Shadow Creek 'definitely a bucket list course'

By Jason DeeganDecember 3, 2013, 7:31 pm

NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. – As the director of golf at the exclusive Shadow Creek Golf Club, Mark Brenneman has plenty of stories about the famous crowd who love the game – Jordan, Clinton, Bush, Clooney.

I heard a few of these tales during a recent visit to Shadow Creek, but I was asked not to share them. There aren’t many rules at this laid-back club, but the ‘What happens at Shadow Creek stays at Shadow Creek’ rule is a big one.

In a town filled with hype, glitz and glamour, Shadow Creek prefers to stay out of that limelight. Even after two decades, the club is still the place where casino high-rollers and other VIPs and celebrities come to escape.

 “I never know who’s going to walk in that door,” Brenneman said.

The coolest part about Shadow Creek isn’t necessarily playing the golf course, although Tom Fazio did work a few miracles to build the $60 million playground. Just getting inside the gates – and seeing who might be eating lunch on the veranda behind the understated clubhouse – is its biggest allure. There are days when only a handful of people tee it up.

“We are not about volume. We try to get the right people out here,” Brenneman said. “ … We are about creating memories.”

Shadow Creek, which opened in 1989 as the vision of casino mogul Steve Wynn, has always been shrouded in mystery and mystique. It never had a Website until MGM Resorts International took over in 2000. Its current site,, only offers pictures of five holes.

MGM keeps its exclusive vibe alive by charging the highest green fee in the country at $500 and demanding each golfer stay at an MGM property, such as Aria Resort & Casino or Bellagio. Even a former U.S. President and a sitting Canadian Prime Minister have been turned away because they were staying at rival casino hotels. 

Buying $25 tickets to the Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational, a charity pro-am, remains the only economical way to see this Sin City Shangri-La. Next year’s tournament will be April 3-6.

Those lucky enough to splurge on the playing experience are picked up at their hotel by limousine. The 20-minute ride through hardscrabble suburbia couldn’t be more surreal. That Fazio and Wynn, who is legally blind, could create such a modern marvel from a nondescript palate of desert remains mind-boggling.

Fazio’s maze of bubbling brooks, cascading waterfalls and towering trees appears so natural, although every fairway curve is contrived. No detail, down to the shape and colors of the trees and shrubs framing each green, was left to chance. A refurbishment five years ago stretched Shadow Creek to 7,500 yards. Dustin Johnson set the course record of 66 just days after his debacle in a bunker at the 2010 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

The beauty and serenity of the place, in many ways, justifies the cost.

“It was utopia, definitely a bucket list course,” said Kevin Kallister, a golfer from Peoria, Ill., who played the course a few days before me. “It was a great experience.”

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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.