Cut Line: Caddie can't count, now he's minus a job

By Rex HoggardJune 22, 2012, 9:32 pm

In honor of Fredrik “The Junkman” Jacobson’s continued flawlessness at TPC-River Highlands, where he is the defending champion and has now posted six consecutive rounds in the 60s, we are going with an all-nickname edition of Cut Line this week – starring Mike “The Enforcer” Davis and Jose Manuel Lara’s caddie Mathias 'The Bagman' Vinson.

Made Cut

Mike Davis. With the exception of perhaps only Jim Furyk, whose title chances at last week’s U.S. Open were virtually decided on Sunday when he arrived at The Olympic Club’s 16th hole unprepared for a tee box that had been moved forward roughly 100 yards, the executive director of the U.S. Golf Association was universally praised for his handiwork on the Lake Course.

Davis’ ability to push a relatively short golf course – after Pebble Beach the Lake Course is the shortest Open venue (7,170 yards) in the last eight years – to the limit without going over the edge is uncanny.

But it wasn’t Davis’ superior setup skills that impressed Cut Line. Instead it was the mild-mannered executive’s split-second takedown of the “Bird Man” during Sunday’s awards ceremony that deserves kudos.

“I just didn’t want it to take away from Webb’s moment. We cannot let this ruin Webb’s big moment,” Davis said on Monday’s “Morning Drive.”

“So without really thinking too much I went out and grabbed him. As I’m dragging him off the green I thought, ‘What am I going to do with him now?’ I escorted him right into the bunker and quickly thereafter the police did get him.”

Given Davis’ “escorting” skills it’s no wonder players have been slow to criticize how he sets up golf courses. Who would want to run into him in a dark locker room?

Webb Simpson. As impressive as his one-stroke victory at the U.S. Open was, it’s what Simpson has done in the days since his victory that may be even more telling.

If major champions are defined by what they do after they win Simpson has already proven to be a quick study, most notably by honoring his decision to play this week’s Travelers Championship and announcing that he will likely miss the British Open so he can be at home with his wife for the birth of the couple’s second child.

Getting on that charter to Connecticut was difficult. Not climbing aboard the flight to Royal Lytham & St. Annes will be equally demanding. But then doing the right thing isn’t always easy.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Unintended consequences. During Patrick Cantlay’s “hello world” moment on Tuesday at TPC-River Highlands the newly minted professional said the impending changes to the Nationwide Tour/Q-School system did not prompt him to leave UCLA after his sophomore year to test the play-for-pay waters.

Fair enough, but you can bet it was on the mind of Cantlay’s manager Mark Steinberg and Corbin Mills, who recently finished his junior year at Clemson and plans to play this fall’s Q-School as a professional.

Mills recently told Golfweek the changes to the qualifying system were “a huge part” of his decision to turn pro. Expect others to follow his lead.

No one knows what the new qualifying system will look like but this much is certain: This year’s Q-School promises to look much younger because of the change.

U.S. Golf Association. Officials say this isn’t reactionary, but when you say it’s not reactionary it’s always reactionary.

One hundred and fifty years of majors were played without one being won by a player using a non-standard-length putter. Of course the fact that two of the last three Grand Slams have now been won by long-putter wielding players factored into the USGA’s decision to take a long, hard look at anchoring.

Contrary to some reports no move seems imminent, although Davis told Golf Digest this week that “we do owe the golf world some kind of answer before year's end.”

Protecting the game is job No. 1 for the USGA and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews; just don’t pretend this isn’t about Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson’s major breakthroughs.

Missed Cut

Crime & punishment. Add a new tenet to the caddie credo of “show up, shut up and keep up.” Following a bizarre incident during the first round of this week’s BMW International Open it seems loopers need to be reminded to “own up.”

Jose Manuel Lara was disqualified when officials discovered that the Spaniard’s caddie had inadvertently loaded an extra club in his bag. It was a faux pas complicated by the caddie’s attempt to hide the offending implement in a bush on the second hole.

Lara’s playing partners – Damien Mcgrane and Peter Hedblom – noticed the caddie trying to make the drop and confronted him. Officials disqualified Lara for his caddie’s actions.

“They went and asked the chap 'What are you doing?' and he sort of fumbled out an answer saying, ‘I've got this wrong. I've done something bad. I wish it hadn't happened . . .” said European Tour official John Paramor.

“It was clear the club was out of the bag and in the bush at the time. He admitted it straight away and regretted his action.”

Weird, most golfers spend their rounds trying to find wayward tee shots in bushes, but Lara’s man couldn’t lose a single club in the foliage.

Tweet of the week: @WestwoodLee (Lee Westwood) “I can’t find my ball in a tree!”

The Englishman, whose tee shot never dropped out of a tree adjacent the fifth fairway on Sunday at The Olympic Club, was responding to the question, “Have you found any clubs in the bushes lately?” Funny guy that Westwood.

James Morrison. Beware the power of Twitter.

That was the message the European Tour sent this week with news that Morrison had been fined for criticizing Celtic Manor, site of this month’s Wales Open, in a tweet.

Morrison, who tied for 57th at Celtic Manor, tweeted: “Thanks Celtic Manor. Dump! One more round then can't get over that bridge quick enough!” Although he later apologized for his comments, tour officials said he would be fined.

The European circuit, like the PGA Tour, does not allow “offensive, threatening, disparaging, hurtful” comments 'in any public media.” In the United States, however, reasonable, legitimate criticism is permitted.

So, to be clear, had Morrison called TPC San Antonio, for example, a “dump” he would not have been found culpable? There are no reports as to how much Morrison’s fine would be. Best guess is when it comes to infractions on Twitter officials will charge by the character.

Park collapses; leaderboard chaos at CME

By Nick MentaNovember 18, 2017, 8:47 pm

Sung-Hyun Park started the day with a three-shot lead and slowly gave it all back over the course of a 3-over 75, leaving the CME Group Tour Championship and a host of season-long prizes up for grabs in Naples. Here’s where things stand through 54 holes at the LPGA finale, where Michelle Wie, Ariya Jutanugarn, Suzann Pettersen and Kim Kaufman share the lead.

Leaderboard: Kaufman (-10), Wie (-10), Jutanugarn (-10), Pettersen (-10), Stacy Lewis (-9), Karine Icher (-9), Austin Ernst (-9), Lexi Thompson (-9), Jessica Korda (-9), Pernilla Lindberg (-9)

What it means: It wasn’t the Saturday she wanted, but Park, who already wrapped up the Rookie of the Year Award, is still in position for the sweep of all sweeps. With a victory Sunday, she would claim the CME Group Tour Championship, the Race to CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, and the money title, as she ascends to No. 1 in the Rolex world ranking. Meanwhile, Thompson, too, could take the $1 million and Player of the Year. As those two battle for season-long prizes, a host of other notable names – Wie, Jutanugarn, Pettersen, Korda, Lewis and Charley Hull (-8) – will fight for the Tour Championship.

Round of the day: Kaufman made four birdies on each side in a bogey-free 8 under-par 64. A lesser-known name on a stacked leaderboard, she seeks her first LPGA victory.

Best of the rest: Amy Yang will start the final round two behind after a 7-under 65. The three-time LPGA Tour winner could pick up her second title of the season after taking the Honda LPGA Thailand in February.

Biggest disappointment: On a day that featured plenty of low scores from plenty of big names, Lydia Ko dropped 11 spots down the leaderboard into a tie for 23rd with a Saturday 72. The former world No. 1 needed two birdies in her last five holes to fight her way back to even par. Winless this season, she’ll start Sunday four back, at 6 under.

Shot of the day: I.K. Kim aced the par-3 12th from 171 yards when her ball landed on the front of the green and tracked all the way to the hole.

Kim, oddly enough, signed her name to a scorecard that featured a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. It was all part of a 1-under 71.

Watch: Pros try to hit 2-yard wide fairway in Dubai

By Grill Room TeamNovember 18, 2017, 5:20 pm

While in Dubai for the DP World Tour Championship, the European Tour prestented a little challenge to Ross Fisher, Richie Ramsay, Nicolas Colsaerts and Soren Kjeldsen. On a stretch of road outside of town, the four players had to try and hit a 2-yard wide fairway. Check out the results.

Rose (65) leads Rahm, Frittelli in Dubai

By Associated PressNovember 18, 2017, 3:24 pm

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Justin Rose will take a one-shot lead into the final day of the season-ending Tour Championship as he attempts to win a third straight title on the European Tour and a second career Race to Dubai crown.

The 37-year-old Rose made a gutsy par save on the final hole after a bogey-free round for a 7-under 65 Saturday and overall 15-under 201.

The Englishman leads South African Dylan Frittelli, who produced the day's best score of 63, and Spain's Jon Rahm, who played in the same group as Rose and matched his 65.

Rose is looking to be Europe's season-ending No. 1 for the second time. His leading rival for the Race to Dubai title, Tommy Fleetwood, is only two shots behind here after a second straight 65 on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estates.

Fleetwood did his chances no harm by overcoming a stuttering start before making eight birdies in his final 11 holes to also post a 65. The 26-year-old Englishman was tied for fourth place at 13 under, alongside South African Dean Burmester (65) and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat (67), who closed with five birdies in a row.

''So, last day of the season and I've got a chance to win the Race to Dubai,'' Fleetwood said. ''It's cool.''

DP World Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the DP World Tour Championship

Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Race to Dubai title, is tied for 13th on 10 under after a 67.

Fleetwood had a lead of 256,737 points going into the final tournament and needs to equal or better Rose's finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn't finish in the top five and Garcia doesn't win, Fleetwood will have done enough.

Rose is hoping to win a third straight tournament after triumphs in China and Turkey.

Rose, who made some long putts for birdies apart from chipping in on the 13th hole, looked to be throwing away his advantage on the par-5 18th, when his second shot fell agonizingly short of the green and into the water hazard. But with his short game in superb condition, the reigning Olympic champion made a difficult up-and-down shot to stay ahead.

''That putt at the last is a big confidence-builder. That broke about 18 inches right-to-left downhill. That's the kind of putt I've been hoping to make. That was a really committed stroke. Hopefully I can build on that tomorrow,'' said Rose. ''I know what I need to do to stay at the top of the leaderboard. If I slip up tomorrow, he's (Fleetwood) right there. He's done everything he needs to do on his end, so it's a lot of fun.''

The last player to win three tournaments in a row on the European Tour was Rory McIlroy, when he won the Open Championship, the WGC-Bridgestone and the PGA Championship in 2014.

Fleetwood was 1 over after seven holes but turned it on with a hat trick of birdies from the eighth, and then four in a row from No. 13.

''I wanted to keep going. Let's bring the tee times forward for tomorrow,'' quipped Fleetwood after closing with a birdie on the 18th. ''Just one of them strange days where nothing was going at all. A couple sloppy pars on the par 5s, and a bad tee shot on fifth and I was 1-over through seven on a day where scoring has been really good ... Ninth and 10th, felt like we had something going ... it was a really good last 11 holes.''

If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

You don’t believe it, though.

She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

“In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.

CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

“I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

“She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

“She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

“Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

“It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

“No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.