Bethpage Black Ballpark

By Rex HoggardApril 22, 2009, 4:00 pm
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USGA logo - 100x41Seems fitting that the same year the New York Yankees packed up their balls and bats and all those ghosts and moved into the new house across the street from the house that Babe Ruth built, the golf world would return to the citys other sporting cathedral.
 
In some ways, the 2009 version of Bethpage Black ' which Tiger Woods referred to as a big ballpark earlier this week ' will be akin to the new Yankee Stadium, that is to say bigger. The U.S. Golf Association and architect Rees Jones have quietly added 203 yards to the layout since 2002. Whether the added real-estate will make for a tougher test will depend largely on the weather the third week of June and the wherewithal of Mike Davis, the USGAs top set-up man.
 
The Bethpage Open will be Davis third championship as the associations top set-up man and the unassuming man from Far Hills, N.J., has certainly earned the benefit of the doubt following widely heralded stops at Oakmont in 2007 and last year at Torrey Pines.
 
Players may worry when they see a Black course that can be stretched past 7,400 yards, spooky stuff considering that Woods was the only player to finish under par the last time the Open was played at the games most public major venue. But Davis and Jones look at the nip/tucks and see options.
 
Its a lot of little stuff that means a lot, Jones said. I reacted to what Mike wanted which was more tee options and more opportunities for accessible pin positions. It makes the pros think more.
 
Jones said the course will probably not play longer than 7,300 yards, noting that Davis had some 7,600 yards of prime SoCal real-estate at Torrey Pines last year but didnt approach that distance during the championship. For its part the USGA normally doesnt tip its hand so far in advance of a championship, but even Davis concedes that just because he has 200 more yards to work with doesnt mean he will use it.
 
Were trying to mix teeing grounds up. Whether it plays a yard longer than it did in 2002, I doubt it, Davis said.
 
The new scorecard may scream more ' with new or extended tees at nine holes including an additional 51 yards at the 13th hole, 42 yards at the ninth and 36 yards at the seventh (the fourth-toughest hole in 02) ' but players will likely be pleasantly surprised to learn there also will be more fairway, more options and more scoring opportunities awaiting them at the years second major.
 
Davis said that at least one of the biggest concerns from the 02 Open was the carry to the 10th and 12th fairways. As a result, the fairway at the 10th has been moved 40 yards closer to the tee and he said the USGA will adjust the tee at the 12th depending on the conditions.
 
If its a cold, wet week we could have a new teeing ground that we never use, Davis said. The changes are not huge but Id like to think we made the course more playable.
 
The fairway at the seventh hole, a demanding par 4, may be the best example of the more user-friendly Bethpage. For this years championship the fairway will be twice as wide, from about 24 yards across to almost 50 yards, and a new tee box will create a different angle that will allow players to be more aggressive.
 
We are going to give you a beast of a hole but were going to give you some room to play it, Davis said.
 
Maybe the only thing that will be missing from the Bethpage set up will be the now-signature driveable par 4, a Davis staple at Oakmont (No. 17) and Torrey Pines (No. 14).
 
The 16th (at Bethpage) could have been the only place we could have a driveable par 4, but it just wouldnt have worked, Jones said. As Davis put it, we wont force it.
 
Davis even hand and penchant for late-round pyrotechnics aside, he counts the 2008 Open as a perfect storm that combined an ailing Woods, affable Rocco Mediate and flawless weather, more so than a layout that was set up for speed as well as comfort, as the primary reason last years championship may go down as one of the most memorable majors.
 
Perhaps, but then it was Davis push to play the South Courses finishing hole as a reachable par 5, instead of a rigorous par 4, that provided a fitting stage for that all-star cast.
 
While Bethpages finishing line would never lend itself to closing eagles the way Torrey Pines 18th did, A.W. Tillinghast would have none of that, but that doesnt mean Davis and Jones dont have options.
 
There will be a lot of excitement at 18 because its a swing hole, Jones predicts. Just take a look at what happened at Augusta National last week.
 
Prior to the 2002 championship, Jones may have been the first to dub the event the Peoples Open. Listening to Jones and Davis talk about this years tournament, the 2009 edition may go down as the Options Open.
 
Hole0209Difference02 rank
No. 32322052712th
No. 547845127Fifth
No. 752548936Fourth
No. 821023020Eighth
No. 94184604215th
No. 1049250816Third
No. 124995045Second
No. 135546055117th
No. 1647949011Sixth

 
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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.