Nothing Leads to Something for Curtis

By Mercer BaggsAugust 11, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 PGA ChampionshipSPRINGFIELD, N.J. ' Never underestimate the power of doing nothing. It can lead to something.
 
That seems to be the case for Ben Curtis, who, fresh off a three-week hiatus from the PGA Tour, shot 3-under 67 Thursday to earn a share of the first-round lead in the 87th PGA Championship.
 
Ben Curtis
Decked out in his New York Giants gear, Ben Curtis delighted many -- but not all -- of the fans Thursday.
What did he do during his break?
 
I stayed home, he said. Didnt move.
 
Well, he moved a little bit. After completely abandoning the game over the first two weeks, Curtis played every day on week 3.
 
Thats all I did, he said. I didnt really practice. Just for me, I feel like I got in the habit of practicing too much instead of playing. So on my way home I just went out and played and had a good time, and that just seems to help me.
 
It was nice and relaxing.
 
Curtis was in dire need of a break ' even though he has had plenty of weekends off this year. Prior to the PGA, he had competed in 16 events and had missed 13 cuts. One of those missed cuts came in his most recent start, at the Open Championship.
 
It was just two years ago that Curtis shocked all of golf with an Open victory at Royal St. George's. He came from behind to defeat the likes of Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Davis Love III and Thomas Bjorn. More remarkable, he did so in his rookie season on tour. Even more remarkable than that, he did so in his first-ever major championship.
 
It was a dream-come-true for Curtis. But it was also heavy weight to shoulder.
 
I dont know if it was overwhelming, but I think its always difficult to deal with (winning for) the first time, he said. I was a rookie on tour. And you can win all the tournaments in the world, but if you win a major, it can be totally different.
 
Obviously it had an effect on me, but at the time it didnt feel like it. Its a great experience; you never take it back. And you just try to deal with it with the most positive attitude as you can.
 
Try as he has, its been tough to stay cheery considering his results. In 43 tour events since his Open triumph, he has two top-10s compared to 26 missed cuts.
 
One of those good finishes, however, came at the Cialis Western Open, just two starts ago.
 
Prior to the event, Curtis was lamenting about his game. Afterwards, despite not winning, he had reason for optimism.
 
Curtis held a share of the 54-hole lead at Cog Hill with eventual champion Jim Furyk. His closing 74 placed him third.
 
I played well at Chicago, he said, so the game is starting to come around. Other than a few holes at the British, I played pretty well, as well. Golf is a funny game. It can come and go at any time.
 
It was with him Thursday, as he made three birdies and no bogeys on the 7,392-yard Lower Course at Baltusrol Golf Club.
 
Curtis hit a 6-iron out of a fairway bunker to 4 feet to birdie the 423-yard, par-4 fifth. He made a 12-footer for birdie at the 430-yard, par-4 14th, and he knocked a 3-iron to a foot to birdie the 230-yard, par-3 16th.
 
Everything went well today, said Curtis, who hit eight of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens in regulation, and needed only 30 putts.
 
The only rough times Curtis experienced in the first round were from a few New York Jets fans heckling his New York Giants outfit. But he was playing so well and was so locked in that he didnt pay them much attention.
 
When youre out there, you dont hear a lot of that stuff. You kind of focus on what youre doing, he said. If you play bad you might hear some of that stuff, but like today, I didnt hear too much of it.
 
Curtis is still stuck on one win; though, its not a bad win to have on your resume. Two years ago, he swooped in under the radar and snatched the claret jug out of the hands of some of the best players in the game.
 
And while hes technically playing from behind once again, hes not going unnoticed this time around. Not that its worrying him.
 
Im not going to lose any sleep over it tonight, he said. Theres a lot of golf; Im just going to take it one day, one shot at a time and just try to get myself in the best position for myself and try to do the best I can. If it means shooting 72 or 73, then it is. But Im going to go out there and try to do the same thing tomorrow.
 
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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.