Cut Line A Cup Half Empty

By Rex HoggardAugust 14, 2010, 2:59 am
2010 PGA Championship

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. – The Ryder Cup is always the story within the story during PGA Championship week, but this year the biennial grudge matches stole the spotlight from “Glory’s Last Shot” for all the wrong reasons.

If the captain’s press conference on Wednesday was any indication, this year’s matches may make the heated “War on the Shore” look like the Tavistock Cup. WWE’s Vince McMahan would have been proud, and “Cut Line” scarcely knows where to start.

Made Cut

Tiger Woods. Whatever the relationship between the world No. 1 and Sean Foley, Woods gets kudos for bringing in a second set of eyes – let’s be honest, the video stuff didn’t seem to be working – and realizing he needed help.

Be it by desperation or design, Foley seems a good fit for Camp Eldrick. His credentials (having coached two players to three Tour titles in the last two months) are beyond reproach and his deft handling of this week’s media frenzy suggests he’s up to the task of living in the world No. 1’s fish bowl.

A word of unsolicited caution, however. Swing instructors are like football coaches, they get too much praise during the good times and far too much blame during the bad. Just ask Hank Haney.

Club pros. Twenty non-descript players, the lunchbox set of professional golf, will quietly go about their business this week at the 92nd PGA Championship. Most will be gone long before Sunday’s trophy ceremony, but all will cherish the experience to the extreme.

“Shot 67 (on Wednesday),” said Ryan Benzel, one of “Cut Line’s” favorite 9-5ers and a Pacific Northwest teaching pro. “This is awesome.”

Not bad for a guy who folds shirts and hawks tee times for a living.

Tweet of the Week: @PaulAzinger “Tiger said he would accept pick to play (Ryder Cup). Said he wants to be there! Does that now make him a lock to be on the team? I say it does.”

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Woods, Phil Mickelson and Anthony Kim. Wednesday’s soiree at captain Corey Pavin’s rented house wasn’t mandatory. Wasn’t even highly recommended, but for one player wrestling with public perception problems and another fresh off a stint on the DL it was a curious miss.

According to multiple sources, all but three players from the top 20 on the U.S. points list attended the meeting, with Woods, Mickelson and Kim taking a curious pass.

Lefty is first on the points list and certainly deserves a pass, and perhaps Woods and Kim had perfectly legitimate reasons for skipping – fondue on the menu and a cash bar come to mind – but it just seems the American side could use all the team building it can get right now.

Corey Pavin/Jim Gray. Whatever side of the he said/he said debate you subscribe to, the high-profile row between the U.S. Ryder Cup captain and the Golf Channel contributor leaves little room for conversation.

Both miss the 54-hole cut because they let what should have been a private conversation between adults escalate into a strange public disagreement on Wednesday at the PGA Championship.

Whistling Straits’ 18th hole. Herb Kohler’s gem has been described by some as the best 17-hole course in the world, and this week’s PGA suggests there is something to that with players largely praising the faux links layout.

The Straits’ 18th hole remains a work in progress, however. A new fairway built down the left side will get little use this week since it would require a 310- to 320-yard drive to reach the short grass and little room beyond that before there is more rough and hazards.

One Tour caddie didn’t pull any punches when asked if anyone would use the new landing area, “Yeah, if you’re a dumbass.”

Missed Cut

Colin Montgomerie. “Cut Line” has had big fun with the European skipper this year, but the Scot’s actions of late have slid from the entertaining to the inexplicable.

Monty scolded reporters earlier this week for asking about a reported injunction he has against an ex-girlfriend. According to a recent report he, “won an injunction in the British courts to prevent his ex-girlfriend from revealing details about their relationship.”

“Excuse me, I'm here to talk about the Ryder Cup,” Montgomerie said when asked about the injunction on Wednesday. “So please, no further questions on that or any other subject regarding anything – or anything regarding my private life. By definition that is private.”

Curious then that Monty had a much different take on Woods’ “private life” earlier this year when he wrote an article in the Telegraph Sport.

“Turning up at Celtic Manor could be one of the hardest things Tiger ever does. He will worry about how the wives of the other players will react to him,” Monty wrote. “Some of them might find it hard to welcome Tiger back into the group.”

Similarly, some might find Monty’s comments difficult to stomach.

United Kingdom taxman. Whether Woods, or any other American, would accept an invitation to play this year’s Ryder Cup took an interesting turn last week when reports surfaced that they may be subject to U.K. taxes on endorsements and other income.

For Woods, whose portfolio already has taken a healthy hit this year, that could be as much as £1million. The European Tour, which runs overseas Ryder Cups, is in discussions with U.K. tax officials.

“My accountant has told me I could be liable,” Paul Casey said. “I will always go back because it’s home, but I fear it will keep people away. I’m not a huge fan of paying through the nose for something.”

And fans heading to this year’s matches in Wales thought they were paying through the nose.

Getty Images

McCoy earns medalist honors at Q-School

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Tour Q-School.

McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

Getty Images

Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.



Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."

Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.