Cut Line: Bubba Hall worthy ... already?

By Rex HoggardApril 18, 2014, 2:18 pm

Before we embark on the bulk of the major championship season, Cut Line takes one final look back at the year’s first Grand Slam gathering and what is missing for this year’s Web.com Tour graduates.

Made Cut

Bubba Golf. It’s not as though Bubba Watson needed to “validate” his first Masters victory – green jackets have a tendency to keep the second-guessing to a minimum – but his bookend victory on Sunday certainly lifted the free-swinging southpaw into a new category.

Fifteen of the 17 players with multiple Masters victories are in the World Golf Hall of Fame (Tiger Woods being the other exception), and talking with some of Watson’s contemporaries this week at the RBC Heritage it seems he may have already punched his ticket to St. Augustine, Fla.

“I’d say he should be (in the Hall of Fame),” Jason Bohn said. “That’s pretty special to have two green jackets and, what, six Tour victories? I’d say he should make it.”

And for those who think it may be a tad early to start talking about Bubba’s Hall chances, consider that at 35 he will eligible for induction in just five years.

Discuss.

50 is the new 30. On Sunday at Augusta National the possibility loomed that the Masters could have been won by the youngest player ever (Jordan Spieth, 20) or the oldest (pick a senior; there were plenty to choose from).

While Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championships looks relatively safe at the moment with Tiger Woods on the extended DL following back surgery, the Golden Bear’s mark of being the oldest to win the Masters (he was 46 in 1986) appears in serious jeopardy.

Sunday’s leaderboard read like something from the Champions Tour with Miguel Angel Jimenez, 50, finishing in fourth place, four strokes behind Watson; Bernard Langer, 56, tying for eighth; and Fred Couples, who at 54 is a leaderboard staple at the year’s first major.

“The people, they take care of themselves. They are being more healthy,” Jimenez said on Sunday. “If you don't want to be here at 50, you shouldn't be here. I love the game, I love competing, and probably that is the reason.”

As an aside, can you imagine how much fun the Mechanic’s Champions Dinner would be?


Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Aggregate issues. If Tour golf is little more than entertainment we get it.

The new three-hole aggregate playoff for The Players Championship combines the risk-and-reward thrill of TPC Sawgrass’ final three holes with the nerves that come with winning one of the game’s most prestigious events.

Lost in this recent move to distinguish The Players from all the other circuit’s stops, however, is the fact that there must be some competitive integrity to go along with all those cheers.

“The No. 1 goal is to finish on Sunday and doing things to stop that are problematic,” said Paul Goydos, who lost a sudden-death playoff at The Players in 2008. “That would be my first question to the Tour. What are you going to do if it’s 8 (p.m.) and we have a playoff?”

There have only been four playoffs in Players history and officials plan to schedule for a potential overtime, but the Tour should be prepared to endure a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking the first time the event doesn’t end on Sunday.

Silent pines. It’s Mother Nature’s fault, really.

Six consecutive days of glorious spring weather combined with enough frayed nerves to page Dr. Charles Rich – the Park City, Utah neurosurgeon who performed Woods’ microdiscectomy earlier this month – delivered one of the more subdued Sundays in recent Masters history.

Missing from this year’s proceedings was the traditional two-way traffic, faltering leaders being passed by charging challengers on the back nine, in large part because of perfect conditions that delivered the fieriest greens many players could remember.

The closing loop scoring average (37.05) on Sunday was the highest it’s been in the last seven years and the top five finishers played the final nine in a collective 1 under par. That’s not exactly rattle-the-pines theater, but then if they were all special ...


Missed Cut

Opportunities lost. Dwindling playing opportunities for Web.com Tour graduates is nothing new, but Tuesday’s meeting of the Player Advisory Council at Harbour Town did indicate a slight shift in thinking among the Tour frat brothers.

Because of a larger-than-normal number of players using medical and career money exemptions, the graduates have been squeezed this season. Consider that the players who earned three of the last four Tour cards from fall’s Web.com Tour Finals (Will Wilcox, Matt Bettencourt and Kevin Foley) have a combined 16 starts this season.

By comparison, Jimmy Walker, No. 2 in earnings this season, already has 14 starts.

One suggestion at Tuesday’s meeting was to reduce the number of exempt players from the money list from 125 to 115, or even 100. The difference now is that it was the players who were suggesting such a dramatic move, not Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

“It was good to see it coming from the players this time instead of the Tour,” said one member of the PAC.

The only way to have a good idea is to have a bunch of ideas.

Tweet of the Week: @joshbroadaway1 (Web.com Tour player Josh Broadaway) “(Nick) Faldo . . . REALLY? Get back in the booth and give the guys a chance to play that are trying to keep their job!”

Faldo, who won the 1984 RBC Heritage and played this week’s event for the first time since 2006, will certainly draw more interest to Harbour Town this week than say, Hudson Swafford, the first alternate who spent Thursday waiting for a tee time that never came. But on the same week the Tour addressed reduced playing opportunities for Web.com Tour grads it also didn’t seem like the best timing.

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Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

"That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.