Taming the Monster

By Randall MellMarch 11, 2011, 6:25 am

WGC-Cadillac ChampionshipDORAL, Fla. – Martin Kaymer looked determined to extend his reign as the No. 1 player in the world during Thursday’s first round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship.

He hit every fairway but one over the 10 holes he played before play was suspended with darkness falling. He hit every green in regulation but one. He one-putted seven times and was 5 under, just two shots off the lead when the horn blew halting the round.

“A fantastic start,” Kaymer said. “It was not that difficult today.

“A bunch of people are under par, and a bunch of people are 3 or 4 under. It doesn’t seem that difficult.”

Somebody run up a white flag over the Blue Monster.

The old beast got beat up in the first round.

Martin Kaymer and Luke Donald
Martin Kaymer one-putted seven times in 10 holes on Thursday. (Getty Images)
First Mother Nature tore through, with a fierce storm’s 55-mph winds blowing apart the “Monster” leaderboard overlooking the 18th green and knocking over two TV towers, a ShotLink tower and a bunch of trees. When the weather subsided and the winds calmed, the world’s best players took their turns tearing up the place.

Forty-four players were under par in the 66-player field when play was suspended at 6:17 p.m. ET.

Hunter Mahan is the leader at 7 under and still has seven holes to finish when the first round resumes at 8:30 on Friday morning. He birdied six of his first eight holes. With a good weather forecast Friday, Mahan is looking like he’ll have a chance at the course-record 61 Stephen Ames shot in 2000.

A week after being pummeled at PGA National in the Honda Classic, golf’s best are delivering the blows.

“Good players and a good golf course and benign conditions, you're going to have some good scores,” Mahan said.

Kaymer was in a marquee grouping featuring the No. 1, No. 2 (Lee Westwood) and No. 3 (Luke Donald) players in the world. They looked deserving of their lofty status. Donald equaled Kaymer at 5 under with Westwood right behind at 4 under.

The trio put on a terrific display of shot making for a smallish gallery. With swarms of fans hustling after the Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Graeme McDowell threesome, the world’s top three players pulled fewer than 100 fans around the course despite playing much better golf.

It didn’t matter, though, the folks who did follow Nos. 1-2-3 were treated to an entertaining show.

Scott Dunlap, a Champions Tour pro who nearly won at Doral in 1999, followed the top trio as part of the gallery. He marveled at how easy Kaymer was making the game look.

“He looks as natural and unthinking as Tiger Woods makes it look difficult with too much thinking,” Dunlap said.

Woods struggled early, making a bogey while failing to make a birdie over his first nine holes before rallying with two birdies after making the turn. Woods is 1 under through 15 holes.

Dunlap, who played the PGA Tour when Woods was at the height of his powers, said he’s surprised how difficult the game looks now for Woods.

“He was the best in the world,” Dunlap said. “I don’t understand how he goes to something that does not even resemble what he was doing when he was at his best. Tiger had it, he doesn’t have it anymore.”

Kaymer’s got the No. 1 ranking, and Westwood’s the only player who can take it away from him this week. Kaymer doesn’t look like he’s going to make it easy for Westwood, who can seize back the top ranking with a victory, no matter what Kaymer does. Westwood has a chance to overtake Kaymer by finishing among the top four at Doral, depending how Kaymer finishes.

The battle for No. 1 promises to be a birdie fest with the Blue Monster flying a white flag.

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.