Pros and Cons

By Mercer BaggsAugust 29, 2001, 4:00 pm
As the more familiar names in golf continue inch closer to the Senior PGA Tour, a host of amateur all-stars are consistently joining the professional ranks.
Last week, Bryce Molder, 22, and Luke Donald, 23, made their pro debuts at the Reno-Tahoe Open. This week, a trio of others will do the same at the Air Canada Championship.
Jeff Quinney, James Driscoll and Erik Compton are leaving behind their days of playing purely for fun.
Now, theyre playing for profit.
All three competed in last weeks U.S. Amateur Championship. Quinney, 22, lost in the quarterfinals; Driscoll, 23, in the third round; and Compton, 21, failed to qualify for match play.
Meanwhile, Molder and Donald skipped the Amateur to pursue their professional dreams.
Though highly criticized by many, both felt quite comfortable with their decisions. In fact, while Donald missed the cut in Reno, Molder finished in third place and earned $204,000.
The professional ranks are saturated with former amateur stars. Some of which burn brightly, many of which fade away.
All of the aforementioned greenhorns have impressive resumes. Quinney defeated Driscoll to win the 2000 U.S. Amateur. Compton, who underwent a heart transplant nearly ten years ago, is a second-team All-American from the University of Georgia.
Molder is a four-time All-America selection from Georgia Tech. And Donald is a former NCAA champion at Northwestern.
Still, amateur aptitude doesnt guarantee professional success.
For every David Gossett ' the 1999 U.S. Amateur champion who won last months John Deere Classic, there are hundreds of Hank Kuehnes ' the 1998 U.S. Amateur champion who is treading water on the mini tours.
Even Gossett can attest to the struggles in evolving into a professional player. Before his maiden triumph, the 22-year-old missed nine of his first ten cuts on tour.
Fellow 22-year-old Charles Howell III can relate. This year, the 2000 NCAA champion has earned over $1 million; though, hes had to do so as a special temporary member of the PGA Tour.
But, the fact is, Gossett and Howell have had success. And thats all a potential pro sees.
When a collegiate leaves early to play with the big boys, it hardly registers anymore; players have been doing so for decades.
But now, with a lucrative lure, players are forgoing college, altogether.Kevin Na and Ty Tryon, a pair of teenagers, have announced their intentions to turn pro ' prior to finishing high school.
Na, a 17-year-old Korean living in California, is entering his senior year in high school. Tryon, a 17-year-old in Orlando, Fla., has just started his junior year.
Both have said they will complete their secondary education while pursuing a professional career.
Tryon made the cut in each of the two tour events he has played in 2001 - the Honda Classic and the B.C. Open. Na missed the cut in the Buick Invitational.
When a player turns professional, the PGA Tour grants him seven sponsors exemptions in order to try and earn his card for the following season.
Compton, Quinney and Driscoll begin their treks this week at the Northview Golf and Country Club in Surrey, BC.
There is, however, a great difference between Quinney and Driscoll, and Compton.
Compton still has two years of eligibilty left in college. Quinney and Driscoll have already graduated.
Experience, no matter how miniscule, is maginfied on the PGA Tour. The more you have, the more it helps.
Think about the recent number of players who have won less than a year after leaving college - Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Stewart Cink, Scott Hoch and Gossett come to mind.
That's about it.
And think about the quality of player just mentioned. Four of the five will represent the United States in the upcoming Ryder Cup.
The road from amateur to professional is, at best, filled with stones. But in the rush to fame in fortune, there is apparently no time like the present.
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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 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.