Woods draws huge crowd; Love leads Honda

By Randall MellMarch 2, 2012, 12:49 am

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Even out of sorts, Tiger Woods was still the show.

But Davis Love III and Rory McIlroy were the top stories of the first round of the Honda Classic.

In his first appearance as a pro in this event, Woods brought half of Palm Beach County to PGA National’s Champion Course, it seemed. The place was bursting at the seams Thursday with the largest crowds this event has ever seen. Tournament director Ed McEnroe said advanced ticket sales were up 168 percent from last year. Sales at the gate are way up. Though tournament officials increased shuttle buses for public parking, twice on Thursday they had to order more buses to accommodate the swarm.

Woods, who has moved to nearby Jupiter from Orlando, rocked the place with back-to-back birdies at the ninth and 10th holes, but his play was mostly sedating on the back nine. Woods hit 10 of 14 fairways and hit an impressive 15 greens in regulation, but he made just three birdies against four bogeys in a round of 1-over-par 71.

With so much focus on his putting now, Woods took too many putts, 34 of them. And he was surprisingly 0 for 4 trying to get up and down after missing greens. He couldn’t get up and down for pars at the seventh, eighth and 15th holes and couldn’t get up and down for birdie at the 18th. His chipping and short flops were uncharacteristically untidy.

“A couple easy up and downs, I blew those,” Woods said.

Woods starts Friday near the cut line, tied for 68th.

“I didn't get a whole lot out of my round,” Woods said. “I hit the ball a lot better than I scored, and I certainly putted well.”

Woods didn’t putt terribly, but he didn’t putt well. More than a half-hour after his round, he was still on the practice putting green with his coach, Sean Foley, working on his putting stroke. They were there with the sun going down.

Love and McIlroy gave Woods something to look at all day.

Love’s course-record-equaling 6-under 64 in the morning moved him atop the leaderboard in his quest to become the first American Ryder Cup playing captain since Arnold Palmer in 1963. McIlroy’s 66 in the morning kept his name just under Love’s in his quest to seize the No. 1 world ranking.

Though he is 39th on the American Ryder Cup points list, Love would jump to 11th with a victory this week. At 47, he believes he can still help the Americans win with more than his captain’s skills. The top eight in points automatically qualify for the team. Love will also get four captain’s picks.

“One good week for me, and I'm right back up in there,” said Love, who is seeking his first victory in four years. “Two wins is going to put a guy into good position.”

Love jump-started his round by acing the fifth hole with a 5-iron from 197 yards.

McIlroy, 22, can move to No. 1 in the world rankings this weekend, but he must win to do so. He’s in position and full of growing confidence and momentum.

“With all the talk about No. 1, it would be great to get to that position at some point,” McIlroy said. “I’m working towards that, and I feel like I’m playing good enough to challenge for it, at least. I’m working to try to peak my game from April through August for the four majors and for big tournaments.”

If Love and McIlroy keep it going, they might be the show and the story this weekend.

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.