Cabrera & Son take lead in Father-Son Challenge

AP
Published 5:43 p.m. ET Dec. 16, 2017

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — 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 and was certain playing front of cameras. 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 rallying 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 one 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.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Golf Game Tournaments

Do you know where did the game of golf originate? Well, Bruntsfield Links, Edinburgh, Scotland holds its place in history, as it was here that the first game of golf was played. Soon, golf caught the imagination of people all across the world. Countries like Ireland, USA instantaneously taken to golf as a popular sport.

The PGA Championship, which Tiger Woods has almost made his own, was first held in 1916. The venue then was the Siwanoy Country Club, Bronxville, New York. Jim Barnes, the Englishmen was credited with the first PGA Victory. You must be thinking that Tiger Woods would have been the player to win the PGA championships most number of times! But really, it is Walter Hagen, who has won the championships 5 times and Gene Sarazen who has followed it up with 3 wins. In all this, Tiger Woods has won 2 championships thus far.

The US Open Golf Tournament is equally as prestigious as the PGA Championships, if not more. The first edition was held at the Newport Golf and Country Club, which also saw the first champion of the championship being crowned. The crown then went to Horace Rawlins from England. This tourney is held in the month of June every year.

The British Open is another of the tournaments that is very popular with professionals and amateurs. Unlike some of the other acclaimed tourneys, it is believed that people play the British Open solely with the objective of enjoying the game. With that being said, it must be noted that the circuit here is tough and so is the weather.

Conceptualized by Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts, the Masters Tournament was first played in March, 1934. Tiger Woods has the credential of being the youngest player on this tour with Jack Nicklaus getting the oldest player on the circuit here. He also has the tag of the player with most number of wins.

Golfing really started as a pastime for some individuals. But with time, it has gone on to become something that people look forward to year after year. Golf has really gone on to become more of a people's sport over the years.

Tours | Until The Next Tee

Many golfers have the dream of playing golf professionally. While a tiny number of golfers succeed others don’t quite “make the cut”. In a massive understatement you could say that I fall into the latter category. I’ve made a few decisions lately with some counsel from my coach but more on that later. What’s life like chasing the dream while playing Mini-Tours?

There are several ways that golfers approach this dream. For many, the chase begins at a very young age where most often a golf club is much larger than the little golfer themself. As they get older, the parents put their children into golf lessons under the watchful eyes of a coach. From there the “cookie-cutter” process begins and eventually the child is introduced to competition through the likes of U.S. Kids Golf or associations like the AJGA or CJGA. No matter what the development has begun much like a 7 year-old hockey player playing Novice hockey at a Triple-A level. They have a goal of playing in the NHL. Most of these young golfers do as well with their eyes focused on the PGA or LPGA Tour. A little further down the road they play high school golf and if all goes well coaches from different college and university golf programs have taken notice. Inevitably, they graduate high school and pursue post-secondary education while playing golf at a college level. With collegiate play under their belts they focus to life as an adult and maybe just maybe they make it to the professional tours. Through playing golf at their club the membership base supports their endeavors by raising tournament fees or sponsors enabling them to enter tournaments. Perhaps a star is born and they turn into the next Jordan, Rickie, Justin, Lexi, Lydia or Brooke. In some cases it’s not quite as glamorous and I can tell you first hand that it isn’t.

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Photo Credit: AJGA

 

In my case, my approach was as unorthodox and off of the grid as you can get. Regardless, I played and all of this was done while battling a swing change. Playing through a swing change is tough enough. You have doubts if something doesn’t feel right and then you revert back to what you were doing before. Playing in competition while doing so is sadistic. Playing through health issues while all of that is going on is even worse. When compared to the pressure of playing while spending grocery money on entry fees knowing that you’re taking food out of your family’s mouth is by far the worst kind of pressure that you can face. This was the kind of pressure that I placed onto myself everytime that I teed it up  and I’m sure that didn’t help matters. Nobody made me do it as I simply did it to myself. I’ve always been private about finances and I’ll continue to be but I will say that without some sort of financial backing chasing the dream is damn near impossible. For a one day event in 2012 on the Great Lakes Tour here is a rundown of the costs….

  • Tour Registration Fee – $300 (whether you play in 1 or 10 events… nothing massive)

  • Tournament Entry Fee – $230 (low-end of the scale)

  • Practice Round – $100 (more with cart)

  • Hotel Accommodations – $100 (low-end… most events were about 2 hrs away with 7:30 tee times)

  • Fuel and Food – $75

So if you were to add up each event it’s easy to see that per event it roughly costs $500/event. In the grand scheme of things it’s nothing when compared to other Mini-Tour’s like the Florida Pro Golf Tour. Their entry fee alone is $575 USD for a Non-Member. A Mini-Tour like the SwingThought Tour is $1400+ USD for registration and another $700 USD per event. Unlike the Great Lakes Tour (when I played) these other tournaments at least offer a two or more day tournament. Basically, if you’re paying out of your own pocket you need those pockets to be very deep. Supporting yourself to play is high stakes gambling in a nutshell. To play in these Mini-Tour’s not only do you need game, experience and decent health. You need the money!!

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Remember this pic. Tee shot on the GLT… #9 at Tarandowah. Two holes later I was carted away by ambulance.

My decision under the advice and counsel of my coach. Over the last couple of years I haven’t played much golf and none of it was competitive. Between being a Director Of Golf in 2016 (50-60 hour weeks led to a total of 53 holes played that year… not rounds) and of course many health issues in 2017 all  led to a lack of play. Although, I did get out a fair amount in 2017 my game simply declined and it wasn’t until November/December when I finally felt things start to click again. With my lack of play and age being a factor (wrong side of 45) I’ve decided to take a step back from playing against the kids out there. These kids coming out of college and university pipelines are long and good. As a soon to be 46 year-old looking at a kid 20 years younger you know when “the time” comes. It’s something that I experienced when I was playing hockey and baseball. While you can’t worry about what they’re doing and you aren’t playing directly against them it does get into your head when they blow by you by 50 yards and have a wedge left to the green and you have a 5-iron left into the same green. It also doesn’t help when your caddy is stammering on about their drive.

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Focused on new goals.

What I’m not saying is that I’m finished pursuing competitive golf. In fact, I’m now turning my focus onto bettering myself and my game. It’s the reason why I’ve been a diehard about getting into the gym and working out. I have a checklist of goals and I am proud to have reached some already…

  1. Lose weight √
  2. Get stronger √
  3. Identify and correct where my struggles on the course are √
  4. Play more golf (I need much more though) √
  5. Quit tinkering with my swing
  6. Play competitive golf again
  7. Get back to enjoying the game more

My plan over the next 4 years is what the plan was all along. It’s always been about when I received my golf vasectomy and turned 50. Anything between then and now was a very expensive learning experience. I’m going to play tournament golf as an amateur and develop a playing resume over the next 4 years through a couple of avenues. Perhaps focus on the Mid-Am and/or Mid-Master Divisions. But if there is one thing that I do know it’s that I’m not finished yet. #golfvasectomy

Until The Next Tee!!

Play Like the Pros

Play like the pros is something all golfers, young and old want to do. This article's goal is to motivate all of you who play golf to give serious consideration to learning from the pros, up close and personal. How do you do this? By spending a day at a local golf tournament or a PGA tour event in your part of the world this year. Going to a golf tournament can be as helpful to your golf game as taking a summer's worth of lessons from your local pro or watching a golf instruction video. When I was just learning the game of golf in the latter 1960s and through the 1970s I had the privilege of going to PGA tour events such as the Thunderbird (Upper Montclair Country Club), on three occasions, the US Open (Baltustrol Country Club and Winged Foot Country Club), on two occasions, the PGA (Winged Foot and Baltustrol) and the Westchester Classic (Westchester Country Club) two or three times. I also went to a number of local golf tournaments in New Jersey and watched the pros from our state. As an eighteen year old in 1969 I remember watching Jack Nicklaus on the eighth tee at Upper Montclair hit a golf ball harder than I thought a human being could hit a ball. I watched him reach the 580 yard 18th with two wood shots. Incredible. For a person of any age, spending a day walking around a golf course watching the pros play in a tournament is something every golfer should do and even if you are not an active golfer seeing a tournament live is really a great and unforgetable event. I think the things I remember most about my days watching the pros at these events were as follows:

How smooth most of their swings were,

The exquisite timing of their swings coming into the ball, and

The great distances they hit the ball wherever with a driver or any type of iron, and

How they usually could get them out of trouble and save par.

When you go to a golf tournament you get to see up close how the professionals management their way around the golf course. What does that mean? By watching a pro or many pros you can see the way they prepare to play their round, play their round, manage their way around each hole and the course, and how they stay fit on course. You will also see how they practice courtesy to one another and observe all the rules of golf.

Preparation and Practice

Practice Range

During any round of golf at a PGA tour event, professionals will spend anywhere from an hour to just over an hour warming up with most of their irons and driver, determining what their rhythm is on that particular day and trying to iron out any swing flaws that they or their caddy or teaching instructor notice. Golf professionals can get a sense from their warm up routine if they are moving through the ball well or if something is not quite right. The practice or warm up time is the time the golfer has to get his game in order before he hits the first tee. When visiting a golf course for a professional tournament, plan on getting there two or three hours early to spend a good bit of time on the practice range watching your favorite professional and many others. If you are there on the practice range, you can see close up the following:

How the pro takes the club back at the start of his swing, whether he takes it back on an inside track or an outside track. Notice how fast or slow he brings the club back and how far back he brings the club. Note the trajectory of the shot relative to the manner of backswing the pro makes.

How he examines the path of his club during the back swing, aided by his caddy and perhaps other friends or pros. Watch the way the pro may take a partial back swing to see what is going on and how he uses other clubs to see what kind of plane the backswing is on.

The speed or tempo of his backswing which is critical because if his tempo is off and he starts off the round swinging too fast or rushing his backswing or downswing, he can shoot him out of the round almost before he gets going.

What kind of follow through he has and how far does it go after he hits the ball. Most pros have a very long follow through because they are swinging so hard on their drives, but on iron shots, depending on the type of shot he is practicing, the follow through may be very short.

The position of his head during the back swing, during the downswing and the actual striking of the ball. This is a key element of the golf swing and persons watching the warm up should pay particular attention as to how still the head is during most of the swing and then when it begins to move and in what direction it moves. The head should remain very still during the backswing, downswing, and striking of the ball before the force of the swing and follow through pull the head towards the ball.

The kind of grip he is using, whether it is an overlapping grip, double overlapping, baseball, or interlocking grip. See how your grip matches up with the grip of any one of the pros. Remember during the warm up before the round there will be as many as twenty to thirty pros hitting balls for you to watch.

Is he using a grip to promote or accentuate a draw or hook or fade. Most pros have a slight draw on their drives so if you see a pro drawing his drive see how his grip is positioned. Is his left hand completely over the top of the shaft (ie you can see three, four, or even five knuckles). See if his grip is much different on drives versus iron shots.

The stance, is it narrow, wide, a hook stance or a fade stance. In this regard you can see the positioning of the feet. For example, is the front foot positioned in a way so the toes are pointing sharply towards the hole or are they more or less perpendicular to the path of the club on the downswing. Is the back foot pointed toward twelve o'clock or tilted more towards two o'clock.

Practice Putting

Once the pro has finished warm up and is satisfied with how he is striking the ball, he usually moves to the practice putting green or greens and works on his putting stroke as well as practicing some chip shots and sand shots. With regard to putting he will practice putts that are very short (two to four feet), medium range (five feet to maybe fifteen feet) and long range (over fifteen feet). He will sometimes do drills from certain distances to build his confidence. He will practice puts that go right to left and left to right and straight. He will probably try different putters before selecting the one he will use during the round.

Watch how the pro keeps his head steady during the entire stroke, the backstroke and follow through. Pay particular attention to his head position at the time he strikes the ball.

Watch the length of the back stroke and the follow through.

Notice the speed of the putter coming back and then going forward.

Take account of the position of his hands and what kind of grip he is using.

Note the kind of putter being used, whether mallet or blade.

Try to get in your mind the tempo of his putting stroke wherever it seems to be fast or slow, smooth or jerky.

Watch some pros hitting sand shots during this time when they are not under pressure and be sure to watch when they are in the sand during the actual round. See how they play different sand shots, how they open the club face or close the club face, how they handle a buried lie, an uphill lie or a downhill lie.

The Actual Round

After you have decided which foursome to watch or whatever your strategy is going to be, enjoy the excitement of the game as your particular player or players come to the first tee and start their round. Many people will follow their favorites for a while, maybe half the day or so, others will pick a good viewing position and watch how many groups handle a particular hole or holes, or maybe they will watch golfers coming to a particular green. Maybe they will do all of the above. What is important to see as the round progresses are the following:

The tempo of the players will in most cases be calm without the appearance of much emotion except for a few seconds if a great putt is made or a spectacular shot is made. This is important for you the amateur because how you handle your emotions plays a big part on how well you play or how consistently you play.

The pace or speed at which the players and foursomes play. Most of the pros at PGA tour events play at a fairly rapid pace, at least until they get to the green. Note that the older players tend to play at a more rapid pace than many of the younger pros. Slow play is detrimental to the pros and they try to play at a good steady pace accomplishing the round usually pretty close to four hours without it is a major championship.

Pay attention to how the pros play the four fours and how they manage their way around the course. How the pros manage their way around the golf course could be represented by where they tee off from on the tee box on a particular hole, what they do and what kind of club they use when in trouble, whether that trouble is behind a tree or trees, in very deep rough, in or at the edge of a pond, brook, or lake or in a fairway or green side sand trap. You should see how high they tee the ball off the ground when using a driver, and whether they use a tee on a par three. If the hole is particularly problematic with many hazards in or close to the edge of the fairway (such as trees or out of borders or water) and around the green, pay attention to how the pro plays the hole so as to avoid the trouble, and put himself in the best and easiest position for his putting.

Note how the players play according to the rules of golf and do not try to take advantage of the rest of the field by doing something illegal. Professional golfers have a very very high level of ethics and they play according to the rules even if it means a penalty stroke. Many amateurs tend to bend or break many of the rules of golf and that should not be. Amateurs should follow all the rules as they understand them, just like the pros do.

Finally, when you go to a professional golf tournament be it a local golf tournament or a PGA tour event, and you should, you should bring very light clothing (assuming it is summer time), lots of sunscreen, a golf hat, sneakers or something easy to walk many miles in, and a light weight folding chair. Oh yes, bring a bottle or bottles of water. Play like the pros is more than an adage, it is something you can do this golf season if you are willing to watch the pros in person at PGA tour event or a local golf tournament.

Banned golfer Mark Hensby: ‘Call me stupid but don’t call me a cheater’

Pro golfer Mark Hensby, who was suspended for one year by the PGA Tour after he failed provide a drug testing sample, said Wednesday he made “an error in judgement” that “had nothing to do with taking a banned substance.”

Hensby, who won the 2004 John Deere Classic, issued a statement in which he details the events of Oct. 26 that let up to his ban.

“Call me stupid but don’t call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity it represents. And I would never compromise the values and qualities the game deserves.”

He writes that he opted not to take a urine test after his final round at the Sanderson Farms PGA Tour event in “a moment of anger and frustration” thinking “it was just time to retire from golf.”

He was prepared to take a blood test, he writes in a statement posted by Brian Wacker of Golf Digest, but had recently urinated and would not have been able to produce another urine sample for “at least a couple more hours.”

He hopes “people would understand the professional pain and turmoil that I have been experiencing for nearly a decade.”

Hensby, 46, will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018, and the Tour offered no further comment on his suspension after its announcement.

“I made a terrible decisions to not stay around that evening to take the urine test. (I was fully prepared to take a blood because it is quick). However my emotions got the better of me. Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test.”

The Australian is currently ranked No. 1,623 in the Official World Golf Ranking and made just two PGA Tour starts in 2016-17, missing the cut in each event. (He also was disqualified from this fall’s Sanderson Farms Championship.) He teed it up 14 times last season on the Web.com Tour, making five cuts.

But Hensby is a six-time winner as a pro. He has the one PGA Tour victory to go along with one on the European Tour at the 2005 Scandinavian Masters, one at the 1996 Illinois State Open and three on the Web.com Tour, the last one in 2003 at the Henrico County Open.

He had a nice run in major championships in 2005, tying for fifth at the Masters, sharing third at the U.S. Open and tying for 15th at the British Open. He also was T-59 at the PGA Championship that year.

In 2006, Hensby was injured in a car accident. Two years later, he lost fully exempt status on then PGA Tour.

Hensby is the fourth player that the PGA Tour has publicly suspended for violating its anti-doping policy, joining Doug Barron, Bhavik Patel and Scott Stallings.