Bunker Shots Windy City Walker Cup and un-American wins

By Randall MellSeptember 8, 2009, 4:00 pm

With Arnold Palmer turning 80 on Thursday, his wit and wisdom help frame the storylines for the week ahead.

Memory won’t serve Woods this week

“Putting is like wisdom, partly a natural gift and partly the accumulation of experience.”  – Arnold Palmer

Tiger Woods likes familiar places.

He’s comfortable with what he knows and doesn’t like to wander into unfamiliar golf territory very often.

It’s why his schedule looks so much the same every year and why he wins so many times on the courses he knows best.

That’s why he couldn’t have liked hearing that Rees Jones renovated the greens at Cog Hill outside Chicago, home to this week’s BMW Championship, the third leg of the FedEx Cup playoffs. Woods has won four PGA Tour events there and will be looking to win a fifth to regain his spot atop the FedEx Cup points standings a week after Steve Stricker seized it from him.

Woods putts best when he can putt from memory.

His memory’s been erased this week.

“They are totally different greens,” said Luke Donald, who lives in the Chicago area and played the course two weeks ago. “Nothing is the same.”

Donald said the greens have been rebuilt with distinctive sections, with undulations that must be navigated putting from one section to another.

“If you’re on the right plateau, it’s flat,” Donald said. “If you’re not, you’ll have a few ridges to putt over.”

Mark Wilson, who also lives in the Chicago area, said the greens are dramatically different.

“The greens are much more difficult,” he said. “They are more undulating than what I would have liked. The ninth green is a crazy green. The greens will be a huge factor.”

Woods struggled with the greens at The Barclays in the first week of the Playoffs.


Stricker should feel at home in Chicago
 
“Success in golf depends less on strength of body than upon strength of mind and character.” – Arnold Palmer
 
Stricker should get an enthusiastic welcome when he tees it up as the new No. 1 atop the FedEx Cup points standings at the BMW Championship at Cog Hill outside Chicago this week.

Stricker played at the University of Illinois.

Plus, he’s from Edgerton, Wis., less than a three-hour drive from Cog Hill.

“They’ve changed it now so no one is really familiar with it, but I did win there back in ’96,” Stricker said. “I’m very excited about going there. I imagine I’ll be paired with Tiger again, which is always a lot of fun. I’ll have a big following there. I’m close to home, and I went to school at the University of Illinois, so I’ll be double dipping from both States. I’m looking forward to it, and hopefully I can keep my good play going.”



No. 1 vs. No. 2 head-to-head in the playoffs

“I never quit trying; I never felt that I didn’t have a chance to win.”
– Arnold Palmer

A plus in the FedEx Cup playoffs is that players share tee times in the first two rounds with the players closest to them in the point standings.

That means No. 1 Stricker and No. 2 Woods will be in the same grouping for the fifth and sixth times in these playoffs. No. 3 Heath Slocum will join them again on Thursday and Friday at Cog Hill.

Stricker is cumulatively five shots better than Woods in their four groupings together in these playoffs.

Here’s how Stricker and Woods have fared in first two rounds at The Barclays and the first two rounds at the Deutsche Bank Championship:

Stricker 69 70 63 72

Woods 70 72 70 67



The cruel, final cut awaits

“Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated; it satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect. It is at the same time rewarding and maddening, and it is without a doubt the greatest game mankind ever invented.” Arnold Palmer

By virtue of his holding the 30th spot in the FedEx Cup point standings, Ian Poulter is the bubble boy this week at the BMW Championship.

The field of 70 will be trimmed to 30 for the Tour Championship.

Poulter is among 30 players at Cog Hill who have never played in the Tour Championship. Angel Cabrera, Paul Casey, Brian Gay, Paul Goydos and Mark Wilson also will be among those seeking to lock up their first trips to the Tour Championship.

Chad Campbell, who has played in the Tour Championship before, has the most work to do to advance to East Lake in Atlanta. He claimed the 70th and final spot into the BMW Championship.


An American drought continues

“I’ve always made a total effort, even when the odds seemed entirely against me.”
– Arnold Palmer

International players will be looking to extend their winning streak in LPGA events to 12 consecutive when the P&G Beauty Northwest Arkansas Championship is played Friday through Sunday at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Ark.

With Norway’s Suzann Pettersen winning the CN Canadian Women’s Open Sunday, 17 weeks have passed since an American has won.

Before this year, Americans had never gone more than 10 consecutive LPGA events in a season without winning since the LPGA was formed in 1950.

Cristie Kerr is the last American to win this year, claiming the Michelob Ultra Open in May.


An Amateur tradition continues

“What other people may find in poetry, I find in the flight of a good drive.” – Arnold Palmer

The Americans lead 33-7-1 in their Walker Cup competition against Great Britain & Ireland, but it’s not as lopsided as it seems.

While the Americans will be going for their third consecutive victory against Great Britain & Ireland when the matches are staged Saturday and Sunday at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa., GB&I has claimed three of the last five and four of the last seven competitions.

Woods likes familiar places.

 

He’s comfortable with what he knows and doesn’t like to wander into unfamiliar golf territory very often.

 

It’s why his schedule looks so much the same every year and why he wins so many times on the courses he knows best.

 

That’s why he couldn’t have liked hearing that Rees Jones renovated the greens at Cog Hill outside Chicago, home to this week’s BMW Championship, the third leg of the FedEx Cup playoffs. Woods has won four PGA Tour events there and will be looking to win a fifth to regain his spot atop the FedEx Cup points standings a week after Steve Stricker seized it from him.

 

Woods putts best when he can putt from memory.

 

His memory’s been erased this week.

 

“They are totally different greens,” said Luke Donald, who lives in the Chicago area and played the course two weeks ago. “Nothing is the same.”

 

Donald said the greens have been rebuilt with distinctive sections, with undulations that must be navigated putting from one section to another.

 

“If you’re on the right plateau, it’s flat,” Donald said. “If you’re not, you’ll have a few ridges to putt over.”

 

Mark Wilson, who also lives in the Chicago area, said the greens are dramatically different.

 

“The greens are much more difficult,” he said. “They are more undulating than what I would have liked. The ninth green is a crazy green. The greens will be a huge factor.”

 

Woods struggled with the greens at The Barclays in the first week of the Playoffs.

Getty Images

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.