gotten there from his couch. – Rex Hoggard

I learned that all of us non-flatbellies have to stop blaming our golf shortcomings on our physiques. Carl Pettersson, Colt Knost and Kevin Stadler all finished in the top 4 at Hilton Head, proving once again that you don’t have to be built like Dustin Johnson or Tiger Woods to play this game. I wish the PGA of America would take a hint from this and develop a high-profile instruction program geared to full-figured folks. – Al Tays

I learned that I'm not as tough as Kip Henley, at least when it comes to reptilian creatures. On Wednesday, while playing a quick emergency 36 at my local club, I got a little to close to either an alligator or crocodile – though admittedly not close enough to ponder the differences between the two. The truth is, the only thing I pondered was whether I'd less prefer to lose a hand or spend my remaining days being called Chubbs. One day later, Henley, who caddies for Brian Gay, actually confronted a gator at Harbour Town, putting a bunker rake to its face in order to clear the area for his man's chip shot. Consider it golf's version of a Secret Service employee taking a bullet for a world leader. Henley wasn't harmed, but here's hoping he received a little something for the effort. – Jason Sobel

I learned this week's 'Sesame Street' should be brought to us by Louis Oosthuizen and the numbers one, two and three.

In the last three weeks, the 2010 British Open winner has gone third, P-2 and won on Sunday at the Malaysian Open. The win is his first on Asian soil and second of the year. The sweetest swing in golf was not hampered by the rather sudden death he experienced at Augusta National a week ago. 

Following 2011 – a year which required an adjustment to the dual-tour lifestyle of a major champion – Oosthuizen seems to have found a rhythm which works for him. – Ryan Ballengee

John Hancock Pivotal Moments

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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.