Par 5 Better to Give and Receive

By Randall MellMarch 15, 2011, 5:18 pm

Setting the agenda for the week ahead with five questions for tournament golf at large ...

So who’s going to pay back the LPGA for paying it forward?

If you believe in karma, or what goes around comes around, the LPGA’s future ought to be bright.

This week the LPGA devotes itself to making the world a better place at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup.

Belen Mozo
LPGA rookie Belen Mozo could win this week and not get any money. (Getty Images)
It’s doing so with a significant sacrifice.

The 134 pros playing the U.S. start to the tour schedule are donating the event’s entire $1 million purse to LPGA-USGA Girls’ Golf and player-designated charities.

It’s a significant sacrifice because this isn’t the rich men’s game.

PGA Tour pros will play for more than $280 million in prize money over 47 events this year. The LPGA will play for $42 million in 24 events.

The last player to hold onto his tour card on the PGA Tour last year made $786,000. The LPGA’s equivalent made $80,000.

LPGA pros can’t afford to be this charitable, and that’s what makes this event all the more remarkable. A $1 million purse typically pays out $150,000 to the winner in LPGA events. A rookie or rank-and-file player could break through to win the Founders Cup and not receive what would be the biggest paycheck of her life, a payday that could turn her career around. A breakthrough in Phoenix will be for greater causes.

Real giving hurts, and nobody will know that better than a rookie or rank-and-file player, should they win this event.

The LPGA’s making the world a better place, and if what goes around comes around, more than a few business entities will step forward as title sponsors next year to make the LPGA a better place.
Who’s the favorite at the inaugural RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup?

Yani Tseng’s the hottest golfer, male or female, on the planet.

This week she is going for her fifth worldwide title of the year, her second LPGA title this season.

She was the tour’s Rolex Player of the Year last season, holds the No. 1 ranking in the women’s game and will be the defending champ when the season’s first women’s major is played next month.

Tseng is the hands-down favorite to win.
Can Nick Watney win the Transitions Championship for back-to-back titles?

If Watney wins at Innisbrook outside Tampa, he’ll be the first player to win back-to-back events on the PGA Tour calendar since Tiger Woods won the Buick Open and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in the summer of 2009.

Watney’s moving up in the world, specifically from No. 31 in the world rankings last week to No. 15 this week with his victory at the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral.

His swing coach, Butch Harmon, will tell you Watney’s improved short game has much to do with making him a more consistent threat.

Can Watney win again this week? Absolutely. He seems to be in the hunt every time he tees it up lately. Here’s his record this year:

  • Farmers Insurance Open, T-6
  • Waste Management Phoenix Open, T-5
  • AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, T-6
  • WGC-Accenture Match Play, T-9
  • WGC-Cadillac Championship, Win.
    How’s the future of golf looking?

Watney, winner of the WGC-Cadillac Championship, is 29.

Dustin Johnson, who dueled Watney down the stretch at Doral, is 26.

Martin Kaymer, who joins Watney in this week’s Transitions Championship field, is also 26.

The average age of the top eight on the leaderboard going into Sunday’s final round at Doral was 28.5.

“Golf is in a great place,” Harmon said. “We’ve got so many great young players all over the world. We’ve got them right here in the States; it just seems that the world rankings have shown off more of the Europeans than the Americans. That’s because they’ve played well. But we have a lot of great young players over here, and I think you’re going to see that in the majors this year.”

Exactly how young could the new PGA Tour look at Innisbrook?

How about 17 years old?

Italy’s Matteo Manassero isn’t a PGA Tour member, but he’ll be playing the Transitions Championship on a sponsor’s exemption. He became the youngest winner of a European Tour event when he won the Castello Masters in Spain at 17 years and 188 days old. If he wins the Transitions, he’ll become the youngest winner of a PGA Tour event at 17 years and 355 days old.

A pipe dream? Manassero eliminated world No. 10 Steve Stricker and world No. 26 Charl Schwartzel in the Accenture Match Play Championship before being eliminated by the eventual champion, Luke Donald. Manassero is the No. 55 player in the world.


Follow Randall Mell on Twitter @RandallMell
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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 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.