Thats a Wrap

By Rex HoggardNovember 16, 2009, 4:57 am
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Pat Conroy novels don’t have this many sub-plots and the crowded byway from Queens to Bethpage, N.Y., has never seen so many detours.

Officially the 128 assembled Tour types at Walt Disney World Resort played for just a single trophy, yet essentially the rewards were limitless. From every corner of the money list, from every turn of the tee sheet, battles large and small were won and, more often than not, lost on Sunday at the Children’s Miracle Network Classic.

Rich Beem began the final day tied for 31st and was projected outside the top 125 in earnings (128th). He’d panicked his way through a Friday 73, got a pep talk from his swing coach Cameron Doan before Round 3 and gutted out a 68-68 weekend that felt like a pair of 59s.

“Panic set in a little bit,” Beem admitted. “I was fixated on keeping my job, going to Hawaii (Sony Open), the Bob Hope. When someone tells you you can’t do your job next year it’s not a very good feeling.”

With that “Beemer” turned to the ever-changing scoring computer, which listed the former PGA champion at 125th in earnings. “I can’t handle this boys,” he sighed. “I got to go have a beer.”

All total it was a good day for former car stereo salesmen and beer vendors, as the unnerved became unhinged.

Jimmy Walker was headed for an adult beverage of his own, cruising along at 5 under through 16 holes and safely inside the money Mendoza Line when he followed a bad swing thought with a bad swing and a three-putt for double-bogey.

The par-4 17th was the final Kodak Challenge offering of the season, and Walker was a perfect snapshot of what happens to normally mild-mannered men when your job depends on how well you negotiate the final 492 yards of the final tournament.

It is, of course, the acme of foolishness to fixate on the last hole of the season. Of the 1,332 holes Walker played in 2009 there are as many “what ifs” as there were swings. In Tampa he was forced to withdraw with a neck injury before the final round, missing out on a check of any kind that would have made Disney a layup, not a lay-awake-at-night week.

Walker didn’t make things easy at the last hole. He missed the fairway right, the green right and ran his chip 5 feet by the hole. The clichés were ubiquitous. “Get up there, rock the shoulders and keep your head down. Left center,” he breathed deeply.

James Edmondson, the caddie for Ryan Palmer who played college golf with Walker’s looper Andy Sanders, inched to the edge of his seat: “You make these in your sleep, don’t you?” he asked. Or your nightmares.

Walker made the par save and took Beem’s place at the computer. He moved to 124th in earnings. Then No. 125. By the time the computer stop adding, Walker’s name remained inside the bubble, his hand wrapped firmly around a Bud Light and that flight home to San Antonio suddenly felt a lot shorter.

Nicholas Thompson was already headed home to south Florida by the time the processors stopped, similarly unaware of his 2010 status following an equally eventful finish.

After Thompson’s drive at the last settled between roots right of the fairway, he pulled a 6-iron, settled over the ball and swung hard neither concerned nor mindful of potential injury.

“I planned on this being my last tournament of the year,” he smiled widely. “I knew (par) would get me golden and (bogey) would probably do it.”

Following a blistering start, Thompson said he figured he needed to make about $100,000 to avoid a return to Q-School: “I went to Georgia Tech I can do the calculations on the fly,” he said during a five-minute interview during which he dropped from 123rd in earnings to 125th. He eventually settled in at No. 123.

Yet for every Walker and Thompson there were more than enough David Duvals and Robert Garriguses to go around.

Duval missed the cut and tumbled from 125th to 130th, while Garrigus also watched from his couch as he slid from 123rd to 127th.

Jeff Maggert, who putted like he had a pair of those thick white Mickey Mouse gloves on coming down the stretch, shot 70 to earn a ticket to Q-School and was in no mood for small talk.

“You guys don’t want to talk to me all year long, now you do,” sneered Maggert, who bogeyed the 16th and missed a 20 footer for birdie at the last.

Maggert’s a nice guy made mad man by circumstances and the simple law of the Tour jungle – perform or pay the price at Q-School.

There were other stories to tell on a Magic Kingdom-perfect Sunday. Players vying for the top 150 (exempt into the final stage of Q-School and limited 2010 status), top 70 (exempt into all invitational fields) and top 30 (U.S. Open and Masters starts).

Jonathan Byrd shot 68, tied for 11th and moved from 72nd to 67th; while D.A. Points was 7 under through 12, tied for seventh and jumped from 77th to 66th.

“That was my major goal this week to finish in the top 70,” Points said. “I’ve been leaning on Mr. (Arnold) Palmer for invites. It’s going to be nice not to have to ask, and I have a couple top-70 bonuses written into my contracts, so it was nice.”

Sunday at Mickey’s place was like an episode of the 1950s cop series “Naked City,” complete with eight million stories. All were compelling, many were gut wrenching.

And in case you missed it, Stephen Ames took the trophy after George McNeill’s putt at the second extra frame caught more lip than a Manny Pacquiao left cross. At least that’s the rumor.

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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 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.