Cut Line Crime and Punishment

By Rex HoggardJanuary 21, 2011, 10:54 pm
Elliot Saltman gets three months off and Padraig Harrington has an extra three days to practice. Neither hiatus feels right. From two choice Ryder Cup captains to more rules nonsense, there was more than enough to keep “Cut Line” buzzing this week.

Made Cut

Ryd-ing high. Following two years of contentious press conferences, snide remarks and general ickiness the powers that be seemed intent on making the 2012 Ryder Cup fun for the entire family with this week’s announcements that Jose Maria Olazabal and Davis Love III will captain their respective squads.

A member of Love’s camp told “Cut Line” after the announcement that this “Captain America” intends to “have fun and he’s going to make sure the players have fun.”

Ollie and DL3 are on the “G rated” side of say, John Calipari and neither will light up the press center. “Cut Line” already misses Monty, but they will bring out the best in the players, and the matches.

Old habits. OK, so Tiger Woods’ Wednesday commitment to the Farmers Insurance Open was hardly worth a double take and two days before the deadline is not exactly what some consider an early warning, but it’s a start and will certainly help tournament officials market the event.

According to Farmers Insurance tournament director Tom Wilson ticket sales were already up 15 percent over last year on “rumors” that Woods would return to Torrey Pines for the first time since 2008, and Team Tiger had dropped as many hints as they could.

“(Woods’ manager Mark Steinberg) gave me as much of a heads up as possible,” Wilson said. “We had an idea, so it’s been nice.”

For the record, Woods would not have been the centerpiece of the event’s marketing campaign even if he would have committed two months ago. That honor, as always, goes to the defending champion – someone named Ben Crane.

Tweet of the Week. @PaulAzinger “Davis and Ollie will be terrific captains. Won’t be the usual finger pointing at captains. Press will have to blame players.”
Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Sawgrass saga. How is it that everybody has staked out the high ground in the ongoing Lee Westwood v. Players Championship spat and yet the debate still feels petty and political?

Lee Westwood, the game’s current No. 1, can play whatever schedule he wishes, and if that means skipping the so-called “fifth major” to be better prepared for the established Grand Slams then play away.

The PGA Tour, however, has an obligation to its members and would be ill advised to change its rules, again, to better accommodate non-members. The circuit scrambled late last year to exempt The Players from the 10-tournament maximum for non-members, a not-so-veiled move to keep Westwood and Rory McIlroy in The Players fold.

Still, if everyone is right how come this feels so wrong?

Worlds apart. Greg Norman isn’t going to like this. Ditto for PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, but professional golf is inching its way toward a global tour.

That is, of course, unless Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., would rather bury its collective head in the Palm Springs sand. Three of the top four players in the world and all four major champions from 2010 are playing on the European Tour this week and the crowded calendar is starting to produce casualties.

This year’s Presidents Cup will be played the same week as the South African Open, a scheduling anomaly that will force the game’s top South Africans to choose between a team event and their national championship. And this is not an isolated incident.

A world tour is coming, just don’t tell Norman.
Missed Cut

Crime and punishment? Elliot Saltman, the Challenge Tour player accused of incorrectly marking his ball on at least five different occasions during an event last year, was banned from European Tour play for three months, which, considering the gravity of the accusations, is not exactly the death penalty.

Saltman originally acknowledged his mistakes at the Russian Challenge Cup, where two players paired with the Scot refused to sign his scorecard after the round. He later recanted his admission and was in Abu Dhabi to challenge the ruling.

Five separate violations is not accidental behavior and three months for such a blatant breach seems a tad light. Judge Judy would have come down harder than that. Shame on Saltman. Shame on the European Tour.

RIP common sense. Another viewer, another phone call, another baffling disqualification. But this time it isn’t about Padraig Harrington, who was bounced from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship after a viewer called in a violation from Thursday’s play, or even the viewer with far too much free time.

No, the problem is the convoluted Rules of Golf, which completely ignore intent and common sense.

Just take it from Jack Nicklaus, who told Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive” crew earlier this week, “Probably the whole book of the Rules of Golf should be changed. If you try to figure it out, it should be common sense, yet common sense never seems to prevail.”

Holding out Hope. There will be plenty of indignant ink and even more eye rolling at this week’s Bob Hope Classic, which has become a perennial second fiddle to the European Tour’s Abu Dhabi stop.

But know this about the once-storied event, many of its problems are self inflicted.

The tournament’s ill-advised move to the Classic Club lingers among the rank and file, the five-round pro-am format is the professional golf equivalent of liver and onions and the ousting of George Lopez as tournament host in 2008 was simply baffling.

The Hope may deserve better, but so do the players and fans.
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Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.

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.

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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.