Baby 59 and Paying Tiger

By Rex HoggardMarch 20, 2009, 4:00 pm
The good news, if any exist, about missing the cut at the Tampa, Fla., area event is that most players' next stop, the Arnold Palmer Invitational, is just a short drive back up Interstate 4 and the chance to catch a Detroit Tigers spring training game at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, the most user-friendly and relaxing of all the Grapefruit League haunts, is on your way to Arnies place.
 
The good news about falling short in Cut Line is that it doesnt count against ones FedEx Cup points and the sting only hurts for a minute.
 

MADE CUT
 
  • Annika Sorenstam/Mike McGee: The newlyweds didnt waste any time. The happy couple announced last week that Sorenstam is expecting the couples first child less than three months after the two were married.
     
    The former world No. 1 is a shoo-in for 2009s worlds greatest mom, award, and may we be the first to offer the expectant parents a gender-neutral suggestion to name the little one: Baby 59. With those golf genes ' McGees father, Jerry, is a four-time Tour winner ' they may as well set the bar high from the start. And, besides, Baby 59 is way more memorable than Charlie.
     
  • Dan Forsman: Direct from the good things happening to good people department, the original Tour nice guy waited just 12 events into his Champions Tour career to cash, winning last weeks AT&T Champions Classic in a playoff.
     
    All one needs to know about Forsman is that in his post-game debrief with the press he called his first over-50 title a humbling victory. Have to give Karma a plug for this one. After posting just five victories in an Ironman Tour career that spanned three decades and 651 events, the golf gods must have figured Forsman had waited long enough.
     

    MADE CUT' DID NOT FINISH (MDF)
     
  • John Daly: We want it to be true, we hope for the best, thank the cosmic tumblers for a second, or 15th, chance, and then race to the hill adjacent Turn 2 and await the pile-up. Its human nature. Its Dalys nature.
     
    GolfChannel.com reported last week that Daly has been holed up in the Tampa area working on his game and physique ' according to JDs manager the big man has lost 40 pounds ' to prepare for his comeback, which is scheduled to begin next month in Europe.
     
    The game could use a healthy, happy and focused Daly and theres little question Daly could use a do-over, but history suggests this album plays just a single tune.
     
  • Victorian (Australia) authorities: It cant be easy to pen a $3 million check, not in these troubled times and particularly when the payback can be a bit murky.
     
    Tiger Woods return to Down Under for the Australian Masters will be a boon for golf and the tournament, but for the sake of those Victorian politicians who signed that check lets hope its worth $3 million.
     
  • Michelle Wie/IMG: There are two sides to the teens management two-step. After just four years, Wie split with the William Morris Agency in March, a sign that suggests something wasnt right either with the newly minted LPGA player or the firm.
     
    With tour card in tow, Wie could become the engine that drives the LPGA, but only under the proper circumstances. Lets hope Wies new team at IMG takes a page out of Woods playbook, the frims other top client. When legacies are being molded, less is more and the bottom line should be among the bottom half of all priorities.
     

    MISSED CUT
     
  • Official World Golf Ranking: Late Sunday, Golf Channel number crunchers went to work. What the calculators and spreadsheets and Ouija Boards spat out may have been factual, at least according to the rules that govern the convoluted world of ranking professionals, but what we saw was Orson Wells stuff. Pure fantasy, a numbers induced hallucination.
     
    Without the aid of a PowerPoint presentation, the crux of what the accountants tabulated is this: if Woods plays poorly next week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Phil Mickelson plays well in two weeks at the Shell Houston Open, Lefty could overtake Woods atop the ranking.
     
    Just a thought, but if the World Ranking eggheads think Mickelson should be ranked ahead of Woods at anything other than Ping Pong then weve got some sub-prime mortgages wed like for them to consider.
     

  • One-in-three rule: Although there is nothing wrong with the concept, an often-floated idea that would require Tour players show up at every stop at least once every three years, it has missed the cut before advocates ever put a metaphorical peg in the ground. The independent contractors have spoken, and one-in-three has been voted off the island quicker than an accountant who refers to himself in the third person.
     
    It would be perfect. You sign a six-year contract with a sponsor and they are guaranteed to get everybody at least twice, said one tournament director last week at Doral. By everybody, of course, he meant Woods, but even off the record tournament directors have to toe that narrow line.
     
    Without a one-in-three mandate we end up with the curious case of the missing headliners. Exhibit A: the Transitions Championship. Despite having what is widely regarded as the best ball park in the Florida Swing, perfect conditions and sunshine, the Transitions has just one (Kenny Perry) of the top 10 players in the world.
     
    We know they cant play every week, but when a good golf course and $5.4 million purse cant lure a deeper field it might be time for the contractors to give up some independence.
     

     
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  • Full Coverage ' Transitions Championship
  • South Korean LPGA stars lead KLPGA team

    By Randall MellNovember 24, 2017, 10:32 pm

    South Korea’s LPGA team of all-stars took the early lead Friday on the Korean LPGA Tour in a team event featuring twice as much star power as this year’s Solheim Cup did.

    Eight of the world’s top 20 players are teeing it up in the ING Life Champions Trophy/ Inbee Park Invitational in Gyeongju. There were only four players among the top 20 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings when the United States defeated Europe in Des Moines, Iowa.

    Park led the LPGA team to a 3 ½-to-2 ½ lead on the first day.

    Park, who has been recuperating from a back injury for most of the second half of this season, teamed with Jeongeun Lee5 to defeat Hye Jin Choi and Ji Hyun Kim, 5 and 4, in the lead-off four-ball match.

    So Yeon Ryu and Park, former world No. 1s and LPGA Rolex Player of the Year Award winners, will be the marquee pairing on Saturday. They will lead off foursomes against Ji Young Kim and Min Sun Kim.

    Nine of the 11 South Koreans who won LPGA events this year are competing. Sung Hyun Park and I.K. Kim are the only two who aren’t.

    The fourball results:

    LPGA’s Inbee Park/ Jeongeun Lee5 def. Hye Jin Choi/Ji Hyun Kim, 5 and 4.

    LPGA’s Mirim Lee/Amy Yang def.  Ji Hyun Oh/Min Sun Kim, 3 and 1.

    LPGA’s M.J. Hur/Mi Hyang Lee halved Ji Hyun Kim/Ji Young Kim.

    KLPGA’s Ha Na Jang/Sun Woo Bae def. Sei Young Kim/Hyo Joo Kim, 5 and 4.

    LPGA’s Na Yeon Choi/Jenny Shin halved Jin Young Ko/Da Yeon Lee

    LPGA’s In Gee Chun/Eun Hee Ji halved Jeongeun Lee6/Char Young Kim.

    NOTE: The KPGA uses numerals after a player’s name to distinguish players with the exact same name.

     

    Cut Line: Lyle faces third bout with cancer

    By Rex HoggardNovember 24, 2017, 5:40 pm

    In this week’s holiday edition, Cut Line is thankful for the PGA Tour’s continued progress on many fronts and the anticipation that only a Tiger Woods return can generate.

    Made Cut

    The Fighter. That was the headline of a story Cut Line wrote about Jarrod Lyle following his second bout with cancer a few years ago, so it’s both sad and surreal to see the affable Australian now bracing for a third fight with leukemia.

    Lyle is working as an analyst for Channel 7’s coverage of this week’s Emirates Australian Open prior to undergoing another stem cell transplant in December.

    “I’ve got a big month coming,” Lyle said. “I’m back into hospital for some really heavy-duty treatment that’s really going to determine how things pan out for me.”

    Twice before things have panned out for Lyle. Let’s hope karma has one more fight remaining.

    Changing times. Last season the PGA Tour introduced a policy to add to the strength of fields, a measure that had long eluded officials and by most accounts was a success.

    This season the circuit has chosen to tackle another long-standing thorn, ridiculously long pro-am rounds. While there seems little the Tour can do to speed up play during pro-am rounds, a new plan called a 9&9 format will at least liven things up for everyone involved.

    Essentially, a tournament hosting a pro-am with four amateurs can request the new format, where one professional plays the first nine holes and is replaced by another pro for the second nine.

    Professionals will have the option to request 18-hole pro-am rounds, giving players who limit practice rounds to just pro-am days a chance to prepare, but otherwise it allows Tour types to shorten what is an admittedly long day while the amateurs get a chance to meet and play with two pros.

    The new measure does nothing about pace of play, but it does freshen up a format that at times can seem tired, and that’s progress.

    Tweet of the week: @Love3d (Davis Love III‏) “Thanks to Dr. Flanagan (Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center) for the new hip and great care! Can’t wait to get back to (the PGA Tour).”

    Love offered the particularly graphic tweet following hip replacement surgery on Tuesday, a procedure that he admitted he’d delayed because he was “chicken.”

    The surgery went well and Love is on pace to return to the Tour sometime next spring. As for the possibility of over-sharing on social media, we’ll leave that to the crowd.


    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    Distance control. The Wall Street Journal provided the octagon for the opening blows of a clash that has been looming for a long time.

    First, USGA executive director Mike Davis told The Journal that the answer to continued distance gains may be a restricted-flight golf ball with an a la carte rule that would allow different organizations, from the Tour all the way down to private clubs, deciding which ball to use.

    “You can’t say you don’t care about distance, because guess what? These courses are expanding and are predicted to continue to expand,” Davis said. “The impact it has had has been horrible.”

    A day later, Wally Uihlein, CEO of Acushnet, which includes the Titleist brand, fired back in a letter to The Journal, questioning among other things how distance gains are putting a financial burden on courses.

    “The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate,” Uihlein wrote.

    For anyone paying attention the last few years, this day was inevitable and the likely start of what will be a drawn out and heated process, but Cut Line’s just not sure anyone wins when it’s over.

    Tiger, take II. Tiger Woods’ return to competition next week at the Hero World Challenge was always going to generate plenty of speculation, but that hyperbole reached entirely new levels this week as players began giving personal accounts of the new and improved 14-time major champion.

    “I did talk to him, and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years,’” Day said as he prepared for the Australian Open. “If he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.”

    Rickie Fowler added to the frenzy when he was asked this month if the rumors that Woods is driving the ball by him, by 20 to 30 yards by some reports, are true?

    “Oh, yeah,” he told Golf.com. “Way by.”

    Add to all this a recent line that surfaced in Las Vegas that Woods is now listed at 20-1 to win a major in 2018, and it seems now may be a good time for a restraint.

    Golf is better with Woods, always has been and always will be, but it may be best to allow Tiger time to find out where his body and game are before we declare him back.


    Missed Cut

    Searching for answers. Twelve months ago, Hideki Matsuyama was virtually unstoppable and, regardless of what the Official World Golf Ranking said, arguably the best player on the planet.

    Now a year removed from that lofty position, which featured the Japanese star finishing either first or second in six of his seven starts as the New Year came and went, Matsuyama has faded back to fifth in the world and on Sunday finished fifth, some 10 strokes behind winner Brooks Koepka, at the Dunlop Phoenix.

    “That hurt,” Matsuyama told the Japan Times. “I don’t know whether it’s a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well. It seems there are many issues to address.”

    Since his last victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Matsuyama has just two top-10 finishes on Tour and he ended his 2016-17 season with a particularly poor performance at the Presidents Cup.

    While Matsuyama’s take seems extreme considering his season, there are certainly answers that need answering.

    Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 24, 2017, 1:33 pm

    Updated at 9:50 p.m. ET

    Images and footage from Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson's round Friday at Trump National in Jupiter, Fla., alongside President Donald Trump:



    Original story:

    Tiger Woods is scheduled to make his return to competition next week at his Hero World Challenge. But first, a (quick) round with the President.

    President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he was going to play at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., alongside Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.



    Woods and President Trump previously played last December. Trump, who, according to trumpgolfcount.com has played 75 rounds since taking over the presidency, has also played over the last year with Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Hideki Matsuyama.

    Chawrasia leads major champs in Hong Kong

    By Associated PressNovember 24, 2017, 1:19 pm

    HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia extended his lead at the Hong Kong Open to two strokes Friday after a 4-under 66 in the second round.

    Chawrasia, who had led by one at the Hong Kong Golf Club, is at 9-under 131 overall and took as much as a five-stroke lead at one point.

    ''Yesterday I was putting very well, and today, also I make some up and downs. I saved a couple of short putts. That's why I think I'm leading by two shots most probably,'' the Indian said. ''The next two days, I'm just looking forward.''


    Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open


    Thomas Aiken (64) is second, followed by Alexander Bjork (66), Joakim Lagergren (66), Poom Saksansin (68) and Julian Suri (67) at 5 under 135.

    Aiken's round was the lowest of the tournament.

    ''It is tough out there. The greens are really firm. You've got to hit the fairway,'' Aiken said. ''If you get above the holes, putts can get away from you.''

    Justin Rose (69) had six birdies, but three bogeys and a double-bogey at the par 3 12th kept him at 3 under for the tournament.

    Masters champion Sergio Garcia (71), playing for the first time in Hong Kong, was at even par, as was defending champion Sam Brazel (71) and 2014 champion Scott Hend (67).

    ''I have to play better,'' Garcia said. ''The way I felt like I played, it's difficult. This kind of course, you need to play well to shoot a good score.''