Steve Sands - January 25, 2012

By Morning Drive TeamJanuary 25, 2012, 2:12 pm

Steve Sands is in Abu Dhabi this week to cover the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship for Golf Channel. Tiger Woods is practicing at Abu Dhabi Golf Club on Wednesday and he is playing a practice round after the pro-am portion of this week’s tournament. He went to play after some practice time on the range and did not take questions from the press.

Just like in Australia and at the Chevron World Challenge, Tiger seems to be very relaxed and more at ease than he has been in recent years this week at Abu Dhabi. It has been well documented how difficult it has been for Tiger in the past couple of years but it is clear that Tiger is now more comfortable both inside and outside the ropes than he has been in quite a while.

Lee Westwood is great physical shape as he starts 2012 and he comes to Abu Dhabi after a caribbean vacation where he did not touch a club for two weeks. The World #2 starts his year refreshed and fit and he should be a bit relieved that he will be able to begin his season a bit more under the radar than usual because he will not be grouped with World #1 Luke Donald and World #3 Rory McIlroy for the first two rounds. Instead, Tiger Woods will have that position.

In his second live report from Abu Dhabi, Sands started by saying that 3-time Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Champion Martin Kaymer is unbelievably under the radar this week despite winning by 8 shots in 2011 and being 4th in the Official World Golf Ranking. He spends some time during his offseason in Scottsdale, AZ so he is used to and comfortable with the desert golf courses. Kaymer is all business when he prepares to play tournaments and whenever he plays, he is ready to succeed and win.

World #1 Luke Donald has changed 12 of his 14 clubs for 2012 but the change is not as radical as some may believe because he is still using Mizuno irons and because he, like many tour pros, is someone who likes to tinker with his clubs and his game on a regular basis. He did not change his putter from 2011 and even though he has not played in several weeks, Donald says that he is confident that he will get off to strong start in 2012.

World #2 Lee Westwood was left out of a group with Donald and McIlroy in favor of Tiger Woods and when Sands asked him about it, Westwood confirmed that it does not bother him and in fact he is very happy to be playing in the afternoon while Tiger et al are playing in the morning so he will be able to avoid them altogether. Westwood feels that being able to get away from such a circus can only help.

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.

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.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.