Outgoing Votaw Receives Patty Berg Award
At a roast attended by nearly 300 colleagues, family and friends, the outgoing LPGA commissioner was surprised with the presentation of the Patty Berg Award in recognition of his many contributions to women's golf.
The award, instituted in 1979 by the LPGA Board of Directors, is named in honor of LPGA Founder Patty Berg. Votaw, who officially ended his seven-year commissionership last week at The Solheim Cup, has dedicated nearly a third of his life to advancing the LPGA.
'The entire evening was an unforgettable experience,' said Votaw. 'But to be surprised with the Patty Berg Award at the end of the night was icing on the cake, the honor of a lifetime. One of the most rewarding aspects of my time as commissioner has been getting to know and appreciate the founders and all they have done for the LPGA, golf and women's sports. To receive an award from one of those founders, the great Patty Berg, leaves me humbled and deeply grateful. I couldn't have asked for a better farewell.'
At the roast, LPGA Tour and World Golf Halls of Fame member Judy Rankin, who received the Patty Berg Award in 1999, spoke on behalf of Berg. Votaw then went into the audience to receive the award from Berg, 87.
Other Patty Berg Award recipients in attendance Saturday night included David Foster (1986); Judy Dickinson (1992); Charles S. Mechem Jr. (1994); Judy Bell (1997); Louise Suggs (2000); and Pat Bradley (2001).
From the time he joined the LPGA in 1991 as general counsel, Votaw has played a key role in strengthening the LPGA's position as the leading women's sports organization in the world and has guided the organization through one of the most successful periods in its history. Through his leadership, he has provided the LPGA with a strong foundation for future growth and prosperity, significantly raised the LPGA's profile and image and created a healthier more robust fan-base for the organization.
Votaw's strategic vision and Fans First plan have made the following achievements for the LPGA possible:
* Highest total purse ($45.1 million) and highest average purse ($1.4 million);
* Highest number of $1 million (30) and $2 million events (4);
* Every domestic full-field event at least $1 million;
* Highest contribution to player retirement plan in LPGA history;
* Higher attendance and viewership;
* Through establishment of the one-in-four policy for players, field strength averaged 7 of the top 10, 15 of the top 20 and 23 of the top 30 players the past two years;
* Finalized five-year partnerships with two major TV partners (The Golf Channel and ESPN);
* Finalized the highest TV rights fee in LPGA history with SBS and solidified partnership for the next five years;
* Sports Business Journal Sponsorship Report Card in 1999 and 2003 - LPGA ranked No. 1 sports property in several categories (and significant improvements in categories from 1999-2003);
* Establishment of the first-ever World Congress of Women's Golf and forthcoming world rankings for women's golf;
* Staging of the first-ever LPGA Player Summit in 2002 and the establishment of the LPGA's Fans First business plan/Five Points of Celebrity;
* Unveiling of The LPGA Playoffs at The ADT, the first-ever playoff system in golf.
Votaw announced his resignation in January and has been instrumental in the transition of leadership to Carolyn Bivens, who officially takes the role of commissioner today. Votaw was named LPGA commissioner in March 1999, and his seven-year tenure was the second-longest in LPGA history.
The Patty Berg Award is given to an individual who, like Berg, exemplifies diplomacy, sportsmanship, goodwill and contributions to the game of golf. Past recipients of the award are: Marilynn Smith (1979); Betsy Rawls (1980); Ray Volpe (1984); Dinah Shore (1985); David Foster (1986); Kathy Whitworth (1987); John D. Laupheimer (1988); Patty Berg (1990); Karsten Solheim (1991); Judy Dickinson (1992); Kerry Graham (1993); Charles S. Mechem Jr. (1994); Suzanne Jackson (1996); Judy Bell (1997); Judy Rankin (1999); Louise Suggs (2000); Pat Bradley (2001); Patty Sheehan (2002); and Annika Sorenstam (2003).
Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge
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
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
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.
Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?
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.