Taking Stock of 2010

By Rich LernerJuly 28, 2010, 10:57 pm
I choked my guts out on a 4-footer on the last hole to lose 1 down to my 12-year-old son in mini golf Monday. It’s 107 degrees in the sun, I’m sluggish and there seems to be no end in sight to the 2010 season. If these are summer’s dog days, the pup’s pantin’ with his tongue hangin’.  

Fret not, though, because we’re about to turn the corner for home with some bounce in our step. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson return at Firestone in two weeks to share the stage with Louis Oosthuizen, then it’s the season’s final major followed by the playoffs and then the Ryder Cup.  

With the finish looming, it’s a good time to address a few topics starting with Player of the Year. Barring a late run, it won’t be Tiger for a change. Instead, it’s wide open.

Eight guys could jump to the front with a win at the PGA Championship: Ernie Els, Steve Stricker, Justin Rose, Jim Furyk, Tim Clark, Mickelson, Graeme McDowell and Oosthuizen.

Mickelson, McDowell and Oosthuizen all have the chance to become double major winners in 2010, and that usually seals a Player of the Year honor.

Els, Stricker, Rose and Furyk could be three-time winners, perhaps even four-time winners, depending on what happens at the Bridgestone, with a major included. Clark could come out of the fray with more meaningful victories than anyone else were he to win the PGA Championship on top of his Players title.

The top choices for Most Improved appear to be Ricky Barnes and Jeff Overton. Barnes’ only top-10 or top-25, for that matter, a year ago was his improbable runner-up at the U.S. Open. This year he’s posted six top-10s and nine top-25s. Barnes attributes the better play to patience.
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods has his work cut out for him to win his 11th PGA Tour Player of the Year award. (Getty Images)


Meanwhile, Overton’s racked up two second-place finishes and two thirds, jumping from 67th in the FedEx standings to 12th. Both Barnes and Overton are threats to make the Ryder Cup team.

There’s no award for most disappointing, but there are plenty of candidates. Woods is glaring. And Sergio Garcia hasn’t put up a single top-3 finish in 29 starts over the last two years. That’s unacceptable given his talent level.  

Geoff Ogilvy owns a win in 2010, but hasn’t done a thing since that season opener at Kapalua. He missed cuts at The Players, U.S. Open and British Open and his best finish since the SBS in early January is a T-13 at Colonial.

Sean O’Hair recorded a win and nine top-10s in 2009. This year he’s without a top-3 and owns just two top-10s. He continues to struggle with his putting and as a result he’s dropped from 21st to 105th in birdie average.

Y.E. Yang hasn’t backed up his big 2009, nor has Lucas Glover.

Padraig Harrington, Mike Weir, Henrik Stenson and Michael Sim have all fallen short of reasonable expectations as well.

The shot of the year belongs to Mickelson. His 6-iron from the pine straw on 13 at Augusta on Sunday qualifies to be at least discussed in the “25 best shots ever” debate.

McIlroy’s 5-iron to set up eagle on the 15th at Quail Hollow on his way to a Sunday, game-winning 62 still lingers, as does Tiger’s ocean-bending bullet on the 18th at Pebble in Round 3 of the U.S. Open.

There have been memorable rounds, too, like Mickelson's Sunday 67 at the Masters, Tom Watson’s opening 67 that same week, Anthony Kim’s final-round 65 at Augusta, McIlroy going 5 under the last five holes to shoot 62 in Charlotte, Els' last-round 66 at Doral, Clark’s final-round 67 at The Players, Rose’s Sunday 66 at the Memorial, and Paul Goydos’ 59 at the John Deere Classic.

In 32 events, including those opposite the majors, we’ve seen 17 American winners, six from Great Britain and Ireland, four South Africans, three Aussies, a Colombian and a Swede.

Of course, it’s not over.  And that reminds me. I have a rematch with my kid this afternoon. It’s only 102 degrees.

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.

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.