Woods battling more than just Augusta this week

By Randall MellApril 5, 2011, 11:12 pm

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Tiger Woods is battling doubts.

Betting houses have dropped him as the Masters’ favorite this week.

His fall in the world rankings continues with his slide to No. 7.

Ian Poulter, the world’s No. 16 ranked player, went on record at Augusta National on Monday saying he doesn’t believe Woods will even finish among the top five at this week’s Masters.

The doubts, it should be noted, are coming from the outside, and Woods sounded determined not to let them penetrate his psyche.

Woods said Tuesday at his Masters’ news conference that he believes he’s ready to win.

Without a victory in almost 17 months, with the state of his confidence a question, Woods was asked point blank if he believes he can win the Masters.

“Hmm-hmmm,” he said with a nod and a smile.

Asked what elements of his game make him believe he’s ready to win, Woods didn’t hesitate.

Tiger Woods
Woods has finished no worse than T-6 at Augusta since he won in 2005. (Getty Images)

“Everything,” Woods said.

On the topic of setbacks he’s endured while undergoing a swing change, Woods was asked if golf has yet to see the best he has to offer.

“No,” Woods said. “I believe in myself. There’s nothing wrong with believing in myself.

“God, I hope you guys feel the same way about yourselves. That’s the whole idea, that you can always become better.”

Poulter told reporters Monday that you can never rule out Woods, but . . .

“I don’t think he’ll finish in the top five,” Poulter said. “I think, at the minute, there are a couple of inconsistent shots. The shots he was hitting at Doral, they were very inconsistent. You can't afford to hit shots like that round this golf course and get away with it.”

What does Woods think of Poulter’s observations?

“Well, Poulter is always right, isn’t he?” Woods said.

Woods was asked if he liked his chances of finishing in the top five better than Poulter’s chances.

“My whole idea is to try to win the golf tournament, and that’s what I’m trying to do,” Woods said. “My whole idea is to prepare. I’ve prepared all year to peak four times a year, and that has not changed. That’s what I’m trying to do.”

After his Shell Houston Open victory, Phil Mickelson was bumped to Masters' favorite, upgraded to 7-to-1 by Ladbrokes in the wake of his Shell Houston Open victory, with Woods at 10-to-1.

Woods has won four Masters titles, but none since 2005.

Still, Woods hasn’t exactly disappeared on the weekends at Augusta National. He’s finished T-3, T-2, 2, T-6 and T-4 since winning his last green jacket.

It was at last year’s Masters that Woods made his return to golf, his first public appearance in the wake of scandal over marital infidelities. He sat through his first post-scandal news conference at Augusta National, where he fielded numerous questions about his personal life. In Tuesday's news conference, Woods quickly steered the few personal questions back to golf.

Asked how far he thinks he’s progressed in his personal life over the last year, Woods said: “I’m just looking forward to this week. Last year was last year, and this year is this year. My main focus is to get ready and be prepared and come the first tee shot, be all cylinders go. As far as being a better person, I try to do that each and every day. That will always be the case.”


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 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.