Westwood playing well, but isn't getting younger

By Jason SobelMay 3, 2013, 6:46 pm

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Lee Westwood turned 40 last week. If he’d been born a few years earlier, it may have been a milestone celebrated privately, with photographs and memories shared only amongst his closest friends and relatives.

Instead, Westwood had the fortune – or is it misfortune? – of entering his fifth decade here in the Social Media Age. And so in the next morning’s aftermath of his birthday bash, the public was treated to evidence of his celebration in a series of Twitter posts that would have made the guys from The Hangover trilogy proud.

It started with: “OMG!” Continued with: “Hangover from hell!” Then: “Life begins at 40! It must do cos I feel like I died last night!” And finally: “Who invented vodka!”

As if that doesn’t help piece together the puzzle of the previous night, there was a photo tweeted by Luke Donald depicting a bright-eyed Westwood in a shiny purple hat that appears a few sizes too small for his noggin.


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Asked about that birthday bash on Friday, he replied, “It was good. We had a good party from what I can remember and people keep telling me.”

Those hangovers may have a little more staying power at 40, but Westwood’s sense of humor is still very much intact.

Apparently, so is his golf game. Opening scores of 70-68 have him right in the thick of contention entering the weekend at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I've always played well here,” Westwood explained after his second round. “I played nicely last year and finished fifth. I guess you get rewarded for hitting it straight and penalized for missing it off line. Normally the greens are very firm. You have to think your way around and position the ball. This week you can be a little more aggressive because it is softer.”

Never confused for the world’s best putter, there was some conjecture before the tournament that on greens as inconsistent as any we’ll see all year on the PGA Tour, Westwood may actually make more of 'em than usual. Two wrongs making a right, so to speak. So far that’s been the case, as Westwood has needed just 27 and 28 putts, respectively, in his first two rounds.

While the birthday hangover is long gone, he’s hardly 100 percent this week. Playing with what he called a chest infection – “I'm not a doctor,” he explained. “Well, I am a doctor, actually, but not a medical doctor.” – Westwood didn’t seem his usual cheeky self after Friday morning’s round.

When asked whether it would be enough to keep him bedridden had he not been playing, he maintained, “No, it’s not too bad,” before allowing, “I just won't do too much practice this afternoon. I'll just go back to the room and lie down, really.”

Perhaps the old adage, “Beware the injured golfer!” should be expanded to include those suffering from illness, as well.

In fact, as part of his series of post-party tweets last week, Westwood answered one fan’s questions about what score he would shoot at Augusta National in that condition by simply responding, “69.”

Any mention of a major championship venue and his name should serve as a reminder that he famously has never won one, living the second half of his career as one of those so-called best players without a major – golf’s ultimate version of the backhanded compliment.

With his strong play so far this week, Westwood should be excited not only for the upcoming weekend, but next month’s U.S. Open, too. On short, tight Merion Golf Club, his ball-striking skills may finally be enough to erase that omnipresent label.

This comes despite the fact that while his window is still wide open, it may have inched a bit more closed last week. That’s because since 1980, only three players – Tom Kite, Mark O’Meara and Darren Clarke – have earned their maiden major title after the age of 40.

It may be true, that old saying Westwood quoted during the morning after his 40th. “Life begins at 40.” If so, he may be on the verge of even bigger and better things very soon.

When asked if he believes that saying to be true, he left those possibilities open. “I hope so,” he said. “I'll tell you in a few years.”


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.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.