Quick Round With Rickie Fowler

By Randall MellNovember 7, 2009, 1:46 am
Rickie Fowler will be back in the spotlight next week at the Children’s Miracle Network Classic at Disney World as he seeks to win his PGA Tour card without a trip to Q-School.
Fowler has won $553,700 in his two PGA Tour starts as a pro, which would put him 135th on this year’s money list. Fowler needs to win enough money at Disney to move him among the top 125 to earn exempt status next year and avoid Q-School. David Duval holds down the 125th spot with $623,824 in earnings.
Rickie Fowler
Rickie Fowler has one event left to earn his 2010 PGA Tour card. (Getty Images)
Should Fowler not crack the top 125 in money, he’s still likely to remain among the top 150, which will earn him a free pass into the final stage of Q-School Dec. 2-7 at Bear Lakes Country Club in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Fowler, 20, who left Oklahoma State after two seasons, tied for seventh at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in his first PGA Tour start as a pro. He tied for second with Jamie Lovemark in his second start at the Frys.com Open, losing in a playoff to Troy Matteson. Senior writer Randall Mell caught up with Fowler this week for a quick round:
Your full name is Rickie Yutaka Fowler. Tell us about your middle name.
It’s my grandpa’s name. It’s Japanese. My grandpa’s full Japanese. I’m a quarter Japanese.
Your grandfather got you started in golf, right?
Yes, he got me started at age 3, when he was just picking up the game. He took me to the range with him.
Your dad, Rod, won the Baja 1000 on a four-wheeler and got you started on dirt bikes when you were 3. How did growing up in motocross and on dirt bikes shape your personality and the way you play golf?
I think it made me the quick player that I am. I just kind of step up and go. I don’t take too much time or over-think shots.
Your coaches say you also play with a fearlessness. Your dad says that is linked to the thrill-seeking you got on a cycle.
Definitely, the way you handle yourself on the track, making jumps on a cycle, I think it’s why the way I play is a little different from others, not as traditional. I stay fairly aggressive, and I like to take my chances.
When did you race in your last motocross event?
I didn’t do too much racing, a little bit here and there. I was probably right around 14 or 15. I mainly rode for fun. I had a lot of buddies I rode with who are now racing as pros. I didn’t get into racing a lot, most of the stuff I did was out play riding.
What’s the biggest rush you got riding?
Being in the air, doing stunts, taking risks.
Doesn’t your whole family ride, your dad and mom and little sister?
Yes, the whole family rides. We used to take rides together in the desert in the winter. We would take five to 10 trips a year. We haven’t all gone together for awhile, but my dad still rides on a weekly basis. My mom and sister and I are busier now, but I still like to hop on a bike every once in awhile and play around, but I’m a little more conservative.
What do you ride?
My dad’s bike, my sister’s bike, one of the play bikes. There’s a 450, a 250F or a little 150F. We have a variety.
We know about your dad, but your mom, Lynn, is a big influence in your life. Tell us what she’s passed on to you.
She’s a very focused, meticulous person, very calm. She spends a lot of time on the road with me. She keeps me level headed and humble and from getting too far ahead of myself.
Barry McDonnell, the Murrieta Valley (Calif.) driving range instructor and the only swing coach you’ve ever known, says you had that long, flowing hair the first time he met you as a little tyke. Have you always worn your hair long and is there some Samson-like power in it?
I used to spike my hair in middle school, but I’ve had long hair my whole life. It’s who I am. I am not trying to be anything crazy. I get some grief sometimes for it, but a lot of people like it. I am just doing my own thing and not worrying too much if people hate it or like it.
Mike McGraw, your coach at Oklahoma State, says you are a shot maker, that even though you hit it a long way, you like to play creatively, to work the ball and shape shots more than most players your age. Where does that come from?
It mainly came from Barry growing up on the driving range. Instead of hitting shot after shot straight, or trying to do the same thing over and over, we worked on moving the ball right to left, or left to right, or high, or low. We worked on control and knowing where the clubface is at and where the ball is going to go.
You’ve made a couple big checks already. Have you splurged on anything?
No, I helped my parents get my sister a car. I made that purchase. I’m not sure if I’ll get paid back or not.
What kind of car?
Lexus RX 350.
Nice, anything for yourself?
Got some hours for my jet.
The washout of the Viking Classic means the Children’s Miracle Network Classic is your last chance to win your Tour card without going to Q-School. Did the washout ratchet up the pressure?
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to play, but I was coming off a good week. I have one event to get in the top 125 or go to the final stage. I’m really looking forward to Disney, it will be great tournament.
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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.