Similarities to a Professional

By Jay CoffinSeptember 27, 2010, 1:44 am

National ChampionshipPONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Ryan Cummings resembles Dustin Johnson but may relate more to Rickie Fowler.

The 31-year-old from Oklahoma has a similar build to Dustin Johnson, a similar swagger and his facial features could allow him to pass as Johnson’s brother at the very least.

Similarities to Fowler don’t come in the way of looks, rather a love for motocross racing. Growing up in Wisconsin, Cummings raced go-carts and was groomed by his father to be a race car driver. But he gave up cars and turned to competitive motocross racing in high school.

That’s where the similarities end.

Although both Johnson and Fowler have made significant progress with their golf games over the past year neither compares with the transformation that Cummings has undergone.

Sixteen months ago Cummings picked golf clubs and decided he wanted to be a professional golfer. Until then he had played several times a year but never was serious. This time he got so serious that he sold his motorbike on the spot and took up club membership at The Links at Stillwater.

He’s been a constant on the practice range since.

Cummings obsession with golf is real. He’s so obsessed that he has molded himself from a 30 handicap in July 2009 to a 10. Playing in the Sarazen Flight (handicaps 12-15.9) he shot 85 at the Valley Course at TPC Sawgrass in the first round of the Golf Channel Amateur Tour National Championship. He qualified for the National Championship after winning four events this year in Oklahoma.

“I cannot get enough of it,” Cummings said. “All I think about every day is golf. All I care about it getting better.”

A few years after graduating from high school, Cummings moved from Wisconsin to Oklahoma to help a buddy run a motocross facility. He was there for five years before moving out to Lake Tahoe, Nev., for a stint. But when he moved back to Oklahoma in 2009, he was growing sick of motocross. Cummings felt that he had reached his peak and that all the hard work he was putting into the sport was not producing the desired results.

That’s when he picked up his sticks.

Since last July, Cummings wakes up early every day and is at the practice range at The Links when it opens at 7 a.m. He goes to work, then returns every afternoon to practice again or play as much of a round as he can before darkness falls.

Cummings recently closed down his self-owned detail shop to have more time to devote to the game. Now, he makes a couple bucks doing odd jobs that range from construction to work for his girlfriend’s father, who owns an environmental engineering firm.

He figures that he hits balls close to seven hours a day and the last time he went a day without hitting a golf ball was during Christmas vacation when his family and his girlfriend’s family both spent the holiday in Breckenridge, Colo.

 “It was killing me not to be able to hit balls,” he recalls.

The ultimate goal for Cummings is to turn professional. He realizes that he’s new to the game and he knows that many scoff when he tells them of his professional aspirations, but he’s determined and has come a long way in a short time. A year ago he told his girlfriend, Suzy Stover, that he would be good enough to be a professional by the time he turns 35, which is four years from now.

“I know some people think I’m crazy, but this is what I want to do, I want to be a professional golfer,” Cummings said.

Last year, under the guidance of Champions Tour veteran David Edwards, Cummings never worked on his short game but only worked to improve his long game. This year, it’s been the complete opposite. Cummings hasn’t hit many drivers or long irons on the range, but has only chipped and putted to improve his short game, which he admits is still the weakest part of his game.

“I still need to be better at getting the ball in the hole,” Cummings says.

To assure that every waking moment would be devoted to game improvement, Cummings recently dug a 20-foot circle in his yard and filled it with sand to give him a target to hit from different distances. It serves as a green but the ball won’t release because of the sand. Cummings has measured distances from 25, 50, 75 and 100 yards away and has makeshift teeing areas where he can beat balls as much as he’d like.

During his first-round 85 here at the Golf Channel Amateur Tour National Championship it was his short game that kept him from scoring better. He made two birdies, two triples bogeys and needed 36 putts.

His caddie, Roland Lewis, recently played in the Senior National Championship here last week and stuck around to help Cummings with course management.

“He’s a pretty calm, relaxed guy,” Lewis said. “It’s unbelievable how well he swings it for being in this less than two years. He’s a natural.

“I’m just trying to get him to hit it at 70 percent and keep it under control. We’re playing for bogey on every hole and if we can do better than that, great.”

No matter what happens the rest of this week, Cummings wants to get as many tournaments under his belt as he can. He wants tournament pressure and realizes that he needs to put himself in these situations often to see how he performs.

So far, so good. Cummings says that he has broken 80 four times and that his career-low round is 75. All four sub-80 rounds have come in tournaments. He’s never broken 80 in a casual round.

“I’ll get there eventually, there’s no reason why I can’t” Cummings said. “I am working pretty hard at it.”

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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.