PGA Tour players to start wearing microphones

By Rex HoggardApril 15, 2010, 12:57 am
2007 Verizon HeritageHILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – If Tuesday’s brain-storming session was any indication, players may soon be wearing microphones during rounds and giving interviews between shots at PGA Tour events.

The 16 members of the Player Advisory Council, four player directors on the Policy Board and executives from CBS Sports, NBC and Golf Channel converged on Harbour Town Tuesday afternoon to discuss ways to improve telecasts.

Among some of the highlights of the meeting was the possibility of players wearing microphones and doing on-course interviews, much like what is already a common practice on the Champions Tour. According to two members of the PAC, both options were widely embraced by players.

“About halfway through (the meeting), Paul Goydos said, ‘Why are we even talking about this? This is a no-brainer,’” said Jonathan Byrd, a member of the PAC.

Not all of the options were universally supported, however. One suggestion aimed at bringing more on-air exposure to up-and-coming players caused some discussion.

Currently, Tour players are paired within four categories, recent tournament winners and life members; former winners and past major and Players champions; players that finished in the top 125 in earnings the previous year and those who in the top 50 in the World Ranking; and, finally, Q-School and Nationwide Tour graduates.

Under one proposal, a young player, like Rickie Fowler who nearly won late last year straight out of college, could be pushed into one of the upper categories that would assure a favorable tee time for television (an afternoon start from the first tee) on either Thursday or Friday.

“Jim Furyk, who is a veteran guy, said it best. He said, ‘We’re here to represent the entire membership and I don’t care personally, but the Nationwide (Tour) and Q-School guys are going to be mad,” said Steve Flesch, who is serving his third term on the PAC.

Another option would give network executives what Flesch called a “wild card” tee time, which would move a player outside the top grouping categories, like Fowler last year, into a more favorable tee time for the telecast.

Interviewing players before they sign their score cards was also discussed. Currently, most on-air interviews occur after players verify their cards, which makes it difficult on Sundays to interview any player other than the winner.

“I’m definitely OK with that,” Byrd said. “That’s when everything happens. The emotion and everything.”

Byrd and Flesch also embraced the idea of on-course interviews, but, like all the options proposed at the meeting, each player should have the right to decline an interview.

“There is so much down time in a round. The only time I’m concentrating is right before I hit a shot, so in a four-hour round I might only be playing for about an hour,” Byrd said. “It might help me.”

Flesch was also supportive of the possibility of players wearing microphones: “I wouldn’t mind it, but I’d need a filter,” he smiled.

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 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.