Cut Line Commish In Dubai Out
Without the worry of weather woes, however, “Cut Line” forges ahead following a hurried week of surprise introductions and even more surprising omissions.
Wanted. New LPGA commish. Must be pragmatic, polite, connected and insightful with some experience in the golf industry preferred.
Enter Michael Whan, a boyish-looking 44-year-old with Scottish roots which will come in handy as he attempts to play into a two-club economic headwind with a tour that weathered perhaps its most turbulent year.
Whan was off to a good start, bolting his New York introduction party for a meeting of tournament owners in California. Next order of business: lure Annika Sorenstam out of retirement, get Michelle Wie off the victory schneid and convince papa Tiger that Sam Alexis Woods is plenty old enough to give LPGA Q-School a whirl.
Youth. A couple of good Fall Series weeks are hardly reason to declare golf reinvented, but Rickie Fowler and Jamie Lovemark – to say nothing of Rory McIlroy, Ryo Ishikawa, Kyle Stanley and Michael Sim – are making 20 look like the new 30 on Tour.
It’s best, however, to avoid unrealistic comparisons. Contrary to the Japanese media’s claim, Ishikawa is not the next Tiger Woods. As for Fowler, one observer compared him to a bold, young Lanny Wadkins (not bad company considering Wadkins gets his Hall of Fame nod on Monday), while Stanley has the work ethic and single-minded focus of Vijay Singh, and Lovemark the daring confidence of Phil Mickelson (either the younger or older version).
As for McIlroy, he may be the most complete player in the group at the moment. Now, if only he could decide which side of the big pond he wants to conquer next year.
Seve Ballesteros. Treatment following four brain surgeries is going well and the Spaniard’s recent interview on the BBC showed a man drained by the medical process but nowhere close to dormie.
“The medical results are very good, but it is necessary he rests,” Ballesteros’ nephew, Ivan, wrote in an e-mail this week.
We’ve seen this match before, the fearless Spaniard 1 down in a match and he gets up-and-down from a parking lot to secure the title. It never gets old or uninspiring.
Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)
Charles Barkley. Still not sure his swing is any better now than it was before he started working with Hank Haney, although in Haney’s defense it wasn’t from a lack of effort or insight, but Sir Charles is nothing if not the master of the hilariously obvious.
During an interview this week on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” Barkley passed the buck when he was asked about the state of his game.
“I think Hank’s the problem,” he smiled. “He teaches Tiger Woods, really? You gonna rest your hat on that. Anybody can help Tiger. But I’m the problem here.”
Pinehurst tinkering. By some estimates No. 2 had lost some of its charm and championship quality over the years and it’s hard to imagine a better tandem to give the grande dame a nip/tuck than the uber-architectural pairing of Ben Crenshw and Bill Coore.
According to reports, the makeover will ready the course for the 2014 U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open and will not feature much additional length, which is a new concept in major championship once overs.
Yet the concern is that Donald Ross spent a lifetime tinkering No. 2 to perfection and as much as we like the Coore/Crenshaw portfolio (not for nothing, but Sugarloaf Mountain in central Florida is quietly the area’s best layout) it’s hard to imagine anyone recapturing that magic.
Race to Dubai. The R2D got the MC not because economic circumstances robbed the big finish of 25 percent of its bank, but because it’s created a system that has left one of the European Tour’s top players inexplicably on the bench this week.
Francesco Molinari, No. 12 on the tour’s R2D standings and 45th in the world ranking, is enjoying this week’s action at both Euro Tour events (Volvo World Match Play and Singapore Open) like the rest of us, on the television, because of some seriously convoluted and confusing eligibility requirements.
Although Molinari was offered a last-minute exemption when Chris Wood withdrew from the Match Play on Monday, he declined because he wouldn’t have been able to properly prepare. The point is, he shouldn’t need a freebie to protect his status this late in the R2D race.
And if all that wasn’t enough, players at this week’s Match Play event at Finca Cortesin Golf Club in Spain are having to ride buggies from greens to far-flung tees at least 10 times. What would Coore and Crenshaw think?
Nationwide Tour. Some promotions are better than others, a tough lesson Michael Sim learned following his third victory on the Nationwide Tour on Aug. 23.
Since his “battlefield promotion,” the Aussie has managed just two Tour starts, the Turning Stone Resort Championship, which he played on a sponsor exemption, and this week’s Viking Classic, which will likely be the only event he will qualify for with his “promotion” status.
Timing is partially to blame, with his third victory coming just as the Tour’s playoffs began, but it must really be a tough economy when promotions come with that much small print.
Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational
Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.
The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.
Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.
Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.
The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.
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. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump
Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.
Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.
None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.
Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.
An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.
In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.
Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.
Playing with the pros
Tiger, DJ and Faxon
President at the Presidents Cup
Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham
Cart on the green
Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open
Trump golf properties
Reportedly fake TIME covers
Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story
Pros comment on the president
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates. And click here for the full collection of articles.
No. 1: Dec. 18