Weir-d Finish To 2001 Season

By Mercer BaggsNovember 4, 2001, 5:00 pm
With the sun setting, literally, on the PGA Tour season, Mike Weir rolled in a five-foot birdie putt on the first hole of sudden death to capture his first title of the season at The Tour Championship.
 
Weir defeated David Toms (67), Sergio Garcia (68) and Ernie Els (68) in the playoff at Champions Golf Club in Houston, TX. All four men finished regulation at 14-under-par 270.
 
It was a fantastic day, unbelievable finish to the year,' said Weir, who won $900,000.
 
Weir could have ified the extra session by parring the 72nd hole. But after his tee shot landed in the left fairway bunker, his approach shot came up well short of the green. He pitched 20 feet from the hole and two-putted for bogey.
 
Meanwhile, Els birdied the par-4 18th, and Garcia and Toms made pars to join the fray.
 
In the playoff, both Els and Garcia pushed their tee shots on No. 18 into the right trees. Els was able to fly his approach shot onto the back of the green, some 40 feet from the cup; though, Garcia was faced with a more daunting task.
 
The 21-year-old Spaniard was allowed a free drop when he informed a rules official that the shot he wanted to play was interfered with by the greenside grandstand.
 
Garcia then hit a wedge from 120 yards to the back fringe, from where he almost chipped in for par from 80 feet.
 
On the other hand, Weir and Toms were sitting pretty in the fairway. Following a ten-minute wait for Garcia and Els to play, Toms was unable to capitalize, hitting a soft wedge from 123 yards 20 feet past the stick.
 
Weir then stepped up and stuck his approach shot from 120 yards inside of five feet. And when Els and Toms missed their birdie opportunities, the 31-year-old Canadian ended both the tournament and the 2001 PGA Tour campaign, just as dark was descending.
 
I really needed to redeem myself, I felt, on that hole,' Toms said. 'These guys are just great players. I didn't want to give them another chance.'Kenny Perry (69) and Scott Verplank (71) tied for fifth place at 13-under. Verplank started the day with a one-shot lead, but played the back nine in 1-over 36 en route to an even-par 71.
 
Ultimately, I put too much pressure on my putter, Verplank said. I just couldnt get the ball close enough to the hole.
 
Verplanks Sunday playing companion, David Duval, also shot 71. The 1997 Tour Championship winner started the day one off the lead, but double bogeyed the par-3 12th. He tried to rally late, but like Verplank, was unable to coax any putts into the cup.
 
(The double bogey) had nothing to do with (losing) the tournament, he said. I played very, very well. I hit is close all day and couldnt get it in the hole.

Tiger Woods never factored into the final outcome. He started the week with a sore back, and his finish wasnt much comfort. He bogeyed his final two holes Sunday for a round of 1-under 70. Tiger completed the season finale tied for 13th at 8-under-par 276.
 
Regardless, Woods captured his third straight Arnold Palmer Award for winning the money title and his third consecutive Vardon Trophy for lowest scoring average. He also won five tour titles, including his fourth major championship in a row at the Masters Tournament.
 
All those are good things, and Im proud of the way I played all year. But its hard to be in a good mood about it right now, Woods said.
 
It wasnt quite as good as last year (when he won nine PGA Tour events ' three of which were majors ' and collected over $9 million in official earnings). But it was a pretty darn good year.
 
News, Notes and Numbers
 
*Weir has now won the last official event for the second consecutive season. Last year, he captured the World Golf Championship-American Express Championship.
 
*This was the 10th playoff on the PGA Tour this season and the seventh in the 15-year history of the Tour Championship.
 
*Woods finished the year first on the PGA Tour money list with $5,568,777; $1,283,884 clear of runner-up Phil Mickelson
 
*Els failed to win a PGA Tour event in 2001, snapping a 7-year winning streak on tour. Woods now holds the longest active streak of consecutive seasons with at least one tour victory at six.

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.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.