Cut Line Black and Blue at Doral

By Rex HoggardMarch 12, 2011, 2:18 am

DORAL, Fla. – There’s no cut at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, although after the better part of two rounds there are some in the limited-field event who were pining for a 36-hole axe.

But the real damage this week did not go down on the famed Blue Monster but in cyber world, highlighted by an escalating war of words between Tiger Woods’ swing coaches past and present.

Made Cut

Martin Kaymer. “Excuse me,” the man with the colorful drink adjacent Doral’s 18th hole asked early Friday. “Who is that?” Um, the world No. 1.

Perhaps not since Bernhard Langer became the first world No. 1 has there been so much uncertainty at the top of the pro golf heap. So much so we suggested the German wear a “Hi, my name is Martin and I’m the world’s best golfer” sticker on tournament days to Kaymer’s manager.

While researching a future story on Kaymer we were particularly taken by the golf world’s perception of him and the reality of a thoughtful and engaging man.

“He’s very far away from Bernhard, oddly enough,” Kaymer’s manager Johan Elliot with Sportyard said. “On the golf course they are similar, but, as far as his golf swing, he’s not mechanical in any way. Very un-German-like. He’s a global citizen.”

That’s a much better description, but way too wordy for a “Hi, my name is . . .” tag.

Ben Crane. Although he withdrew from the WGC-Cadillac Championship, Crane scored even more style points this week with another viral-ready video.

Self-deprecation is a rare commodity among the Tour fraternity and no one does it better than Crane, whose most recent production takes a tongue-and-cheek look at his reputation as a slow player.

On that front, “Cut Line” recently asked one longtime Tour official if Crane was still among the circuit’s slowest. “Not at all. He’s really gotten a lot better. He’s not even in the top 5 anymore.”

“Do you like everything about yourself?” Crane jokes in the video, but it is apropos for a man who did what few others can or will – change.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Motor City moves. The final sentence has yet to be penned, but this week’s report that Cadillac is angling to bring the PGA Tour back to Detroit is concerning on two fronts.

According to a story in the Detroit Free Press, Detroit Golf Club is in line to host the event that could be held as early as 2012. Presumably the new event would slide into the vacancy left by the Heritage, which lost its title sponsor last year and has struggled to find a replacement, and would require some schedule adjustment.

Hank Haney and Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods' former swing coach Hank Haney engaged in a war of written words this week with current coach, Sean Foley.

The Heritage is traditionally played the week after the Masters but moved this year to two weeks after the year’s first major. Either date is unworkable in Detroit, which would force some tinkering. It would also mean the end for The Heritage, one of the Tour’s most cherished stops since 1969.

Additionally, there has been speculation that this week’s WGC at Doral could be shifted up north, but that in all likelihood would create even more conflicts with the European Tour schedule, and we’ve all seen how those clashes work out (see Westwood, Lee, 2011 Players Championship).

 Speaking of dueling schedules, Ernie Els was asked this week at Doral if there has been any resolution between the Tour and the European circuit on the playing of this year’s Presidents Cup (Nov. 14-20 in Australia) and the South African Open, where Els will be the defending champion and will be played the same week.

Presidential pardon. “They (Tour commissioner Tim Finchem and European chief George O’Grady) are talking,” Els said. “It's basically in their hands and it's a bit of an issue to resolve. Hopefully they get it resolved. Somebody is going to have to move a date or something.

“It's quite an issue. And not just for me, for the other guys, too; Louis (Oosthuizen), Charl (Schwartzel), Tim (Clark), Rory (Sabbatini) is back in the (Presidents Cup) picture. It could be quite something.”

Finchem and O’Grady are scheduled to speak to the press on Sunday at Doral, so stay tuned.

Missed Cut

Tiger Woods. Of all the lingering questions over the artist formerly known as Tiger Woods, why he seems reluctant to add to his schedule when more “reps” seems to be the tonic for his current troubles is the most curious.

Yet when asked on Wednesday why he won’t add to his schedule Woods lashed back, “Well, because I have a family. I'm divorced. If you've been divorced with kids, then you would understand.”

Tough times indeed, but it’s worth pointing out that 50 percent of all marriages in America end in divorce which means Woods is hardly alone in his troubles. As one Tour brother astutely reasoned, “He’s got a huge jet and can bring a nanny for each child if he needs to. He’s just electing not to play, which is his right. . . . Just because you’re divorced doesn’t mean you can’t play golf.”

Swing coach spats. The landscape has become mean, like South Beach after dark. Maybe it’s the byproduct of increased scrutiny and a golf public that wants answers and they want them now. Either way, it’s uncalled for.

A very public dispute broke out between Woods’ former swing coach Hank Haney and his current set of eyes Sean Foley. At this point the “he said, he said” details of the row are unimportant. Haney should be proud of his work and record with Woods and grateful to have been associated with the greatest player of our generation. Foley is an intensely thoughtful man who defies ego. The rest is just background noise.


Follow Rex Hoggard on Twitter @RexHoggard


Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

Getty Images

Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.