Dumb and Dumber

By John HawkinsJuly 28, 2010, 12:34 am

The young girl can play but won't. The old guy can't play but will. In professional golf, it's not always whether you win or lose, but how you handle the loopholes, as a pair of oddball occurrences proved earlier this week.

Fifteen-year-old Alexis Thompson already is one of America's best female golfers, which makes her absence at the Women's British Open a poorly timed shame with many to blame. Thompson was exempt into final qualifying of the British Open by virtue of her making the 2010 U.S. Curtis Cup team, but that exemption was revoked when she turned pro a month ago.

Stupid rule. Outdated and myopic, what is the reasoning behind depriving superb young players the chance to compete in a major championship? If the accomplishment of winning an amateur title or making a national team is worthy of such an exemption when it happened, why does the decision to play the game for a living change that? You're basically penalizing a kid for getting on with life.

When Thompson was denied the pass into final qualifying she looked to qualify at the first stage, but it conflicted with the U.S. Women's Open. Shona Malcolm, CEO of the Ladies Golf Union which runs the Women's British, admitted that negative feedback from special consideration to Michelle Wie several years back affected her consideration of Thompson.

People forget that Wie finished T-3 at the 2005 Women's British, meaning the leap of faith didn't exactly end with a crash landing. Besides, every case of the worthy phenom is different, and thus, should be treated objectively. Thompson tied for second place at last week's Evian Masters, so she could have arrived at Royal Birkdale as a player with a realistic shot of winning.

Those aren't the kind you leave at home. The LPGA might be governing out of its jurisdiction on this one, but it should work with the LGU to set up a system to assure that every top-50 player is eligible for all four major championships.

It isn't that hard. Just ask Ray Halbritter, CEO of Nationwide Enterprises, which owns Turning Stone Resort, host site of next week's PGA Tour event. Halbritter decided to give himself a sponsor's exemption – think George Plimpton in 'Paper Lion' without the slack-jawed awe or the self-deprecating smirk. The Tour should be ashamed of itself for letting this happen.

John Hawkins appears on Golf Central every Tuesday at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET and on the Grey Goose 19th Hole every Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET.

Some rich guy who claims a 2 handicap decides he wants to live the dream? Please. Halbritter, by the way, hasn't posted a score on GHIN.com in 2010, which tells me he's got something to hide, and that something will likely add up to 87, give or take a swing. Never mind the game's competitive integrity or anyone's sturdy sense of reason – we see a bunch of 60-year-old hotel jockeys out here all the time.

At Turning Stone, which has been accorded opposite-event status behind the WGC gathering at Firestone, a majority of Tour pros in the field still have to sing for their supper. Spots are precious, which means fantasyland millionaires don't belong. Of course, the Tour won't do anything to deter Halbritter – why discourage a man who stuffs $6 million in your pocket to stage some fourth-tier tournament with no network TV?

It's as close as pro golf has gotten to reality TV. Lower standards, higher profits. Dumb and dumber, no matter how you measure it.

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.

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.