Tigers Record Legit Even With No-Cuts

By George WhiteNovember 6, 2003, 5:00 pm
So, how legitimate is Tigers newest record? He will break Byron Nelsons mark of 113 consecutive cuts this week at the Tour Championship ' but hes played in 23 tournaments during the streak when there wasnt a cut. Thats definitely not fair, argue many critics.
How legitimate is Woods record? Very legitimate, as it develops.
Back in Nelsons day, a cut was considered in the money, and in the money oftentimes was just the top 20. Nelson finished no lower than a tie for 17th in the years he was compiling the 113. Woods most often has played under rules which state a cut is top 70 and ties, or top 60 and ties, and you can argue that his record isnt that comparable until you are red, purple and blue in the face. But dont make the no-cuts a part of the 114 equation.
The 23 no-cuts are pretty cut-and-dried as to their difficulty. They are the tournaments played by the games best players, some events as high as 64 participants (WGC-Accenture), some 50 or so (WGC-AmEx, WGC-NEC), some just 30 (Tour Championship) or around 30 (Mercedes Championships). All, however, are reserved for the cream of the crop. So he has had to face stringent competition in each of the 23.
This week Woods plays in his 24th. But of the other 23, he has won nine ' better than a one-in-three ratio. He has finished in the top 10 in 11 others. That makes 20 of 23 that he has finished in the top 10. Included in the misses is the 2001 Tour Championship, where he finished tied for 13th.
The other two are iffy. In 2002 he lost a first-round match in the WGC-Accenture Match Play to Peter OMalley. Should that count as a cut missed?
Well, not so quickly ' at worst he would have been somewhere in the bottom half of a 64-player field after THE FIRST DAY. He didnt play particularly poorly ' better, in fact, than some of the first-round winners. Of course, they dont keep hole-by-hole scores in match play, so it would have been impossible to give Woods a score. He only played 17 holes and was beaten, 2 and 1. But I would have to give him the nod on this one, strictly because he still would have had another day to recover.
The other instance, Woods was in definite trouble. At the 1998 Tour Championship, he was in last place after two rounds (normally cut day) with a 75-76 score. He had nary a birdie en route to his 11-over-par score .
The only excuse you can give him is that it WAS the Tour Championship, and had it been a regular tour event, there MIGHT have been a lot of players underneath him ' highly unlikely considering his score, but I guess possible.
At any rate, a missed cut there would have set him back 18 events ' from the time he first started the streak until after the Tour Championship that year. But since that little unpleasantness in 98, I really cant find an event that is a definite ' or even likely ' missed cut.
Say, for arguments sake, that his record is now 96, going back to that errant performance in the 98 Tour Championship. That would leave him still a year shy of the record.
OK, but what of Nelsons mark? To knock Byron's record in any way is to knock him personally, and that certainly is not intended. He played 'em all, teed it up come Hades or high water, and he succeeded admirably But his record surely includes two or three events where there was very little competition. Woods, it should again be noted, played the 1998 Tour Championship against the 29 other best players on the PGA Tour.
What, though, can be gained by trying to compare records which are some 60 years apart? Nothing - there is no way possible they can be compared. They are two distinctly different records, with different rules about where the 'cuts' are made - in fact, they aren't even remotely similar.
I count 14 non-PGA Tour events that Woods has played since 1998 - events where he played by himself and with at least 12 players. Only the New Zealand Open in 2002 is a little dicey, and even then he had some pretty good Australian and Asian competition. The competition in the 14 tournaments was surely as good as a few that Nelson faced. So, as long as we're dealing in 'what-ifs' here - add 14 to the 96 total since the '98 Tour Championship and you have 110. I'll say - that is almost 114 - the record!
Incidentally, Tiger has missed only one cut his entire career ' the 1997 Canadian Open, where he bogeyed three of the last four holes to miss by one. But his streak doesn't begin there - it officially begins with the 1998 Pebble Beach event. That was the tournament that was rained out during El Nino and finished in August. He decided to skip the completion and he wasnt charged with a missed cut, but a withdrawal.
Would it have been a missed cut if he had followed protocol and reported for the windup? Yes, quite likely. When play was interrupted in February until Aug.. 17, he was 14 shots off the lead at 76-72-148. If it were a 36-hole cut, he would be out the door hat in hand.
It's a little easier with those (no-cut) events in there, said Davis Love III. But it's obviously five times more than anybody else currently. So it's a pretty incredible record. I think in this day and age with the exposure and the depth of field, it's probably a better record than anybody else has ever put up in cuts.
So 113 events have come and gone, a few with Tiger scrapping to get by until Saturday and Sunday. Love said there are some few players ' Woods is obviously one ' who put a premium on playing on the weekends.
It's obviously a pride thing with some people like Tiger that, I'm just not going to miss a cut, or, I'm not going to give in. I'm not going to just mail it in on Sunday. I'm going to shoot the best round of the day or something, said Love.
I don't think he ever considers letting up from winning, either. We always feel like you make the cut, you can still win. Obviously maybe not in Vegas, but in a lot of places you can make the cut and still win the golf tournament if you play good. It's been done quite a bit. So I think that's just part of his nature, of why he's so good, is he doesn't want to give up - no matter what.
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Mackay still a caddie at heart, even with a microphone

By Doug FergusonJanuary 16, 2018, 7:34 pm

HONOLULU – All it took was one week back on the bag to remind Jim ''Bones'' Mackay what he always loved about being a caddie.

It just wasn't enough for this to be the ultimate mic drop.

Mackay traded in his TV microphone at the Sony Open for the 40-pound bag belonging to Justin Thomas.

It was his first time caddying since he split with Phil Mickelson six months ago. Mackay was only a temporary replacement at Waialae for Jimmy Johnson, a good friend and Thomas' regular caddie who has a nasty case of plantar fasciitis that will keep him in a walking boot for the next month.

''The toughest thing about not caddying is missing the competition, not having a dog in the fight,'' Mackay said before the final round. ''There's nothing more rewarding as a caddie, in general terms, when you say, 'I don't like 6-iron, I like 7,' and being right. I miss that part of it.''

The reward now?

''Not stumbling over my words,'' he said. ''And being better than I was the previous week.''

He has done remarkably well since he started his new job at the British Open last summer, except for that time he momentarily forgot his role. Parts of that famous caddie adage – ''Show up, keep up, shut up'' – apparently can apply to golf analysts on the ground.

During the early hours of the telecast, before Johnny Miller came on, Justin Leonard was in the booth.

''It's my job to report on what I see. It's not my job to ask questions,'' Mackay said. ''I forgot that for a minute.''

Leonard was part of a booth discussion on how a comfortable pairing can help players trying to win a major. That prompted Mackay to ask Leonard if he found it helpful at the 1997 British Open when he was trying to win his first major and was paired with Fred Couples in the final round at Royal Troon.

''What I didn't know is we were going to commercial in six seconds,'' Mackay said. ''I would have no way of knowing that, but I completely hung Justin out to dry. He's now got four seconds to answer my long-winded question.''

During the commercial break, the next voice Mackay heard belonged to Tommy Roy, the executive golf producer at NBC.

''Bones, don't ever do that again.''

It was Roy who recognized the value experienced caddies could bring to a telecast. That's why he invited Mackay and John Wood, the caddie for Matt Kuchar, into the control room at the 2015 Houston Open so they could see how it all worked and how uncomfortable it can be to hear directions coming through an earpiece.

Both worked as on-course reporters at Sea Island that fall.

And when Mickelson and Mackay parted ways after 25 years, Roy scooped up the longtime caddie for TV.

It's common for players to move into broadcasting. Far more unusual is for a caddie to be part of the mix. Mackay loves his new job. Mostly, he loves how it has helped elevate his profession after so many years of caddies being looked upon more unfavorably than they are now.

''I want to be a caddie that's doing TV,'' he said. ''That's what I hope to come across as. The guys think this is good for caddies. And if it's good for caddies, that makes me happy. Because I'm a caddie. I'll always be a caddie.''

Not next week at Torrey Pines, where Mickelson won three times. Not a week later in Phoenix, where Mackay lives. Both events belong to CBS.

And not the Masters.

He hasn't missed Augusta since 1994, when Mickelson broke his leg skiing that winter.

''That killed me,'' he said, ''but not nearly as much as it's going to kill me this year. I'll wake up on Thursday of the Masters and I'll be really grumpy. I'll probably avoid television at all costs until the 10th tee Sunday. And I'll watch. But it will be, within reason, the hardest day of my life.''

There are too many memories, dating to when he was in the gallery right of the 11th green in 1987 when Larry Mize chipped in to beat Greg Norman. He caddied for Mize for two years, and then Scott Simpson in 1992, and Mickelson the rest of the way. He was on the bag for Lefty's three green jackets.

Mackay still doesn't talk much about what led them to part ways, except to say that a player-caddie relationship runs its course.

''If you lose that positive dynamic, there's no point in continuing,'' he said. ''It can be gone in six months or a year or five years. In our case, it took 25 years.''

He says a dozen or so players called when they split up, and the phone call most intriguing was from Roy at NBC.

''I thought I'd caddie until I dropped,'' Mackay said.

He never imagined getting yardages and lining up putts for anyone except the golfer whose bag he was carrying. Now it's for an audience that measures in the millions. Mackay doesn't look at it as a second career. And he won't rule out caddying again.

''It will always be tempting,'' he said. ''I'll always consider myself a caddie. Right now, I'm very lucky and grateful to have the job I do.''

Except for that first week in April.

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The Social: The end was nigh, then it wasn't

By Jason CrookJanuary 16, 2018, 7:00 pm

The star power at the Sony Open may have been overshadowed by a missile scare, but there were plenty of other social media stories that kept the golf world on its toes this week, including some insight on Tiger Woods from a round with President Obama and some failed trick shots.

All that and more in this week's edition of The Social.

By now you've undoubtedly heard about the false alarm in Hawaii on Saturday, where just about everyone, including most Sony Open participants, woke up to an emergency cell phone alert that there was a ballistic missile heading toward the islands.

Hawaiian emergency management officials eventually admitted the original message was mistakenly sent out, but before they did, people (understandably) freaked out.

As the situation unfolded, some Tour pros took to social media to express their confusion and to let the Twittersphere know how they planned on riding out this threat:

While I would've been in that bathtub under the mattress with John Peterson, his wife, baby and in-laws (wait, how big is this tub?), here's how Justin Thomas reacted to the threat of impending doom:

Yeah, you heard that right.

“I was like ‘there’s nothing I can do,'” Thomas said. ”I sat on my couch and opened up the sliding door and watched TV and listened to music. I was like, if it’s my time, it’s my time.”

Hmmm ... can we just go ahead and award him all the 2018 majors right now? Because if Thomas is staring down death in mid-January, you gotta like the kid's chances on the back nine Sunday at Augusta and beyond.

Before the Hawaiian Missile Crisis of 2018, things were going about as well as they could at Waialae Country Club, starting with the Wednesday pro-am.

Jordan Spieth might have been the third-biggest star in his own group, after getting paired with superstar singer/songwriter/actor Nick Jonas and model/actress Kelly Rohrbach.

You'd be hard-pressed to find a more photogenic group out on the course, and the "Baywatch" star has a gorgeous swing as well, which makes sense, considering she was a former collegiate golfer at Georgetown.

As impressive as that group was, they were somehow outshined by an amateur in another group, former NFL coach June Jones.

Jones, who now coaches the CFL's Hamilton Tiger-Cats, played his round in bare feet and putted with his 5-iron, a remedy he came up with to battle the yips.

Former NFL and current CFL coach June Jones: A master of 5-iron putting?

A post shared by PGA TOUR (@pgatour) on

Considering he made back-to-back birdies at one point during the day, it's safe to say he's won that battle.

With Tiger Woods' return to the PGA Tour about a week away, that sound you hear is the hype train motoring full speed down the tracks.

First, his ex-girlfriend Lindsey Vonn told Sports Illustrated that she hopes this comeback works out for him.

“I loved him and we’re still friends. Sometimes, I wish he would have listened to me a little more, but he’s very stubborn and he likes to go his own way," the Olympic skiier said. "I hope this latest comeback sticks. I hope he goes back to winning tournaments.”

Vonn also mentioned she thinks Woods is very stubborn and that he didn't listen to her enough. That really shouldn't shock anyone who watched him win the 2008 U.S. Open on one leg. Don't think there were a lot of people in his ear telling him that was a great idea at the time.

We also have this report from Golf Channel Insider Tim Rosaforte, stating that the 14-time major champ recently played a round with former president Barack Obama at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., where he received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.

The Farmers Insurance Open is sure to be must-see TV, but until then, I'm here for all of the rampant speculation and guesses as to how things will go. The more takes the better. Make them extra spicy, please and thanks.

These poor New Orleans Saints fans. Guess the only thing you can do is throw your 65-inch TV off the balcony and get 'em next year.

Here's two more just for good measure.

Farts ... will they ever not be funny?

Perhaps someday, but that day was not early last week, when Tommy Fleetwood let one rip on his European teammates during EurAsia Cup team photos.

Fleetwood went 3-0-0 in the event, helping Europe to a victory over Asia, perhaps by distracting his opponents with the aid of his secret weapon.

Also, how about the diabolical question, "Did you get that?"

Yeah Tommy, we all got that.

Ahhh ... golf trick shot videos. You were fun while you lasted.

But now we’ve officially come to the point in their existence where an unsuccessful attempt is much more entertaining than a properly executed shot, and right on cue, a couple of pros delivered some epic fails.

We start with Sony Open runner-up James Hahn’s preparation for the event, where for some reason he thought he needed to practice a running, jumping, Happy Gilmore-esque shot from the lip of a bunker. It didn’t exactly work out.

Not to be outdone, Ladies European Tour pro Carly Booth attempted the juggling-drive-it-out-of-midair shot made famous by the Bryan Bros, and from the looks of things she might have caught it a little close to the hosel.

PSA to trick-shot artists everywhere: For the sake of the viewing public, if you feel a miss coming on, please make sure the camera is rolling.

Seriously, though, who cares? Definitely not these guys and gals, who took the time to comment, "who cares?" They definitely do not care.

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Spieth selected by peers to run for PAC chairman

By Will GrayJanuary 16, 2018, 6:43 pm

Jordan Spieth may still be relatively young, but he has gained the confidence of some of the PGA Tour's most seasoned voices.

Spieth is one of two players selected by the current player directors of the Tour's Policy Board to run for Chairman of the Player Advisory Council (PAC). Spieth will face Billy Hurley III in an election that will end Feb. 13, with the leading vote-getter replacing Davis Love III next year on the Policy Board for a three-year term through 2021.

Last year's PAC chairman, Johnson Wagner, replaces Jason Bohn as a player director on the Policy Board beginning this year and running through 2020. Other existing player directors include Charley Hoffman (2017-19), Kevin Streelman (2017-19) and Love (2016-18).

The 16-member PAC advises and consults with the Policy Board and Tour commissioner Jay Monahan on "issues affecting the Tour."

In addition to Spieth and Hurley, other PAC members for 2018 include Daniel Berger, Paul Casey, Stewart Cink, Chesson Hadley, James Hahn, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Anirban Lahiri, Geoff Ogilvy, Sam Saunders, Chris Stroud, Justin Thomas, Kyle Thompson and Cameron Tringale.

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Florida golfers encounter python-wrapped alligator

By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 6:29 pm

Alligator sightings are pretty common on Southern golf courses - see here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Also, here. (RIP, Timmy the Turtle.)

But here's one that deserves distinction.

Those images come from the Golf Club at Fiddler's Creek, down in Naples - in case you're booking a vacation to Southwest Florida or just looking for a Hot Deal this week. Hit 'em straight, folks.