Cut Line: JD at 50, #SB2K16, and Rio 2016

By Rex HoggardApril 29, 2016, 4:05 pm

In this week’s edition of Cut Line, John Daly turns 50, Spring Break turns social for some of the game’s top players, and an overly crowded schedule turns some potential Olympians away from this year’s Games.


Made Cut

Daly’s second act. Perhaps no one in golf needs an occupational mulligan as much as John Daly, who turned 50 on Thursday and is poised to make his PGA Tour Champions debut next week at the Insperity Invitational.

Earlier this month, I spent a hectic morning with Daly in his rolling merchandise outlet on Washington Road, about a par 5 from the front entrance to Augusta National, and there was no denying his continued zeal for the game and how much he’s embraced this next chapter.

As he looks ahead, Daly didn't seem to have much interest in looking back at an eventful life both on and off the golf course. Instead, he's choosing to focus his energy on the one constant in his career – his fans.

For Daly, his legacy is a matter of perspective, and he understands that he means many different things to different people.

“It’s going to be like a politician,” Daly figured. “You take the good with the bad. You know some people are going to say what a disgrace I was, and others are going to say, 'He did great with charity work and has a heart of gold.'”

You may not agree with some of his choices, but you can’t deny his honesty.

Tweet of the week:

#SB2K16. Perhaps the most surprising part of the Bro-hamas vacation that was so well publicized via social media is the pushback the foursome of Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Smylie Kaufman and Justin Thomas received.

Some in the media questioned the group’s decision to make their antics so public via a series of Snapchat posts.

Others, most notably Gary Player and Rory McIlroy, celebrated the week for what it was – a group of twenty-somethings doing what twenty-somethings do during spring break.

“After seeing all these Snapchats over the last few days, maybe I should have taken [Fowler] up on the invite!” McIlroy tweeted.

If there was one moment that gave us pause, it was Kaufman’s breakdown of Spieth’s chunked wedge shot at the 12th hole during the final round of the Masters. Although the Snapchat was unquestionably funny, it may have been too soon.


Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Progress or potential problems? The World Anti-Doping Agency released its annual doping violations report this week, a list of infractions that included six golfers.

The golfers were from Italy (three), France, Korea and South Africa, compared to just one golfer who was sanctioned on last year’s report.

The timing of the report was particularly interesting considering that any potential Olympians will be placed in a anti-doping testing pool on May 6 that is much more stringent than the methods used by the PGA Tour.

Ty Votaw, the vice president of the International Golf Foundation and the Tour’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer, told Golf.com that the report’s findings were a “validation of our testing procedures.”

Perhaps, but a significant portion of potential Olympians play the majority of their golf on the PGA Tour, which is not a signatory of the WADA code, and the circuit reported just a single performance-enhancing drug violation in 2015.

Maybe there is no need for concern as golf inches closer to its return to the Olympics, but as the WADA report suggests the anti-doping world is filled with possible missteps – both intended and otherwise.

Slippery slope. Things didn’t go exactly as planned for the United States Golf Association at last year’s U.S. Open at Chambers Bay, but give the organization credit for embracing a more sustainable golf course in a market that has largely been devoid of championship golf.

On Monday, however, the USGA seemed to take a step back during media day for this year’s U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club, when executive director Mike Davis was asked about the layout’s renowned difficulty.

“I think in the past,the course rating has been somewhere in the low 80s, so the average golfer, even if it's not setup for a U.S. Open, has no idea how exacting this golf course is,” Davis said. “I believe it's up [to an] 80, 81, 82 course rating when it's set up for the U.S. Open.”

To put that number in context, the rating for this week’s stop at TPC Louisiana is 76.3, and last week at TPC San Antonio, which was statistically the second-toughest course on Tour last year, the tournament rating was 76.5.

Harder doesn’t always mean better.


Missed Cut

Don’t blame it on Rio. On Monday, Charl Schwartzel joined Louis Oosthuizen on the sidelines for this year’s Olympics, announcing that he would be skipping the Games because of a “tight schedule.”

There has been no shortage of criticism of the South African’s decision to skip the Olympics, but the real blame should go to those tour executives who were unable, or unwilling, to accommodate golf’s return to the Games with a more user-friendly schedule.

After the U.S. Open, there will be virtually no rest for many players bound for Rio, with essentially mandatory starts at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational/French Open, Open Championship, PGA Championship, Olympics and then onto the FedEx Cup playoffs and Ryder Cup.

If the various tours wanted to truly embrace the Olympic vision, the schedule needed to be reduced, not reworked. Maybe, as officials have said, the 2020 schedules will be more accommodating to prepare for the Games in Japan, but that didn’t make Schwartzel and Oosthuizen’s decision any easier this year.

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Lesson with Woods fetches $210K for Harvey relief

By Will GrayDecember 13, 2017, 2:51 pm

A charity event featuring more than two dozen pro golfers raised more than $1 million for Hurricane Harvey relief, thanks in large part to a hefty price paid for a private lesson with Tiger Woods.

The pro-am fundraiser was organized by Chris Stroud, winner of the Barracuda Championship this summer, and fellow pro and Houston resident Bobby Gates. It was held at Bluejack National in Montgomery, Texas, about an hour outside Houston and the first Woods-designed course to open in the U.S.

The big-ticket item on the auction block was a private, two-person lesson with Woods at Bluejack National that sold for a whopping $210,000.

Other participants included local residents like Stacy Lewis, Patrick Reed and Steve Elkington as well as local celebrities like NBA All-Star Clyde Drexler, Houston Texans quarterback T.J. Yates and Houston Astros owner Jim Crane.

Stroud was vocal in his efforts to help Houston rebuild in the immediate aftermath of the storm that ravaged the city in August, and he told the Houston Chronicle that he plans to continue fundraising efforts even after eclipsing the event's $1 million goal.

"This is the best event I have ever been a part of, and this is just a start," Stroud said. "We have a long way to go for recovery to this city, and we want to keep going with this and raise as much as we can and help as many victims as we can."

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LPGA schedule features 34 events, record purse

By Randall MellDecember 13, 2017, 2:02 pm

The LPGA schedule will once again feature 34 events next year with a record $68.75 million in total purses, the tour announced on Wednesday.

While three events are gone from the 2018 schedule, three new events have been added, with two of those on the West Coast and one in mainland China.

The season will again start with the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic on Paradise Island (Jan. 25-28) and end with the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Fla., (Nov. 15-18).

The LPGA played for $65 million in total prize money in 2017.

An expanded West Coast swing in the front half of the schedule will now include the HUGEL-JTBC Championship in the Los Angeles area April 19-22. The site will be announced at a later date.

The tour will then make a return to San Francisco’s Lake Merced Golf Club the following week, in a new event sponsored by L&P Cosmetics, a Korean skincare company. Both new West Coast tournaments will be full-field events.

The tour’s third new event will be played in Shanghai Oct. 18-21 as part of the fall Asian swing. The title sponsor and golf course will be announced at a later date.

“Perhaps the most important aspect of our schedule is the consistency — continuing to deliver strong playing opportunities both in North America and around the world, while growing overall purse levels every year,” LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said in a statement. “There is simply no better [women’s] tour opportunity in the world, when it comes to purses, global TV coverage or strength of field. It’s an exciting time in women’s golf, with the best players from every corner of the globe competing against each other in virtually every event.”

While the Evian Championship will again be played in September next year, the tour confirmed its plans to move its fifth major to the summer in 2019, to be part of a European swing, with the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open and the Ricoh Women’s British Open.

The Manulife LPGA Classic and the Lorena Ochoa Invitational are not returning to the schedule next year. Also, the McKayson New Zealand Women’s Open will not be played next year as it prepares to move to the front of the 2019 schedule, to be paired with the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.

The U.S. Women’s Open will make its new place earlier in the summer, a permanent move in the tour’s scheduling. It will be played May 31-June 3 at Shoal Creek Golf Club outside Birmingham, Ala. The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship (June 28-July 1) will be played at Kemper Lakes Golf Club on the north side of Chicago and the Ricoh Women’s British Open (Aug. 2-5) will be played at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in England.

For the first time since its inception in 2014, the UL International Crown team event is going overseas, with the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Incheon, South Korea, scheduled to host the event Oct. 4-7. The KEB Hana Bank Championship will be played in South Korean the following week.

Here is the LPGA's schedule for 2018:

Jan. 25-28: Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic; Paradise Island, Bahamas; Purse: $1.4 million

Feb. 15-18: ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open; Adelaide, Australia; Purse: $1.3 million

Feb. 21-24: Honda LPGA Thailand; Chonburi, Thailand; Purse: $1.6 million

March 1-4: HSBC Women's World Championship; Singapore; Purse: $1.5 million

March 15-18: Bank of Hope Founders Cup; Phoenix, Arizona; Purse: $1.5 million

March 22-25: Kia Classic; Carlsbad, California; Purse: $1.8 million

March 29 - April 1: ANA Inspiration; Rancho Mirage, California; Purse: $2.8 million

April 11-14: LOTTE Championship; Kapolei, Oahu, Hawaii; Purse: $2 million

April 19-22: HUGEL-JTBC Championship; Greater Los Angeles, California; Purse: $1.5 million

April 26-29: Name to be Announced; San Francisco, California; Purse: $1.5 million

May 3-6: Volunteers of America LPGA Texas Classic; The Colony, Texas; Purse: $1.3 million

May 17-20: Kingsmill Championship; Williamsburg, Virginia; Purse: $1.3 million

May 24-27: LPGA Volvik Championship; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Purse: $1.3 million

May 31 - June 3: U.S. Women's Open Championship; Shoal Creek, Alabama; Purse: $5 million

June 8-10: ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer; Galloway, New Jersey; Purse: $1.75 million

June 14-17: Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Purse: $2 million

June 22-24: Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G; Rogers, Arkansas; Purse: $2 million

June 28 - July 1: KPMG Women's PGA Championship; Kildeer, Illinois; Purse: $3.65 million

July 5-8: Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic; Oneida, Wisconsin; Purse: $2 million

July 12-15: Marathon Classic presented by Owens-Corning and O-I; Sylvania, Ohio; Purse: $1.6 million

July 26-29: Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open; East Lothian, Scotland; Purse: $1.5 million

Aug. 2-5: Ricoh Women's British Open; Lancashire, England; Purse: $3.25 million

Aug. 16-19: Indy Women in Tech Championship presented by Guggenheim; Indianapolis, Indiana; Purse: $2 million

Aug. 23-26: CP Women's Open; Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada; Purse: $2.25 million

Aug. 30 - Sept. 2: Cambia Portland Classic; Portland, Oregon; Purse: $1.3 million

Sept. 13-16: The Evian Championship; Evian-les-Bains, France; Purse: $3.85 million

Sept. 27-30: Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Purse: $1.8 million

Oct. 4-7: UL International Crown; Incheon, Korea; Purse: $1.6 million

Oct. 11-14: LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship; Incheon, Korea; Purse: $2 million

Oct. 18-21: Name to be Announced; Shanghai, China; Purse: $2.1 million

Oct. 25-28: Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship; New Taipei City, Chinese Taipei; Purse: $2.2 million

Nov. 2-4: TOTO Japan Classic; Shiga, Japan; Purse: $1.5 million

Nov. 7-10: Blue Bay LPGA; Hainan Island, China; Purse: $2.1 million

Nov. 15-18: CME Group Tour Championship; Naples, Florida; Purse: $2.5 million

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 4, Jordan Spieth

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 13, 2017, 1:00 pm

Dismissed because he’s supposedly too short off the tee, or not accurate enough with his irons, or just a streaky putter, Jordan Spieth is almost never the answer to the question of which top player, when he’s at his best, would win in a head-to-head match.

And yet here he is, at the age of 24, with 11 career wins and three majors, on a pace that compares favorably with the giants of the game. He might not possess the firepower of Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, but since he burst onto the PGA Tour in 2013 he has all that matters – a better résumé.

Spieth took the next step in his development this year by becoming the Tour’s best iron player – and its most mentally tough.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Just a great putter? Oh, puhleeze: He won three times despite putting statistics (42nd) that were his worst since his rookie year. Instead, he led the Tour in strokes gained-approach the green and this summer showed the discipline, golf IQ and bounce-back ability that makes him such a unique talent. 

Even with his putter misbehaving, Spieth closed out the Travelers Championship by holing a bunker shot in the playoff, then, in perhaps an even bigger surprise, perfectly executed the player-caddie celebration, chest-bumping caddie Michael Greller. A few weeks later, sublime iron play carried him into the lead at Royal Birkdale, his first in a major since his epic collapse at the 2016 Masters.

Once again his trusty putter betrayed him, and by the time he arrived on the 13th tee, he was tied with Matt Kuchar. What happened next was the stuff of legend – a lengthy ruling, gutsy up-and-down, stuffed tee shot and go-get-that putt – that lifted Spieth to his third major title.

Though he couldn’t complete the career Grand Slam at the PGA, he’ll likely have, oh, another two decades to join golf’s most exclusive club.

In the barroom debate of best vs. best, you can take the guys with the flair, with the booming tee shots and the sky-high irons. Spieth will just take the trophies.

THE MAJORS

Masters Tournament: Return to the 12th; faltering on Sunday (T-11)

Spieth pars 12, but makes quad on 15

Spieth takes another gut punch, but still standing

Article: Spieth splashes to worst Masters finish

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U.S. Open: 1 over usually good ... not at Erin Hills (T-35)

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The Open: Unforgettable finish leads to major win No. 3 (1st)

Spieth survives confusing ordeal on 13

Photos: Spieth's incredible journey on 13

Take it, it's yours: Spieth gets claret jug

Chamblee: Spieth doesn't have 'it' - 'he has it all'

Article: Spieth silences his doubters - even himself

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PGA Championship: Career Grand Slam bid comes up well short (T-28)

Article: Spieth accepts that Grand Slam is off the table


TWO REGULAR TOUR WINS

AT&T Pebble Beach

Article: Spieth rising from 'valley' after Pebble Beach win

Travelers Championship

Spieith wins dramatic Travelers in playoff

Watch: Spieth holes bunker shot, goes nuts


FUN OUTSIDE OF TOUR LIFE


PHOTO GALLERIES

Photos: Jordan Spieth and Annie Verret

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Photos: Jordan Spieth through the years

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 13, 2017, 12:30 pm