More US Sites for WGC Events

By Mercer BaggsAugust 21, 2002, 4:00 pm
SAMMAMISH, Wash. -- The World Golf Championships-NEC Invitational will be returning to Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio, for 2003-05, said PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem.
 
Firestone hosted the event since the inception of the old NEC World Series of Golf in 1962. Sahalee Country Club was given the event this year because Firestone hosted the Senior PGA Championship in June.
 
Finchem also said the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship would be staying at La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, Calif., for the next few years. The event has been contested at La Costa three of the four years of its existence. In 2001, it was held at The Metropolitan Club in Victoria, Australia.
 
The 2003 American Express Championship will be played at the Capital City Club in Atlanta. This year, the event is being played at Mount Juliet in Ireland, and will return to Europe in 2004, although Finchem did not say where.
 
Vista Vallarta in Puerto Rico will host this years EMC-World Cup. It will move to The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island the following year. Finchem said, We will be announcing the 2004, 2005 and 2006 locations in the next few months.
 
There is concern, however, that the World Golf Championship events are lacking in the world department.
 
Next year, all four WGC tournaments will be played in the U.S.
 
I would ask all of those interested people just to stand back and look at the broader scheme. Dont focus too much on one year, and give us a chance here to work it out, Finchem said.
 
In the long term, I think well have a mix that everybody will be reasonably comfortable with.
 
As for Sahalee, Finchem said a return to the Pacific Northwest might be possible.
 
There are four or five markets in the United States where we dont play that wed like to on a regular basis, he said. Portland and Seattle are on that short list, along with probably St. Louis (which was to host the 2001 American Express before it was canceled due to the terrorist attacks), Minnesota (which hosted last weeks PGA Championship) and Boston.
 

Funk Fest Continues
 
Fred Funk solidified himself as a fan favorite with his fist pumps and gyrations in last weeks PGA Championship. He also solidified the final spot in this weeks World Golf Championships-NEC Invitational with his tie for fourth at Hazeltine.
 
'It was the highlight of my career, the atmosphere last week,' Funk said.
 
Funks performance moved him to 50th on the Official World Golf Ranking, which gained him the final spot in the 78-man field this week at Sahalee Country Club. The top 50 after the PGA Championship earned an invite into the NEC event.
 
Dudley Hart fell out of the top 50 by missing the cut in the seasons final major.
 

Easy Money
 
The NEC is one of only five official events on the PGA Tour without a cut (Mercedes, WGC-Match Play, WGC-American Express, Tour Championship). That means guaranteed money for all 78 players in the field.
 
First place pays $1 million, while dead last still gets you $25,000.
 

International Invitational
 
The field has increased dramatically this year as opposed to the first three years of the WGC-NEC. The sizes for the first three events were 41, 37 and 40 players.
 
The top 50 ranked players in the world are now eligible to compete ' as opposed to just Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup team members ' but you might not recognize everyone in the field. Since tournament officials now allow players who have won select worldwide events, there are four players ranked outside the top 200 in attendance.
 
Tobias Dier is in on the strength of his European Tour Dutch Open victory. Ricardo Gonzalez won the 2001 Omega European Masters to qualify. Nicolas Lawrence, ranked 398th in the world, is in because he won the 2002 Southern Africa Tour Championship. Japans Nobuhito Sato and Korean Charlie Wi are also playing because they won designated worldwide events.
 
Including the U.S., 20 countries are represented in the field.
 

American Rose
 
Justin Rose made his American debut last week in the PGA Championship and is making it two in a row in the States this week outside of Seattle.
 
Im really, really enjoying myself, said Rose, who is among 14 players making their maiden World Golf Championships start at the NEC.
 
Rose, who has won four times around the world this year, including twice on the European Tour, is still getting accustomed to American golf.
 
I think theres possibly a bigger emphasis on short game. I think you need to play a bigger variety of shots around the green. I wouldnt say tee-to-green its any more difficult or any more testing (than in Europe), he explained.
 
The 22-year-old Englishman is also trying to acclimate himself to the U.S. galleries.
 
They were very vocal (last week in Minnesota), start to finish. What struck me really was the crowds on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday ' I thought it was amazing, really, to have three practice days where you have 25,000 people.
 
Rose, who also said he was surprised at the level of recognition he received at the PGA Championship, added he would like to one day get his PGA Tour card.
 
Im not going to (Q-School) this year, he said. But Id like to get (his card) by playing well in the majors and the World Golf Championships.
 
Full coverage of the WGC-NEC Invitational
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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.