Cut Line Auld Grey Toon edition

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2010, 11:00 pm

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Earlier in the week Phil Mickelson suggested they play the Open Championship on the Old Course every year, not that it would help pull Lefty from his links funk. But it would certainly give John Daly a reason to look forward to July.

St. Andrews never disappoints, but everything else is fair game at golf’s oldest, and quirkiest, championship.

Made Cut

John Daly. They call this hamlet in Fife the “Fairytale Town” and JD’s opening 66 on Thursday certainly qualified as a fairytale start.

For all the missteps the big man has taken in his life Thursday was a collective epiphany, both competitively and personally. The desire may have wavered from time to time, but not the talent. Not the way he blasted his way around the Old Course with abandon and aplomb on Day 1.

But even more impressive was the way Daly handled himself at the microphone when the inevitable questions of a sordid past cropped up.

“I've never ran from my mistakes. I've always kind of been the man that you're supposed to be when you screw up, and I've screwed up an awful lot, not just on Tour but in other aspects of life,” Daly said. “I think it's how you come back and deal with it.”

And after a rough second-round 76, not sure the self-dubbed “Mild Thing” has two more days of Old Course magic in him, but it’s good to see his best days are not behind him.

Europe. Somewhere Corey Pavin is pacing nervously. The Ryder Cup is still over two months away and individual achievements usually mean little at the biennial grudge match, but things are not looking good for the U.S. side.

Four of the last six PGA Tour winners have been leading European Ryder Cup candidates – Justin Rose at the Memorial and AT&T National, Lee Westwood at the St. Jude Classic and Graeme McDowell at Pebble Beach – and a quick glance of the Open Championship leaderboard shows the continent with eight of the top 10 spots.

On Tuesday Westwood fired a playful jab at PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem during a golf writer’s award dinner: “It was lovely to see an American (Steve Stricker at the John Deere Classic) win on your Tour,” Westwood smiled.

And Paul Azinger thought he was playing into a four-club wind at Valhalla.

Tweet of the Week: @danjenkinsgd (Golf Digest writer Dan Jenkins) “Mark Calcavecchia stopped at St. Andrews on his way to the Senior British Open next week and he tripped over a 67.”


Made Cut-Did Not Finish

Royal & Ancient. For nearly 40 minutes Friday afternoon the wind whipped, the sun shone and a stunned populace waited for play to resume at the Open Championship. Or maybe they were just waiting for someone to announce the 150th anniversary of the game’s oldest member-member had just been punked.

They don’t stop play at the Open Championship, not for rain, and not very often for wind, but just as Tiger Woods was completing his first hole on Friday the delay horn sounded because of winds that were gusting to 41 mph and moving golf balls on the greens.

It was the first wind delay since the 1998 championship at Royal Birkdale and a decision that chaffed some of the day’s early starters, who shouldered through the worst of Thursday’s weather and didn’t have it much better on Friday morning. But mostly it just confused observers accustomed to the rub of the Scottish “summer.”

“Come on let’s play,” Dr. Bob Rotella smiled.

Phil Mickelson. Earlier this week Lefty heaped praise on the Old Course that bordered on the spiritual, leading some to believe that this was finally the year the world No. 2 solved the links enigma. All of which made his 73-71 start particularly disappointing, if not predictable.

The Hall of Fame resume is far from wanting, but Mickelson’s Open record is pedestrian at best. In 14 Open starts he has just a single top-10 finish and his best showing on the Old Course is a tie for 11th in 2000.

Some contend Mickelson’s aerial game on a links course is akin to bringing a spork to a knife fight, but the real reason may be much simpler. For the man who played one tournament with two drivers in his bag and another, at Torrey Pines no less, without any driver, links golf may ask too many quesitons.


Missed Cut

Tiger Woods. The world No. 1’s Q&A with an outwardly hostile United Kingdom press aside, he rates a one-stroke penalty for his subtle stab at the Old Course’s greens.

“These greens are just the slowest I've seen in a long time, if ever,” Woods said following his first-round 67.

This is the second consecutive major that has drawn Woods’ ire for a less-than-perfect roll, following last month’s take that Pebble Beach’s greens were “awful.”

Yet had the greens been a foot faster on the Stimpmeter play may never have resumed on Friday and it’s hard to imagine the Old Course’s putting surfaces rolling much faster in 2000 and 2005 when Woods lapped the field. Be it denial or deflection, on this one Woods was OB.

Restless in Reno. “Cut Line” has listened to one too many Tour types complain about diminishing playing opportunities to let this one slide.

This week’s opposite-field event in Reno was hit with a rash of last-minute withdrawals and an obscure qualification category that caught many players off guard. As a result, a field that was supposed to feature 132 participants played “short” with just 126.

We’ve never been a fan of contraction, not in golf or any business model, but when $3.5 million and a weekend in Reno isn’t enough to get you off the couch consider yourself spoiled, or worse entitled.

Lexi 'applaud's USGA, R&A for rules change

By Randall MellDecember 11, 2017, 5:15 pm

Lexi Thompson’s pain may prove to be the rest of golf’s gain.

David Rickman, the R&A’s executive director of governance, acknowledged on Golf Channel’s "Morning Drive" Monday that the new protocols that will eliminate the use of TV viewer call-ins and emails to apply penalties was hastened by the controversy following Thompson’s four-shot penalty at the ANA Inspiration in early April. The new protocols also set up rules officials to monitor TV broadcasts beginning next year.

“Clearly, that case has been something of a focus point for us,” Rickman said.

Thompson reacted to the new protocols in an Instagram post.

“I applaud the USGA and the R&A for their willingness to revise the Rules of Golf to address certain unfortunate situations that have arisen several times in the game of golf,” Thompson wrote. “In my case, I am thankful no one else will have to deal with an outcome such as mine in the future.”

Thompson was penalized two shots for improperly returning her ball to its mark on a green during Saturday’s round after a viewer emailed LPGA officials during Sunday’s broadcast. She was penalized two more shots for signing an incorrect scorecard for her Saturday round. Thompson ultimately lost in a playoff to So Yeon Ryu.

The new protocols will also eliminate the additional two-shot penalty a player receives for failing to include a penalty when a player was unaware of the penalty.

Shortly after the ANA Inspiration, the USGA and R&A led the formation of a video review working group, which included the PGA Tour, LPGA, European Tour, Ladies European Tour and PGA of America.

Also, just three weeks after Thompson was hit with the four-shot penalty, the USGA and R&A released a new Rules of Golf decision decision (34-3/10) limiting video evidence in two ways:

1. If an infraction can’t be seen with the naked eye, there’s no penalty, even if video shows otherwise.

2. If a tournament committee determines that a player does “all that can be reasonably expected to make an accurate estimation or measurement” in determining a line or position to play from or to spot a ball, then there will be no penalty even if video replay later shows that to be wrong.

While the USGA and R&A said the new decision wasn’t based on Thompson’s ANA incident, LPGA players immediately began calling it the “Lexi Rule.”

Getty Images

PGA Tour, LPGA react to video review rules changes

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 1:32 pm

The USGA and R&A announced on Monday updates to the Rules of Golf, including no longer accepting call-ins relating to violations. The PGA Tour and LPGA, which were both part of a working group of entities who voted on the changes, issued the following statements:

PGA Tour:

The PGA Tour has worked closely with the USGA and R&A on this issue in recent years, and today's announcement is another positive step to ensure the Rules of Golf align with how the game is presented and viewed globally. The PGA Tour will adopt the new Local Rule beginning January 1, 2018 and evolve our protocols for reviewing video evidence as outlined.

LPGA:

We are encouraged by the willingness of the governing bodies to fully vet the issues and implement real change at a pace much quicker than the sport has seen previously. These new adaptations, coupled with changes announced earlier this year, are true and meaningful advances for the game. The LPGA plans to adopt fully the protocols and new Local Rule as outlined.

Getty Images

Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open

By Associated PressDecember 11, 2017, 12:43 pm

JOHANNESBURG – Shubhankar Sharma won his first European Tour title by a shooting 3-under 69 Monday in the final round of the weather-delayed Joburg Open.

The 21-year-old Indian resumed his round on the eighth green after play was halted early Sunday afternoon because of storms. He parred that hole, birdied No. 9 and made par on every hole on the back nine.


Full-field scores from the Joburg Open


Sharma finished at 23-under 264, three strokes ahead of the pack, and qualified for next year's British Open, too.

''I actually wasn't going to come here about a week ago ... so I'm really happy that I came,'' said Sharma, who shot 61 in the second round. ''I don't think I'm ever going forget my first time in South Africa.''

Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm