Who will win the 112th U.S. Open?

By Jason SobelJune 17, 2012, 4:44 am

SAN FRANCISCO – After 54 holes at the 112th U.S. Open, only two players are under par for the tournament - Jim Furyk and Graeme McDowell. But in their rearview mirror sit 26 players within six shots of the lead. So, just who will ultimately be crowned champion at Olympic? Our GolfChannel.com team weigh in:

By JAY COFFIN

Graeme McDowell will capture his second U.S. Open Sunday at The Olympic Club and it will mark the third consecutive year that a man from Northern Ireland will walk away with the trophy.

McDowell seems at peace with the U.S. Open conditions as much as anyone else. He admitted Friday that it has not been fun this week, nor has it been easy but he’ll find a way to enjoy it when it’s all over.

Something about McDowell oozes clutch. Sure there have been a couple final-round collapses – the 2011 Players Championship and the Arnold Palmer Invitational this year going head-to-head with Tiger Woods are the ones that immediately come to mind – but there have been so many more clutch moments where McDowell has produced. It’s difficult to think he won’t show up with his A-game Sunday in sunny California.

The legend began two years ago at Pebble Beach where he won his first U.S. Open after outlasting Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els. Later that same year he drained the winning putt for Europe in the Ryder Cup in Wales. In December of 2010 he went head-to-head with Woods at the Chevron World Challenge and took him down.

Success in those three pressure-packed moments is all I need to believe McDowell will win this U.S. Open.


By REX HOGGARD

The line on Lee Westwood goes that despite that all-world ball-striking, until he began holing putts down the stretch in big events there was no reason to think he would magically start on any given Sunday.

On Saturday at The Olympic Club the Englishman took a monumental step in what will be his major breakthrough. As the world No. 3 put the finishing touches on what was already one of the day’s best rounds he stepped to his uphill 35-footer at the last hole and calmly charged the birdie attempt into the cup to cap a day’s best 67.

If victories are born from learned experience, both good and bad, count Westwood's 54th-hole crowd pleaser as a crash course in what he is capable of doing when it matters.

He will likely have to match that feat at some point on Sunday to shed his title as the best player without a major championship, but imagine how easy dinner went down on Saturday following his walk-off birdie.

They say Westwood is a bad putter, but you don’t climb to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking with a truly balky flat stick. Similarly, you don’t achieve greatness without a few bruises. Westwood has plenty of scar tissue, on Sunday it’s time for the long-awaited payoff.


By RANDALL MELL

Jim Furyk will win the 112th U.S. Open, but he will have to survive a battle with another master tactician, Graeme McDowell.

With those two paired as the leaders in the final round, Sunday could feel like a world-class chess match. This is Boris Spassky vs. Bobby Fischer good if you like to see master strategists maneuver.

Asked earlier this week how you manage through a U.S. Open, McDowell said: “You play Jim Furyk golf.”

Furyk vs. McDowell is classic U.S. Open fare, two guys built for this kind of Sunday scrum on a fast, firm and ferocious course. Furyk gets the slight edge here only because it seems difficult to imagine him retiring with just one U.S. Open title. Same goes for McDowell, but he has more time.


By JASON SOBEL

I’m taking Nicolas Colsaerts to win the 112th U.S. Open Championship on Sunday – mainly because I know nobody else will.

There’s something to be said for picking the underdog at a major championship. Entering the final round at Pinehurst in 2005, the focus was on Tiger Woods and Retief Goosen and Jason Gore. The name Michael Campbell was hardly uttered at all – and all he did was simply fly under the radar and swoop in for the title.

It takes more than obscurity to win one of these, of course.

Colsaerts has a major advantage in the fact that he’s one of the five biggest hitters in the elite professional ranks today. He has yet to play his best golf, posting scores of 72-69-71 so far. And in the fourth-to-last pairing of the final round, he can play relatively pressure-free while the majority of the focus rests on others.

More than anything, the Belgian fits the mold of recent major winners, from Geoff Ogilvy to Graeme McDowell to Charl Schwartzel. Those are all big names, you say? Well, they weren’t until they won their majors. It’s got to happen at some point. For Colsaerts, it just may happen on Sunday.

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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.