Cut Line Controversy Ave

By Rex HoggardJanuary 30, 2010, 6:48 am

SAN DIEGO – If PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem thought his press conference earlier this year in Hawaii was a tad edgy, wait until next week’s players meeting in Los Angeles.

From legally questionable wedges to logically challenged policies on Tour members playing overseas, the commish may be longing for the warm embrace of the press by the time the rank-and-file are finished with him. Because as “Cut Line” has learned this week, there are no easy answers on the modern Tour.

Made Cut

John Daly. Nope, those rounds of 79-71 at Torrey Pines weren’t nearly good enough to keep the big man around for the weekend, but his moment of emotional clarity Friday afternoon was a welcome addition to a turbulent career.

“I’m tired of embarrassing myself. I just can’t do it anymore,” Daly said Friday while filming an upcoming episode of the Golf Channel series “Being John Daly.”

If you believe JD is going to hang up his FootJoys we’ve got some underwater SoCal real estate, both financially and geologically, that we’d like to show you. Daly has far too much talent to call it career and, let’s be honest, not a vast amount of marketable skills outside the ropes.

He did, however, show an encouraging sign of humility and reason when he was asked about playing next month’s AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on a sponsor exemption.

“I’m not going to take that spot from anybody else,” Daly said.

No, he’s not finished. In fact, it seems Daly could finally be getting it.


Made Cut-Did Not Finish

Ping Eye 2 wedges. Never in the history of the game has 20-year-old technology caused such a buzz.

What largely seemed to be a non-issue ignited when Tour veteran Scott McCarron said Phil Mickelson’s use of the Ping Eye 2’s, U-groove clubs which have been grandfathered into use via a legal settlement between the PGA Tour, U.S. Golf Association and Ping, was akin to cheating.

In golf the “c” word doesn’t wash off very easily, and on Friday McCarron didn’t back down, “I didn’t say Phil was cheating. I said anyone using one of those clubs is cheating.”

On Tour the issue has a “healthcare” edge to it, dividing the circuit into two camps – those who are disappointed Mickelson is using the club and those who are angry with the Tour for not doing something about an arcane rule.

“I don’t have a tenth of the talent that Phil has and I would never even consider using that club,” Jay Williamson said.

While Tom Pernice Jr. was among the latter, saying: “Finchem needs to have everybody playing under equal guidelines. . . . It’s not the player’s fault by any means. Everybody is playing within the rules.”

Either way, Torrey’s Poa greens aren’t the bumpiest things Mickelson has had to navigate this week, but in Lefty’s defense there’s no reason to think he is trying to gain a competitive advantage. Truth is, anyone with an eBay account has access to the same technology. At least while supplies last.

Conflicting event releases. Next week’s inaugural meeting of this year’s Player Advisory Council promises to be a lively meet and greet.

After the Ping Eye 2 issue, expect players to tackle the Tour’s policy on conflicting event releases which came to a head last week when nine Tour members, including Anthony Kim who grew up at PGA West, were granted releases to play the European Tour’s Abu Dhabi Championship opposite the Bob Hope Classic.

Nine players were also granted releases for this week’s European Tour stop, including Kenny Perry, while this week’s stop at Torrey Pines, which has struggled to secure a long-term title sponsor, has just two Americans ranked inside the top 21 in the world (Mickelson and Lucas Glover, No. 21).

“(Finchem) has a magic wand but is reluctant to use it,” Joe Ogilvie said. “You have a sponsorless event in need of players and it kind of slaps your partner in the face (by giving releases).

Ogilvie said European players, like Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter, should be allowed releases, but Americans like Kim and Perry should not. Instead he suggests the Tour should give these players special attention in marketing material to make up for lost revenue from the money they would have received in appearance fees.

Sounds like a slippery slope, but drastic times may require a little sliding.


Missed Cut

Jim Thorpe. The Champions Tour icon was sentenced to one-year in prison for failing to pay more than $2 million in income taxes, and the disconnect between the three-time Tour winner’s plight and that of Doug Barron is concerning.

On one hand we have a journeyman who underwent testosterone treatment because his testosterone levels had dropped to that of an 80-year-old man. As a result he was suspended from playing any major tour for a year.

On the other hand we have Thorpe who has been sideways with the IRS before and is now bound for prison. But the reality is the senior scofflaw will likely be back between the ropes long before Barron.

On the PGA Tour, justice truly is blind.

Accenture. Hard to blame the financial services company for its fall from golf grace, but it’s still impossible to ignore how far the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship has tumbled.

Last year the event was the center of the golf universe when Tiger Woods made his much-anticipated comeback after knee surgery. This year it looks as if both Woods and Mickelson, Nos. 1 and 2, are out.

At this rate officials should rename next month’s Match Play, golf’s version of the “Big Dance,” the NIT.

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 GolfChannel.com 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.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

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.