Cut Line Bananas beers and best intentions

By Rex HoggardJuly 31, 2010, 2:27 am

This week's “Cut Line” features dueling Grand Slams that are marred, one by a major scheduling snafu and the other some seriously flawed qualifying logic, while the dog days get a breath of fresh air via a Swedish celebration and something special in West Virginia.

“Cut Line” covers the rest of the week’s scoreboard in a special “Midsummer’s nightmare” edition.

Made Cut

Swede week. Golf’s answer to “Shark Week”’ came by way a Swedish Double last Sunday as Richard S. Johnson stormed to victory at the Scandinavian Masters with a comedian on his bag and Carl Pettersson had some laughs of his own, both on and off the golf course, in Canada.

Johnson called his victory “epic” and the home game was made that much more entertaining by the antics of Anders Timmell, a friend of Johnson’s who is a local Swedish DJ- restaurant owner-comedian who filled in as his caddie.

While Pettersson, who eased the pain of narrowly making the cut on Friday in Canada with a few local pints, said following his victory, “I'm not your typical Swede, as you know. I don't have a 28-inch waist, and I don't eat bananas at the turn.”

The Old White. This week’s stop at the Greenbrier Classic may not have the best date on the PGA Tour schedule or the agronomic docket, wedged before a WGC and a major and during a time of year that demands soft conditions, but the Charles Blair Macdonald-designed gem is putting on a show nonetheless.

“Cut Line” holds to the theory that the Tour often plays the second-, or third-, best course in town any given week, but the Greenbrier is the exception to the rule.

In fact, the classic old layout is the start of perhaps the best architectural run on the Tour with upcoming stops at Sedgefield in North Carolina (Donad Ross), Ridgewood in New Jersey (A.W. Tillinghast), Cog Hill in Chicago (Joe Lee, Dick Wilson, et al) and Atlanta’s East Lake (Ross).

Tweet of the week: @PaulAzinger “Did Lane Kiffin hate orange jerseys, Old Rocky Top and getting pounded by the Gators enough to go to USC and play for nothing?”

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Corey Pavin. There is no such thing as too much communication, particularly when the world No. 1 is involved, but what in the world could Captain America have in mind for the Détente he has scheduled with Tiger Woods at the PGA Championship?

Other than, “the plane leaves at 6 p.m. for Wales, you’ve already been upgraded,” the entire affair smells of 10 minutes neither man will ever get back.

Woods is currently eighth on the U.S. points list and could fail to secure an automatic spot on the team, but we challenge Pavin or anyone else to name someone more deserving of a pick. He may not be 100 percent, he may not even be at 75 percent, but Pavin will need all the help he can get in Wales.

Cell phones. Give Wyndham Championship officials a nod for creative thinking, although we don’t want to be there the first time a “Spice Girls” ring tone disrupts Vijay Singh’s pre-shot routine.

We don’t like cell phones on the golf course – any golf course, be it a Tour stop or a Saturday morning four-ball – but the electronic leash is a reality in the world in which we live and lest we forget the Wyndham folks are in the business of putting butts in seats.

Besides, as incoming Tour Policy Board member Paul Goydos recently joked at a player meeting when the subject was brought up, “Cell phones aren’t allowed on the golf course?”

Missed Cut

Senior majors. It’s Friday which means the over-50 set must be playing a major, or so it seems.

But then the three-majors-in-five-weeks lineup would be easier to stomach if the seniors could get on the same page and create some spacing for their biggest events. Travel logistics likely cost the Senior British Open a Fred Couples cameo and I don’t care how many SkyMiles your rack up, travelling eight time zones from Scotland to Seattle is not conducive to good play or pre-tournament hype.

How about a U.S. Senior Open in June? We hear the Pacific Northwest is beautiful that time of year.

Kapalua. By any name the season-opener is still paradise but it’s become clear things aren’t perfect on Maui.

The word from the islands is that the SBS Championship will be run by a different charitable organization next year, and likely involve island native Mark Rolfing, and we hear commissioner Tim Finchem is pushing to expand the winners-only field.

One member of the Player Advisory Board told “Cut Line” earlier this month that the Tour is pushing to give circuit winners a two-year exemption, creating a larger field that could also boost attendance the following week at the Sony Open.

“Cut Line” remembers a time, not that long ago, when a week in Hawaii in January was a cure, not a cause, for all of one’s woes.

Ladies’ Golf Union. There are no “freebies” in golf, and to Alexis Thompson’s credit she wasn’t looking for a handout. All the teen-ager wanted was a spot in Monday’s final qualifier for the Women’s British Open but she was denied by LGU officials.

Earlier this year Vijay Singh landed a “get out of jail free” card from the U.S. Golf Association and a spot at Pebble Beach and a millionaire hotel owner with a 2-handicap gave himself a spot into next week’s Turning Stone Championship.

Three wrongs wouldn’t have made a right, but giving Thompson, who just days earlier nearly won the Evian Masters in France, a chance to qualify would have been the right thing to do.

Getty Images

McCoy earns medalist honors at Q-School

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Tour Q-School.

McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

Getty Images

Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.



Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."

Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.