Calcavecchia Ready for Ryder Cup Rebound

By Mercer BaggsSeptember 18, 2002, 4:00 pm
Youve been asked to deliver an extensive speech before your entire company. Its a reasonable request; youre a likable, well-spoken individual ' one of the teams best.
You speak before a crowd measuring into the thousands. Lights beating down and eyes glaring, you stand tall and authoritative for 25 minutes. Only five minutes left. Then it happens.
A note-card is out of place. No. 12 goes to No. 14. You scramble for unlucky 13, but its not there. Youre lost. You look up and see faces cringing; people uncomfortably adjusting in their seats.
The thoughts are there, but not the ones needed to form the appropriate words. You stumble, you sweat, you panic. Youre toast ' and everyones a witness.
This was Mark Calcavecchia in the 1991 Ryder Cup. Leading Colin Montgomerie 4-up with four to play, he finished with nothing more than a halve.
What happened over those final four holes was shocking. Painful to watch and embarrassing to endure.
It started with a triple bogey at the 15th, and continued with a bogey at the 16th. But when Montgomerie hit his tee ball into the water on the par-4 17th, it seemed Calcavecchia was back in command.
Instead, he hit a low, dying flare that skipped once before drowning in the water hazard right of the fairway. He then missed a 2 -foot putt for double bogey to lose his third straight hole.
Number 4 came courtesy of a bogey at 18.
Afterwards, the 1989 British Open champion walked to the nearby beach at Kiawah Island and began crying uncontrollably ' to the point where paramedics had to treat him for hyperventilation.
To make matters worse, that turn of events came on the heels of a Sunday collapse two years prior at The Belfry, when Calcavecchia lost his singles match to Ronan Rafferty after hitting two shots into the water on the final hole.
Calcavecchia didnt lose his match in '91, nor did that collapse cost his country their first Ryder Cup victory since 1983. The U.S. won back the Cup, 14 - 13 , at The War by the Shore.
Still, there was an emptiness inside of Calcavecchia.
I just had the feeling like I lost the Ryder Cup in 1991, and thats what I couldnt deal with, he said.
Fast-forward 11 years and Calcavecchia is once again representing the Red, White and Blue. Hes won five times on the PGA Tour since his last Cup appearance, and set the tours 72-hole scoring record along the way. But most of all, Time has fully salved Kiawahs wounds.
Its good to be back on the team, he said. This Ryder Cup, I know Ill have a much better mental attitude going into the thing, saying Im one of 12 guys, and all I can do is my best.
Despite competing in his first Cup in over a decade, only Davis Love III (four appearances) has more experience than Calcavecchia. In 1999, Hal Sutton was in a similar situation.
It was 12 years since I played and I was in my 40s and didnt think Id ever get to play again, said Sutton, a team member in 1985, 87 and 99. Im well versed in what hes feeling and I think he should be very proud of his accomplishment to get back on the team.
Sutton went 3-0-1 in his Ryder Cup return, providing the team with points and emotional leadership.
Calcavecchia might not be a clubhouse Patton, but hes a birdie general, capable of marching past an opponent.
The 42-year-old has a career 5-5-1 record in three previous Matches (1987, 89 and 91). He says he likes the comfort of better-ball, but is 0-4 in that format compared to 4-0 in alternate shot.
I dont know what Im going to play or how much Im going to play. A lot depends on how well Im playing, he said. Hopefully, Ill be physically all right and able to play in all five matches.
Calcavecchias primary physical concern ' among many ' is a bad back. The 21-year tour veteran isnt shy about rolling around in the short grass mid-round to soothe the soreness.
As bad as his back has been, his game hasnt been much better this year. Coming off a victorious 2001 campaign that helped him finish fourth in the Ryder Cup standings, he has one top-10 in his last 11 starts.
I havent had a great year by any stretch, he said. But that doesnt mean that I wont play great at the end of September.
If Calcavecchias cards are in order this time, he can help his team keep the Cup. In the process, he can ' never erase ' but replace those tearful memories stored in historys vault with ones more fitting one of the teams best.
Full coverage of the 34th Ryder Cup
Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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 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.