Misery Loves Company

By Randall MellAugust 12, 2010, 2:48 am

2010 PGA ChampionshipSHEBOYGAN, Wis. – Colin Montgomerie is suspiciously eager to see Tiger Woods make the American Ryder Cup team.

Montgomerie said Wednesday that it will be a “bigger, better event” with Woods, but you can’t help wondering if this might be a case of misery loving company with gossip tabloids poised to pounce on both men in the buildup to the international team event.

Montgomerie looked positively miserable when he was asked uncomfortable questions about personal woes early in the Ryder Cup captains' news conference at the PGA Championship.

Golf.com reported Wednesday that Montgomerie has won an injunction in British courts to prevent an ex-girlfriend from revealing details about their relationship. The news organization reported that Montgomerie sought the order to stop the publication of stories about his relationship with former model Paula Tagg, whom he dated in 2006.

The injunction prevents Tagg from revealing “the private details of a personal, intimate and sexual relationship” between the two. The order prevents the publication of information “concerning acts of a sexual nature” or “any such information recorded in the form of a photograph or still image or moving images.” It also bans Tagg from revealing whether such photographs or images even exist.

Asked about the existence of an injunction Wednesday, Montgomerie was emphatic in his response.

“I can categorically say that there’s no injunction against News of the World,” he said. “I’m really not going to discuss this any further.”

Later, he was asked if there was an injunction against Tagg.

“Excuse me, I’m here to talk about the Ryder Cup, OK,” Montgomerie said. “So please, no further questions on that or any other subject regarding my personal life.”

That’s a snapshot of what Montgomerie is facing as captain with the Ryder Cup seven weeks away.

Personal woes loom as an ugly haze over the European captain with the team coming together in the next three weeks.

“I know a lot of you are having a lot of fun right now at my expense,” Montgomerie said when asked about CBS analyst David Feherty’s comments Tuesday about the injunction during Dan Patrick’s nationally syndicated radio show.

The comment prompted a followup as to whether Montgomerie’s prospective team is having fun at his expense, too.

“None at all,” he said. “I’ve spoken to a number of players, and there’s no issue at all.”

We haven’t even gotten to American captain Corey Pavin’s dust up Wednesday over whether he did or didn’t tell Golf Channel’s Jim Gray that he will make Tiger Woods a captain’s pick if Woods doesn’t qualify for the team, but you’ve got more than a taste for the fog stifling the air in front of this Ryder Cup.

These are personal issues that many will find distasteful aired publicly, but they threaten Montgomerie professionally. His reputation as a player is tied so intricately to the Ryder Cup.

He’s a European Ryder Cup legend. Though he never won a major championship, never won a PGA Tour event, his star shines brightly overseas, where he won 31 European Tour events and led the continent to five Ryder Cup victories in his eight appearances. He’s 20-9-7 in Ryder Cup matches and undefeated in singles (6-0-2).

There’s got to be enormous pressure on Montgomerie to win this Ryder Cup.

His team, by his own admission, is a powerhouse on paper, a heavy favorite over the Americans, who haven’t won on European soil since 1993. Four European players among the top 20 in the world rankings are outside the qualifying standard. Some Europeans with hot hands may not even make the team, that’s how strong they’re looking.

“It’s the first time that a European captain has had such a strong team that hasn’t quite qualified yet,” Montgomerie said. “I’m going to have to leave out winners this year, and this is possibly the first time any European captain has had to do that.

“It’s a headache, and it’s a nice headache to have.”

But there’s that larger headache that threatens to create more tabloid fodder.

In May, a newspaper published a story alleging Montgomerie had an affair with a former girlfriend, Joanne Baldwin, during his marriage to his second wife, Gaynor Knowles. Montgomerie released a statement apologizing for the “hurt I have caused to the ones I love so much” and saying he and his wife were “working through these problems.”

Montgomerie was divorced from his first wife in ’04. The relationship with Tagg was reported to be in ’06. He married Knowles, the widow of a furniture tycoon, in ’08.

All of this brings us back to Montgomerie’s eagerness to answer the question Pavin doesn’t want to answer.

Should Woods be a captain’s pick if he doesn’t qualify for the American team?

With Pavin curiously looking on, Montgomerie was asked just that by a reporter Wednesday.

“That’s a very difficult, dangerous and undiplomatic question,” Montgomerie said. “But, of course, I would pick him.”

Notably, Montgomerie’s interest in whether Woods will play the Ryder Cup dates back to before Montgomerie’s own most recent personal woes came out. In a story Montgomerie wrote for the Telegraph six months ago, he spelled out his thoughts:

“Turning up at Celtic Manor could be one of the hardest things Tiger ever does. He won’t worry about hitting the ball, but he will worry about how the wives of the other players will react to him.

“Some of them will be friends with Elin and they will sympathise with her anger and pain. Some of them might find it hard to welcome Tiger back into the group. I’m sure it is something that the American captain, Corey Pavin, will be giving a lot of thought to.

“I am speaking from some experience here. When I played in the 2004 Ryder Cup I had just gone through a difficult time in my personal life. I wasn’t sure how things would be. I was on my own. I didn’t know how everyone would react.”

Montgomerie is back in the same boat wondering how folks will react, a boat he might find comfort sharing with Woods.

We aren’t sure why Montgomerie’s so eager to see Woods make the trip to Wales. He subtly hinted that it might be the fact that the American team won without Woods. He was clearly trying to be funny.

Whatever Montgomerie’s reason, he appears more eager than anyone to see Woods make the team.
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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.