Bring on the Ryder Cup

By Kraig KannSeptember 30, 2005, 4:00 pm
I have to admit, even now, that I wasnt as excited as I should have been about the Presidents Cup.
 
And now, a week removed, I feel like I was rewarded for my skepticism. You know, if you dont expect the best, you cant really be disappointed ' right? Well, I wasnt disappointed.
 
Chris DiMarco
After an exciting Presidents Cup, all eyes will be focused on the 2006 Ryder Cup.
In fact, I was left more enthused than ever about the Presidents Cup and Im left with a whole lot of 'hurry up' for the Ryder Cup in 2006.
 
Fred Couples did it for me.
 
His 'arms in the air ' smiling face ' look for somebody to hug' expression on Sunday against Vijay Singh was as good as it gets. And, for me, it seemed that the reaction was about far more than just beating Vijay Singh. It was about being there in the first place.
 
Fred Couples isnt supposed to be the Presidents Cup hero these days. Hes supposed to be content just being a part of it. And to me it seems that he was. The fact that he made a difference seemed as big to Couples as it did to his team, as it did to his Captain, as it did to the spectators who chanted 'Freddie, Freddie, Freddie.'
 
Ive always been a fan of Fred Couples. The cool, the swagger, the layed back demeanor on the golf course. Hes a guys guy. Hes a pros pro. Hes a sportsmans sport.
 
Chris DiMarco did it for me.
 
His final putt in the match against Stuart Appleby was as clutch as the putt he saw Phil Mickelson make to win the Masters in 2004. It was as clutch as the putt Tiger Woods made in front of his very eyes en route to winning the Masters this April.
 
DiMarco has contended in major championships, but until now hasnt had his own 'major moment.' Sunday he got what he deserved. The moment to make a difference was his. He took it. And youd have thought it was the major that broke Jacks major championship record total of 18.
 
Jim Furyk did it for me.
 
Unbeaten for the week. A very reliable source told me this week that Tiger Woods ' in search of a partner whod make him unbeatable instead of unreliable - wanted Furyk before the event even started. Steady as they come, hes usually void of the big mistake and thus keeps a player in every hole. Actually, Furyk looked like he might not have too many holes in him. He spent much of the early matches on the ground with an injury, being rubbed like a classic car in need of some wax.
 
But Furyk is as tough as they come. Like DiMarco, he might not have every single skill that Tiger has. But like Tiger, he has the 'no give up' trait that makes him as tough an out as Barry Bonds.
 
In every hole, and in every match, Furyk is the partner you can count on. The teammate who gets you amped up for the moment.
 
Tiger did it for me.
 
Hes the greatest player of his time. Injury and all, hes the one player you want to watch hit every shot of every match hes in. Normally hes not the vocal type who leads the team in speech. But last week he seemed pumped to play with Furyk and his celebratory reaction toward Chris DiMarco (the huge hug) was better than any shot he hit all week. Woods came across as the perfect teammate and the perfect gentleman. So much for Tiger the 'individual.' It hardly appeared that Woods cared about his record for the week. He cared about the team.
 
Phil Mickelson did it for me.
 
Lefty was hardly right at the Ryder Cup last fall. He made some poor choices and some poor shots. He paid the price in the media, and players have told me hes paid the price among his peers.
 
But Mickelson is a talent. A huge talent. Hes got a love for the game that is obvious. And he hates to lose.
 
Mickelson didnt get Tiger as a partner. He got DiMarco which was good for both. I never understood taking your two best players and putting them together for the possibility of only 1 point per session as opposed to 2. Over two days of Ryder Cup Foursomes and Four-Ball competition thats a chance at 8 points versus 4.
 
And while Phil didnt make the biggest putt, or have the biggest moment. He might have been the most reliable. The 2nd major championship might be bigger than we think as it turns out. And Mickelsons play was proof to me that not only is he ready to be counted on, but hes also ready to be a leader.
 
Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player did it for me.
 
Two of the games greatest champions applauding great play and talking about whats good for the game as opposed to whats good for his own team. Enough said.
 
The format did it for me.
 
Four days as compared to three, and no chance to 'hide' a player or two before Sunday singles. It gives players like Angel Cabrera and Trevor Immelman a chance to shine and be noticed instead of be searched for.
 
And the chance to see the match-ups we want in Singles instead of match-ups the envelopes give us, makes a huge difference in the drama. Woods versus Goosen at the Presidents Cup or Woods versus Paul Casey as we saw at Oakland Hills?
 
As I mentioned before, I wasnt exactly following the Presidents Cup point standings each Monday as I normally would during a Ryder Cup year. But this Presidents Cup finish has me looking ahead already.
 
Woods and Furyk, Mickelson and DiMarco. Lets go.
 
Suddenly the 18 to 9 drubbing at the hands of Europe seems like a distant memory. Theres been a change in momentum for the Americans. And they didnt even play against Europe last week.
 
Who knows who wins the Ryder Cup in Ireland next September. But Im ready to get it started. How about you?
 
Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann
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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.