Par 5 Augusta National Questions

By Randall MellMarch 22, 2011, 5:02 pm

Setting the week’s agenda with five questions for the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Masters Tournament ...


Who’s going to make sure youth isn’t wasted on the young this week?

The PGA Tour may be on a twenty-something roll, but the Arnold Palmer Invitational isn’t a great tournament to win if you’re in your 20s and your name isn’t Tiger Woods.

Woods won at Bay Hill four times in his 20s. Chad Campbell’s the only other player in his 20s to win at Palmer’s venue since 1992.

Still, the PGA Tour’s feeling like it’s a younger man’s tour with Gary Woodland, 26, winning the Transitions Championship on Sunday in a duel with Webb Simpson, who’s just 25.

That makes back-to-back weeks that players in their 20s have won, with Nick Watney (29) dueling Dustin Johnson (26) to win the WGC-Cadillac Championship. Going into Sunday’s final round at Doral, the top eight players on the leaderboard averaged 28.5 years old.

With Jhonny Vegas, 26, and Aaron Baddelley, 29, also winning this year, youth doesn’t feel like it’s being wasted on the young.

The average age of the top 10 on this year’s money list is 31.1 years old.

The average age of the top-10 money winners at the end of 2009 was 36 years old.

Who’s the next player with a chance to make the game feel young this week? How about Rickie Fowler? At 22 and No. 30 in the world, he’s the highest-ranked American under 20 looking for his first PGA Tour victory. Fowler has top-10s in two of his last three starts.


Can Tiger Woods find his form before the Masters?

 The betting public thinks so.

Ladbrokes makes Woods a 9-to-1 favorite to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational for the seventh time. The odds-maker lists him as a 7-to-1 favorite to win the Masters in two weeks.

Woods has yet to contend on a Sunday back nine in his three stroke-play starts this year, but his finishes show signs of progress.

Woods has gone from a T44 at the Farmers Insurance Open to T20 at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and T10 at the WGC-Cadillac Championship. He’s never won the Masters without winning before arriving at Augusta National.


Can Phil Mickelson find his form before the Masters?

With his 76 in the final round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship, Mickelson tied for 55th at Doral.

Mickelson has failed to break 70 in eight of his last nine rounds.

Though Mickelson says he’s not overly concerned with any one part of his game, he isn’t looking like a favorite to win the Masters. Then again, he didn’t look like a favorite last year, when he had just one top-10 finish in his seven starts before the Masters.


Who’s going to win their way to the Masters this week?

Seven players have earned invitations to Augusta National, in two weeks, by winning PGA Tour events this year.

Jonathan Byrd, Mark Wilson, Vegas, D.A. Points, Baddeley, Rory Sabbatini and Woodland have punched their tickets to the Masters with wins.

There are 72 players in this week’s 120-player Arnold Palmer Invitational field who aren’t in the Masters but can get there by winning this event.

Next week’s Shell Houston Open is the last call for winners trying to get into the Masters.


What other avenue’s left to get into the Masters?

There’s one other door to Augusta National, but it closes this week.

Anyone inside the top 50 in the world rankings that come out after the Arnold Palmer Invitational gets an invitation to the Masters if he didn’t already earn one.

Matteo Manassero, No. 55 in the world, and J.B. Holmes, No. 59, are the only players among the top 60 in the world who aren’t already qualified. Manassero is trying to make it into his second Masters before his 18th birthday. Holmes is trying to get into his second Masters. He tied for 25th in ’08. They’re both in the field at Bay Hill.


 

Follow Randall Mell on Twitter @RandallMell

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.

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.