Singh turns home course into legal battlefield

By Jason SobelMay 8, 2013, 5:24 pm

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – There are plenty of desirable destinations for a PGA Tour professional to set up home base. The weather is perfect in San Diego; there are terrific facilities in Scottsdale; travel to both coasts is simplified in Dallas; many live in Orlando. With all of these potential choices in play, Vijay Singh long ago decided to make his home in Ponte Vedra Beach, right around the corner from PGA Tour headquarters.

He’s hardly an unseen neighbor. On most days when he isn’t competing in a tournament, Singh can be found methodically beating golf ball after golf ball on the TPC Sawgrass practice range, his hard-earned reputation harvested right here on PGA Tour property, the ostentatious clubhouse framing his background, commissioner Tim Finchem’s office just a few par 5s away. Not far down the road is the World Golf Hall of Fame, into which he was inducted seven years ago.

This is home for the Fiji native.

With his recent actions, Singh set his home ablaze.

It was revealed on Wednesday that Singh is filing suit against the PGA Tour “to reclaim his reputation” after an “unwarranted effort” to sanction him for admitted use of deer-antler spray, charging the organization with “violating its duty of care and good faith.”

Video: Finchem talks Singh lawsuit

Read full lawsuit: Vijay Singh v. PGA Tour

Singh, attorney full statement

This comes even after Singh was the one who first revealed to Sports Illustrated that he had used the substance, which was believed to contain the banned chemical IGF-1. Even after the PGA Tour was mum on the matter for three months while investigating its merit. Even after he was exonerated last week, the sanctions dropped after an apparent loophole was found when the World Anti-Doping Agency altered its stance on the affecting amount of IGF-1 contained in deer-antler spray.

Even after he made this place his home.

“I am proud of my achievements, my work ethic, and the way I live my life,” Singh said via statement. “The PGA Tour not only treated me unfairly, but displayed a lack of professionalism that should concern every professional golfer and fan of the game.”

Singh’s decision to file a lawsuit is the ultimate example of a sore winner. Filing that lawsuit on the eve of the PGA Tour’s flagship tournament, The Players Championship, is a slap in the face to an organization which has not only handed him $67,479,870 in career earnings, but attempted to protect him throughout this process.

It’s akin to a recreational golfer hitting a tee shot out of bounds, being granted a mulligan by a playing partner, hitting another, then contending that the mulligan was disrespectful.

“I’m just not going to comment on this action for a lot of different reasons. It’s a matter in the court right now,” Finchem said. “We go by the WADA list. When WADA changed its list we dropped the charges.”

Some players weren’t so restrained.

'This is bull----,' said one player, speaking on anonymity. 'How many millions of dollars has he made on the PGA Tour? And then they let him off and he sues them? What a joke. I'd say more, but they'd probably suspend me.'

When it's suggested that the Tour can't levy a punishment for freedom of speech, the player explained, 'But I bet they'd try, since I don’t have 30-something wins.'

There is growing sentiment amongst the other 144 players competing this week that neither the PGA Tour nor Singh is completely devoid of guilt. According to its Anti-Doping Policy, admission of guilt – even without a positive test – is grounds for penalty. We learned on Wednesday through the lawsuit that prior to WADA’s new findings regarding deer-antler spray, that penalty was a 90-day suspension. However, since he made the admission while the substance was still banned, Singh should have been punished according to the policy’s language. Many of his fellow Tour members believe he was only exonerated because of his status inside the ropes.

It is a remarkable turn of events that has pinballed fault from Singh for his admission to the PGA Tour for its exoneration and now back to Singh for his lawsuit.

His statement issued with the lawsuit was his first since the deer-antler spray admission came to light on Jan. 29. Even after rounds which have found him on the leaderboard, even when asked to speak only about his golf game, Singh has declined all media requests.

On Wednesday morning, he was playing the 12th hole at TPC Sawgrass, practicing in advance of this week’s tournament, not far from his home here in Ponte Vedra Beach, when a lone camera crew began filming. Singh requested, not gently, that the camera crew cease following him on the course.

For a man who is so obviously shying away from any and all attention, filing a lawsuit to reclaim his reputation on the eve of one of the PGA Tour’s flagship events is a stark contrast from all other actions.

Long ago, Vijay Singh chose to make his home not in San Diego or Scottsdale or Dallas or Orlando, but in the same beach community as PGA Tour headquarters. He’s spent hundreds – no, thousands – of hours on the driving range, honing his craft right here on its property. And now he’s chosen to turn this home into a legal battlefield.

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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 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.