Mediates Major Change

By Mercer BaggsJanuary 8, 2003, 5:00 pm
KAPALUA, Hawaii -- The new year brings with it changes, but few more surprising than the one Rocco Mediate has displayed in preparation for the Mercedes Championships.
 
As Jeff Sluman put it, Mediate is driving with two hands on the wheel. In other words, he has switched to a conventional putter.
 
The 40-year-old was the first player to win a PGA Tour event with a long putter when he captured his first title in the 1991 Doral-Ryder Open. He has since won four more times, including once in three of the last four seasons.
 
Mediate made the change from short to long over a decade ago for health reasons. I couldnt practice with (the conventional putter) because of my back, thats why I went to the long putter, he explained.
 
So why after all the success with the unconventional method would he make the switch back? Mediate says hes in the best shape of his life. He also added that the flatstick is a long, short putter, measuring at 39 inches.
 
My back is in the same position as it is with the long putter, he said. And, for some reason, I can line (the ball) up better with it.
 
Mediate has been practicing with the foreign device for over a month now and admits hes pretty nervous to display his new method in competition ' not necessarily because of the results but because of the abuse.
 
Ive been getting a lot of ribbing this week ' Vijay (Singh, who uses the belly putter) has been busting me hard, Mediate said. The putting parts pretty easy, its just hearing the crap the guys gotta say ' its ridiculous.
 
Life of Riley
 
Chris Riley didnt make any equipment changes in the off-season, but he did make one new addition.
 
I got married about three weeks ago on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, Riley said. We had the jazz band leading all the way down to Pat OBriens.
 
The 29-year-old married LPGA player and Louisianan Michelle Louviere on December 14.
 
Tee Times
 
Defending champion Sergio Garcia will tee off in the final group in Thursdays first round. Thats because the tee times are in reverse order of when players won last year.
 
Garcia will tee off at 1:20 PM local time (6:20 PM ET) alongside Jerry Kelly, who won the second tournament of 2002, the Sony Open. Jonathan Byrd and Luke Donald, who won the final two events last season, will tee off first at 10:30 AM local time.
 
Related Links
  • Rocco Mediate Bio
  • Full Coverage of the Mercedes Championships
  • 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 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.