Wounded Woods Trails at Tour Championship

By Mercer BaggsNovember 1, 2001, 5:00 pm
Bernhard Langer hasnt played in the Tour Championship since the inaugural event in 1987. Frank Lickliter has never played the tournament. Yet, both share the lead after the first round in Houston, TX.
 
Each opened in 6-under-par 65 at the Champions Golf Club. Five shots back is a wounded Tiger Woods.
 
Woods went to the fitness trailer Wednesday and felt some discomfort in the right region of his lower back ' an area he said has never bothered him before.
 
It just started acting up yesterday and just one of those things that you have to go out there and deal with it, Woods said following his round.
 
Woods played through a painful first round, making adjustments to try and alleviate the aches. He was forced to bend at the knees to pick his ball out of the hole and place his tee in the ground.
 
Still, he managed to score a 1-under 70.
 
The hardest time is when youre standing around. Its fine walking, the problem is when I have to rotate or bend over, and thats an integral part of the game, Woods said with a laugh.
 
The way I was feeling today if someone were to tell me would you take under par and go home, Id say yes. I was very thankful and very lucky to end up under par and I got a good shot at winning this tournament.
 
Ill get it fixed tonight and hopefully tomorrow Ill be 100 percent.
 
Woods said he planned to see Tom Boers, the back specialist who has worked for Davis Love III, Fred Couples and Ernie Els.
 
If the problem persists, Woods didnt rule out a possible withdrawal. When asked if he could play four days under these conditions, he replied, Who knows? I really dont know. I just hope I feel better, lets put it that way.
 
If Woods were to withdraw during his round, it would cost him the Vardon Trophy for lowest scoring average on tour. A player with an incomplete round is ineligible for the award.
 
If you are hurt, you are hurt. If you cant go, you cant go, he said.
 
Lickliter also said he felt uncomfortable Thursday, but for a greatly different reason. This years Kemper Open champion was altering his swing on the range. And though he felt uneasy about his shot making, he was utterly pleased with the results.
 
I am happy, he said, without disclosing what it was he was working on. I felt very uncomfortable on basically every shot I hit, which isnt a bad thing because you have to pay attention.
 
Its when you get really comfortable that you dont know exactly what you are doing.Hal Sutton was in his comfort zone, leading the tournament at 5-under through 13 holes, but then was put on the clock by PGA Tour official Mike Shea on the par-4 14th.
 
Its funny, because that was the first shot I had anything to think about, Sutton said. Drove it in the edge of the right rough ' water on the left, tree in front of me. So I had to stand there and look at the shot. I gotta think about it. It takes more than a dumbass to hit the shot, basically.
 
Feeling rushed, Sutton left his approach shot 75 feet from the hole on one of the course's many massive greens and proceeded to three-putt for his first bogey of the day.
 
From there, he also bogeyed the par-3 16th and double bogeyed the par-4 17th to finish with a round of 1-under 70.
 
After signing his scorecard, he spent over ten minutes discussing the situation with Shea.
 
Im probably the fastest player out here, thats whats so bad and thats why the system is flawed, because its always the fast player that speeds up, Sutton said; though, he didnt put any of the blame on playing companion Billy Mayfair.
 
So how do you fix the system if it is flawed? Sutton said its simple ' address the slow-playing individual.
 
We all know who the slow players are, we know exactly who they are, he said. They know who they are and we know who they are. So if we cant do something like that, then we have problems.
 
Ironically, Langer is known quite well for his meticulous manner.
 
This is the first time since 1988 that the 44-year-old German has played a full schedule (at least 15 events) on the PGA Tour. And hes played incredibly well, especially in the years biggest events.
 
Langer finished third in The Players Championship, tied for sixth in the Masters Tournament and tied for third in the British Open. Add those results to two more top-3 finishes in the states, and a pair of victories overseas, and Langer is having his best campaign since a four-win season on the European Tour in 1997.
 
A lot of people say why am I playing so good? I have played like this for many, many years. Its just the last three years I hadnt played quite this well and now I feel I am playing again the way I played from 1985 through 1997, said Langer, who has 42 worldwide wins, including a pair of Masters titles (1985, 93).
 
Langer gave much of the credit for his resurgence to the fact that he has 14 new clubs in his bag, as well as a new golf ball. He also stated he hasnt lost that competitive desire.
 
I think I am just as motivated as I was, he said. I love being competitive. I enjoy being out there competing with the other guys and its great fun when you are having a good year.
 
News, Notes and Numbers
 
*Woods is scheduled to tee of Friday at 11:39 a.m. local time with Love, who is also battling a bad back. Langer and Lickliter will tee off at 1:00 p.m.
 
*Steve Stricker started horribly Thursday, with a quintuple bogey on the par-3 4th. He was 7-over-par through seven holes, but birdied four of the next seven holes and finished with a 3-over 74.
 
*20 of the 29 players in the field broke par in the first round. Sutton was the lone player to card an eagle, doing so on the par-5 10th.
 
*Though the field is reduced to the top 30 players on the money list, no one outside the top 20 has won since Jim Gallagher, Jr. (21st) in 1993. Langer is 24th on the money list, while Lickliter is 19th.
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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.