Prime cuts: Torrey takes its toll on big names

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 30, 2016, 1:04 am

SAN DIEGO – A strange thing happened here Friday at Torrey Pines.

The three highest-ranked players in the field and one of the game’s most popular stars all missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open – and none were discouraged. 

Seems no missed cut is alike.

Start with world No. 2 Jason Day, who was primed for an inspired title defense after striping shots during long practice sessions last week in Palm Springs. Then he came down with the flu last Friday, ran a fever for five days, made two trips to the hospital to receive fluids and didn’t pick up a club until an hour before his 9:20 a.m. tee time Thursday. He sniffled his way to a 72 in the opening round, but didn’t have a game that was nearly sharp enough for a U.S. Open-type setup. His eventual missed cut, given the circumstances, wasn’t all that shocking.

Day described the past few days as “annoying.” This virus has run through his entire family and lingered for a week. He had trouble focusing. He had no energy, even losing his breath while climbing up hills. And he couldn’t string together enough birdie opportunities, because he couldn’t figure out how far his shots would fly.

“It’s just frustrating and obviously annoying to come into a week and not be prepared for a golf course like this,” he said. “I mean, it’s a U.S. Open golf course. So you’ve got to come in very sharp and very ready to play.”

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Rickie Fowler’s early exit had a reasonable explanation, too: No one traveled farther to get to San Diego. After a stirring victory last Sunday in Abu Dhabi, his fourth in his last 18 starts, the new world No. 4 boarded a plane at 12:30 a.m. the next morning, flew more than 8,000 miles and 17 hours across 12 time zones, arriving in time for a junior clinic at Torrey Pines.

Did fatigue play a factor in his rounds of 73-71? Fowler said no, that he wasn’t about to make excuses. But consider that he was below his usual average in virtually every statistical category, especially on the greens.

“It just seemed like the ball was scared of the hole,” he said.

World No. 7 Justin Rose’s 2016 debut lasted only two days, but that wasn’t completely unexpected, given his track record at Torrey Pines; in seven career starts, he’s still looking for his first top-20.

That Phil Mickelson joined the parade of trunk-slammers was the most surprising development on Day 2.

After a six-birdie 69 on the treacherous South Course, Lefty believed that he was ready to “light it up” on the North side Friday. Perhaps it was the bad juju that lingers following his failed redesign bid, but his second-round 76 (which included three consecutive bogeys to finish) was his worst-ever round on the easier North Course. It was also the fourth time in five years that he didn’t play the weekend in his hometown event.

“I don’t have a good explanation,” he said afterward, adding that he’s not “overly concerned.”

A week after keeping his mistakes to a minimum during a desert shootout at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Mickelson made six bogeys and a double during a wild second round on a course that was yielding plenty of low numbers.

Odd timing, too, because just a day earlier, Mickelson praised his patient approach. On Fridy, he admitted to pressing and trying to force the issue. 

“It just kind of slipped,” he said. “I wasn’t as mentally sharp as I needed to be.”

Maybe not, but he was anything but dull.

On the par-5 18th (his ninth of the day), Mickelson pushed his approach toward the parking lot on the left. His ball came to rest next to the boundary fence, nearly out of bounds. Unable to get relief, he used the toe of his hybrid to pop the ball out of trouble but still recorded a double bogey.

He was in the middle of the fairway on 4 with a pitching wedge. Bogey. 

He was in the middle of the fairway on 7 with a lob wedge. Bogey.

“It’s just dumb things like that,” he said. “I don’t really know what to say, because the score is not how I feel like I’m starting to play.”

A similar refrain was uttered by all of the stars who left early, but the result remained the same for the defending champion, last week's winner, the fan favorite and the world No. 7.

“It’s not going to be the last cut I’m going to miss,” Day said. “But hopefully it’s the last cut I’m going to miss this year.”

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.

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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.