Bunker Shots Cell Phone Insanity

By Randall MellAugust 17, 2010, 7:13 pm

Blasting into the week ahead, from cell phone insanity to another senior major ...

PGA TOUR

PGA Tour (75x100)

Wyndham Championship

The PGA Tour moves from Whistling Straits to Desperate Straits this week.

That’s what it feels like with players on the FedEx Cup bubble wanting a chance at the $65 million offered in the Playoffs.

There’s just one player among the top 25 in the world rankings in the Wyndham Championship field – that would be No. 14 Anthony Kim – but the fiercest competition this week is on the lower end of golf’s ladder. This is the last event players can qualify for the FedEx Cup Playoffs. The top 125 in the season-long points race advance.

There’s a potentially noisy little sidebar to the week: This is the event the PGA Tour is allowing fans to bring cell phones to the course as a test. Whoever came up with that idea in the PGA Tour offices must be holding their breath in hopes that there isn't a concert of ring tones breaking through the silent mode.

Every player ranked 111th to 131st in the FedEx Cup standings is teeing it up. Michael Letzig is on the playoff bubble at No. 125. Mike Weir is No. 126. According to pgatour.com, any player 126th to 142nd in points is assured of making the playoffs with a top-10 finish this week.

Fred Couples, David Duval and John Daly are the biggest names in the Wyndham Championship field with Ryan Moore back as defending champ. Moore is part of some Ryder Cup intrigue as a potential captain’s pick bidding to gain American captain Corey Pavin’s attention. Kim’s got something to show, too. He was bumped off the automatic qualifying list last week and needs to show Pavin his surgically repaired thumb will allow him to help the team. Lucas Glover, last year’s U.S. Open winner, also got bumped off the team. A Glover victory this week would certainly get Pavin’s attention.

Bunker shot: What if Tiger Woods didn’t make the FedEx Cup Playoffs? Would they be canceled? For a contingent of fans, they might as well be. It’s not likely Woods will be bumped out of the FedEx Cup playoffs this week, but it should be troubling at PGA Tour offices that it’s even possible. Woods is 108th in the FedEx Cup standings. Only the top 96 are mathematically assured of advancing to the playoffs. You have to believe the playoffs would sustain serious injury in its appeal in future negotiations to extend the system should Woods not qualify for get bounced after the first playoff event.

Mell’s picks: Winner – Fred Couples. Contender – Ryan Moore. Darkhorse – Brandt Snedeker.

Course: Sedgefield Country Club, Greensboro, N.C.

Purse: $5.1 million (winner’s share, $918,000).

TV Times (ET): Thursday-Friday, Golf Channel (3-6 p.m.); Saturday-Sunday, Golf Channel (noon-1:30 p.m.), CBS (2-5 p.m.).

Last year: Ryan Moore won on the third playoff hole, defeating Jason Bohn and Kevin Stadler.


CHAMPIONS TOUR

Champions Tour

Jeld-Wen Tradition

It’s the third major in five weeks for the over-50 circuit.

Fred Couples, however, will miss the second of those majors. He’s teeing it up at the Wyndham Championship on the PGA Tour. While Couples is having a big year in his Champions Tour rookie season, he is majorless. It’s hard to imagine it’s keeping him up at night. He was second at the Senior PGA and second at the U.S. Senior Open in his two starts in majors.

Bunker shot: German engineering is center stage yet again. A week after Martin Kaymer won the PGA Championship, Bernhard Langer bids to win his third consecutive senior major. Langer won the Senior Open three weeks ago and the U.S. Senior Open two weeks ago. Langer’s arguably the hottest player on the planet, so much so that European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie said he’d consider him as a captain’s pick. Some Euro Tour players were skeptical but another Langer victory might make them think again.

Mell’s picks: Winner – Mark Calcavecchia. Contender – Bernhard Langer. Darkhorse – Denis Watson.

Course: Crosswater Club, Sunriver, Ore.

Purse: $2.6 million (winner’s share, $392,000).

TV times (ET): Thursday-Friday, Golf Channel (6:30-9 p.m.); Saturday-Sunday, NBC (4-6 p.m.).

Last year: Mike Reid defeated John Cook on the first playoff hole.


LPGA TOUR

LPGA Tour _new

Safeway Classic

After two weeks off, the LPGA returns to action Friday at Pumpkin Ridge’s Ghost Creek Course in North Plains, Ore.

Every player among the top 10 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings is in the field for the 54-hole event.

Bunker shot: There’s a revolving door atop the women’s game, but it’s dizzyingly good stuff for this tour. When American Cristie Kerr ascended back to the top of the rankings this week, it marked the sixth change at the top in less than four months. That’s more changes than we saw in the first four years of the women’s rankings. The race is so close that players are making moves on off weeks (lost points are a factor in the ranking rolling two-year window). Since Lorena Ochoa retired in late April, Kerr, Jiyai Shin and Ai Miyazato have taken turns at No. 1. Shin’s held the top spot for 11 weeks, Kerr for four and Miyazato for two.

Mell’s picks: Winner – Suzann Pettersen. Contender – Michelle Wie. Darkhorse – Hee Young Park.

Course: Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club’s Ghost Creek Course, North Plains, Ore.

Purse: $1.5 million (winner’s share, $225,000).

TV times (ET): Golf Channel – Friday (12:30-2:30 p.m); Saturday (5:30-8 p.m.); Sunday (5:30-8 p.m.).

Last year: M.J. Hur closed beat Suzann Pettersen and Michele Redman in a playoff.

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 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.

Getty Images

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.