TPC Scottsdale Stadium Course set for makeover in 2014

By Matt GinellaJanuary 28, 2014, 2:25 pm

The Stadium Course at TPC Scottsdale, built in 1987 by Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish, joins a long and distinguished list of courses in need of an update.

If final approvals are made in early February, Weiskopf, 71, will be going back to make significant changes, which include irrigation, grass and cart paths. Weiskopf says almost all greens will get minor contour changes, while three greens will get new locations. The bunkers and sand will have a different look. The clubhouse will be tweaked and updated, but not much will be done to 15, 16 and 17, which are fan favorites.

The 18th, however, will change. There’s no room to add length, the green and lake in front of the tee will stay in the same place, but the strategy of the hole will change as Weiskopf moves the rough in from the left and thus, shrinking the fairway. All told, it’s a $15 million dollar project that will start in April and if all goes as planned, be done in time for the Waste Management Phoenix Open in 2015.

Video: Ginella on Tom Weiskopf and the Stadium Course

36-hole TPC Scottsdale, also home to the Champions Course, is owned by the City of Scottsdale and leased by the PGA Tour. In 1986, former commissioner Deane Beman, in conjunction with Scottsdale’s 4-term Mayor, Herb Drinkwater, devised a plan to build a stadium course. That year Tom Weiskopf’s Troon Country Club had won "Best New Private Course" by Golf Digest. After a walk of the course, Beman was sold. He hired Weiskopf and his partner, Jay Morrish, to build TPC Scottsdale.

Weiskopf says Drinkwater never gets enough credit for making the deal go through. The cowboy boot-wearing, non-golfing politician cut through the thick red tape to make the land available for a golf course. And without Drinkwater persuading a friend to sell the property used for the first two holes, Weiskopf doesn’t think they would’ve had enough room to build a championship course.

Drinkwater died in December of 1997, but not before he was able to see a scrawny Tiger Woods make an ace at 16 earlier that year. And in that moment, amidst the cup-throwing crowd, witness and appreciate the phenomenon of what that hole would mean to the game of golf.

Is Weiskopf shocked to see the four finishing holes create so much drama? "Not really," he said. "This may sound arrogant, but that was the plan."

As for the 17th hole, every one of Weiskopf’s 66 designs features a reachable par 4. He says he was inspired to incorporate the concept into his designs after playing the Old Course in St. Andrews during an Open Championship. Holes 9, 10, 12 and 18, depending on the conditions, could be considered reachable. He loved them, so why not have more of them? The fourth hole at Troon Country Club was his first. The 17th at TPC Scottsdale, regardless of the fact Beman hated the idea, wasn’t far behind.

Weiskopf says Beman didn’t like the idea because even in the former commissioner’s playing prime, he was always short off the tee. “I won that battle,” says Weiskopf. "And it’s more than just making it reachable. It has to be a challenge off the tee and from the spot where players will layup."

With the amount of fans and money the tournament generates for the city and the tour players, Weiskopf thinks the tournament should be more significant than just a general tour stop. He wishes it would be a WGC event.

"I would’ve liked to play in front of 500,000 fans," he said. 

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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.