Smith Adopts New Outlook

By Mercer BaggsOctober 19, 2001, 4:00 pm
Jerry Smith. The name, in its simplicity, says everything you need to know about the man.
Smith is as middle of the road as they come. Hes married, like movies and sports, was even born in Iowa.
Yet, one look at the electronic Disney leaderboard early Friday and you find that name ' in bright lights, at the top.
Smith shot his second straight 6-under-par 66 to move to 12-under and into the lead midway through the second round of the National Car Rental Classic at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
The last two days I have really had good control of my golf game out there, Smith said.
The conditions this morning were ideal. I got off to a great start. I birdied three of the first four holes. That helped settle me in for the day.
Smith was in the first group out Friday morning, teeing off on the Magnolia Course at 7:30 a.m. ET. He started the round one off the overnight lead; held by Shaun Micheel, Stewart Cink, Len Mattiace, Steve Lowery and Scott McCarron.
Micheel and Mattiace were the only players among the 18-hole leaders to play in the morning, both shot 70 and are three back of Smith at 9-under.
Tiger Woods is among those teeing off in the afternoon. Woods, the 1996 and 99 Disney champion, opened in 3-under 69.
With three events remaining on the PGA Tour schedule, Smith resides in 120th place on the money list. The top 125 at seasons end earn full exempt status in 2002.
Yet, Smith doesnt carry the demeanor of a man struggling to maintain his professional existence. And that can be attributed to an event that took place on May 20.
Five months ago, Smith and his wife, Jennifer, adopted a baby girl. They named her Olivia.
It has been a great experience, Smith said, fighting back tears. She has been a great baby.'
After years of trying to conceive a child, the Smiths decided to try adoption. They were helped along the way by Kirk and Cathi Triplett, who also with through the process.
They are the ones that really helped us get in with this agency (in California) and establish a good relationship, the 37-year-old Smith said. It happened very quickly. It just really happened, I guess, for the right reasons.
Olivia and Jennifer occasionally travel with Jerry. He finds it difficult to leave them; though, this week they are at home in Scottsdale, Ariz.
(Olivia) is just beginning to start to know whats going on around her, but shes still a little too young for Mickey, the proud papa said with a smile.
Smith is in his second season on the PGA Tour. He made 20 of 32 cuts a year ago to finish 118th in earnings. Most of his money was concentrated in a ninth-place finish at the Byron Nelson Classic - his best career finish on Tour until a tie for eighth at this year's Air Canada Championship.
Last year I sort of was inside that (top-125) bubble most of the year, he said. This year it has been totally opposite. I started off very slow.'
Smith has missed 14 cuts in 29 starts this season, including two in a row leading up to the NCR Classic. Still, theres no hint of desperation in his voice. No amount of frustration in his face.
There is no doubt I think I was sort of on edge early in the year, sort of short with people, and maybe short with myself, and impatient with myself out on the golf course, Smith said.
I have really tried to just say, hey, I dont care what happens, and I tried saying this several months ago. Its played out very well for me.
That approach ' simple as it is ' is working quite well thus far this week.
Full-field scores from the NCR Classic
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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.