Rookie Class Grows in 2003

By Mercer BaggsDecember 11, 2002, 5:00 pm
PGA Tour (75x100)A class of 29 will make 2003 their rookie year on the PGA Tour. The group is eight larger than its predecessor.
Of the collection, 20 earned their cards through Q-School, while the other nine came via the Buy.Com Tour.
There were also nine Buy.Com graduates who were rookies this past year ' five finished inside the top 125 on the money list, four did not.
Twelve of the tours newest members are foreign born: five from Australia, two from Japan, two from Sweden, and one each from Czechoslovakia, England and New Zealand.
2003 PGA Tour rookie class
The most intriguing addition to the tour may be John E. Morgan. The Englishman tied for 11th at Q-School. He had already earned his European Tour card, having won on the Challenge Tour ' all this in just eight months as a professional.
But even more impressive is what Morgan has had to overcome in his personal life. The 24-year-old suffers from epilepsy and dyslexia.
His first epileptic seizure, at the age of 20, resulted in two cracked ribs and the biting off of part of his tongue.
Other rookies of note include Alex Cejka, the Czech-born German transplant who has four European Tour victories to his credit, including this year's Trophee Lancome; Carl Pettersson, the Swedish standout from N.C. State who contended at this years British Open; James McLean, the 1998 NCAA individual champion out of Minnesota; Aaron Baddeley, the 21-year-old Australian prodigy; and 1997 U.S. Amateur runner-up Joel Kribel.
Last year, 21 players started the year with exempt status ' 11 kept their cards by finishing inside the top 125 on the money list, and two regained their playing privileges by qualifying through Q-School.
Jonathan Byrd and Luke Donald were the only rookies to win this past season. Byrd captured the Buick Challenge by shooting a final-round 63, while Donald was declared the winner the following week at the Southern Farm Bureau Classic when the final round was washed away.
Byrd ended the year 39th on the money list, and was closely followed by fellow first-timers Pat Perez (40th) and Australian Peter Lonard (41st).
The three are the leading candidates for Rookie of the Year. The explosive Perez had six top-10 finishes, including a pair of runner-ups. Lonard, who was sidelined 18 months in the early 1990s after contracting Ross River Fever, a mosquito-carried virus that damages the eyes, made his first 22 cuts of the year and had four top-10s.
On the opposite end of consistency, Boo Weekley, the camouflage-pants-wearing, tennis-shoe-sporting Southerner, missed 18 cuts and had one withdrawal in 24 starts. His best result was a tie for 19th at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. He earned just over $95,000 in finishing 200th on the money list.
The worst money finish belonged to Brenden Pappas. He made only six cuts in 25 events, ending the year in 206th place in the cash department. He earned a reprieve, however, by tying for eighth at the Qualifying Tournament.
Likewise, Brian Bateman, who was 159th on the money list, also tied for eighth at Q-School.
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.