Cut Line Erik the Great

By Rex HoggardMarch 6, 2009, 5:00 pm

  • Erik Compton: Plenty of reasons to list the inspirational south Floridian under the Made Cut flag, not the least of which is that hes still kicking about less than a year removed from heart transplant No. 2.
    We sat down with Compton at last years WGC-CA Championship and, to be honest, did not see a world beater. He had lost weight, had a defibrillator the size of a pack of cigarettes implanted in his chest and his energy level was non-existent. Thankfully, there was more fight in this dog than we could have ever imagined.
    But Compton gets the nod this week for what he didnt do. Although Tour officials offered Compton a golf cart to do his business this week at the Honda Classic, he politely declined.
    Its more important for me to be back and healthy and hitting golf shots again, said Compton, whose third heart was put to the test on Friday at PGA National, having to play 20 holes to complete the first two rounds.
    Compton has never wanted to be known as the pro golfer with the heart transplant. How about the pro golfer with the biggest heart this side of Secretariat?

  • Webb Simpson/Scott Piercy: This is a tad convoluted, so keep up. Q-School and Nationwide Tour grads are lumped into one sprawling category and five times a season that group is reshuffled based on earnings. The first reshuffle is the most important because it allows players better access to events in the spring and a chance to build a war chest heading into the grueling summer months.
    The first reshuffle, which was last Monday, is also a good barometer of players worth watching. Simpson and Piercy were the lottery winners this time around.
    Simpson began the season with back-to-back top 10s and took over the top spot in the category while Piercy ' who began the year 15th, one spot ahead of Simpson, in the category ' finished no worse than 19th in his first three events and moved to third.
  • Sea Island Resort: The posh Georgia enclave is a favorite home base among Tour types, Davis Love III and Zach Johnson to drop just two names, but it seems doubtful at this stage it will host a Tour event any time soon.
    Reports had suggested a slot in the Fall Series was imminent, but sources close to the negotiations have indicated the search for a title sponsor has been unsuccessful and the resort will likely remove its name from consideration if a title is not found in the next week or so.
    Shame. The Frederica layout, which would likely host the event, is a ballstrikers ballpark and Bubba Garcias, the famed watering hole just outside the resorts gates, would become an instant staple.

  • One-in-Five Rule: Every few years a potential one-in-five rules gets dusted off and debated to death and the current economic downturn has caused the idea of forcing Tour players to play every event at least once every five years to gain even more traction.
    Commissioner Tim Finchem dropped the independent contractors line when asked about the rule last week, but it is contraction, not contracts, that the game, if not all of sports, must embrace right now.
    At last count, there were 46 Tour events and one TBD on the 09 lineup. Economic Darwinism, not sentimentality, should decide how many are on the docket in 2010 and beyond.

  • Match Play Meddling: Its curious how WGC-Match Play Sunday is followed by handwringing over anticlimactic finals and a general lack of buzz. The Monday-morning quarterbacking reached a crescendo this year, with many observers calling for an end to the 36-hole finale. Instead, critics suggest they cut the final to an 18-hole sprint and hold both the semi-finals and finals on the same day.
    There is a reason the majority of top players the Tour surveyed before sending its format recommendation for the 2016 Olympic Games voted for 72 holes of stroke play. Or, more to the point, Tiger Woods has lost 18-hole match play dashes before, but just one (2000) 36-hole match.
    Cue ESPNs Stuart Scott: dont hate the player, hate the game.
  • Stanford Financial Group-IMG: A New York Post story tying Texas billionaire R. Allen Stanford to the sports marketing giant caused a minor stir last week at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.
    According to the Post story, IMG quietly agreed to steer clients looking for investment advice to Stanford Financial Group . . . According to three sources with knowledge of the situation, IMG and Stanford have a quid-pro-quo agreement under which Stanford Financial pays IMG a low- to mid-seven-figure consulting fee in exchange for IMG advising its clients.
    IMG denied any wrongdoing and two longtime player managers doubted the Post report, but did voice concern that the overall impact could cause an audit of the entire business. Stay tuned.
  • Padraig Harrington: The search for the missing major winner continues. The reigning Player of the Year hasnt finished better than 24th in four U.S. starts this year and has dropped to fifth in the World Golf Ranking.
    After going down in the first round of the Match Play, Harrington decided to change course and play next weeks CA Championship at Doral. Lets avoid hitting the panic button just yet, however. Three majors in his last six Grand Slam starts suggest the Irishman will figure it out before the azaleas are in bloom.

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  • Thompson wins Race, loses tournament after short miss

    By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 8:52 pm

    The drama went down to the very last hole in the LPGA's final event of 2017. Here's how things ended up at the CME Group Tour Championship, where a surprising miss from Lexi Thompson opened the door for Ariya Jutanugarn to win in dramatic fashion:

    Leaderboard: Ariya Jutanugarn (-15), Lexi Thompson (-14), Jessica Korda (-14), Pernilla Lindberg (-13), Eun-Hee Ji (-13)

    What it means: There were scenarios aplenty entering the final round, with nearly every season-long accolade still hanging in the balance. Thompson appeared set to take them all as she sized up a 2-foot par putt on the final hole - a stroke that looked like it would take her to world No. 1 for the first time. Instead, the putt barely touched the hole and allowed Jutanugarn to rally to victory with birdies on the closing two holes. Thompson still took home $1 million for winning the season-long Race to the CME Globe, as it was a reverse scenario from last year when Jutanugarn won the $1 million but not the final tournament.

    Round of the day: Sei Young Kim made the day's biggest charge, turning in a 6-under 66 to close the week in a share of 11th at 10 under. Kim made eight birdies during the final round, including five over her first eight holes en route to her lowest round of the week while erasing a third-round 75.

    Best of the rest: Jutanugarn seemed like an afterthought as the tournament was winding down, but she kept her hopes alive with an 18-foot birdie on No. 17 and then capitalized on Thompson's mistake with a clutch birdie on the difficult final hole. It capped off a final-round 67 for the Thai who now ends what has been a tumultuous season with a smile on her face.

    Biggest disappointment: Thompson faced heartbreak after the penalty-shrouded ANA Inspiration, and she again must handle a setback after essentially missing a tap-in with everything on the line. Thompson can enjoy a $1 million consolation prize along with the Vare Trophy, but a tournament win would have clinched Player of the Year honors as well as her first-ever trip to world No. 1. Instead, she now has the entire off-season to think about how things went awry from close range.

    Shot of the day: There were only three birdies on No. 18 during the final round before Jutanugarn laced one down the fairway and hit a deft approach to 15 feet. The subsequent putt found the target and gave her win No. 7 on her young LPGA career.

    Watch: Fleetwood gets emotional with family after Race to Dubai win

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 19, 2017, 5:30 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood took home the season-long Race to Dubai title on Sunday after a T-21 finish at the DP World Tour Championship.

    He was, understandably, emotional after learning his fate while sitting with his wife and baby following a career year in which he won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship and the French Open and finished fourth at the U.S. Open.

    Luckily for us, cameras were rolling:

    Matsuyama after Koepka rout: 'Huge gap between us'

    By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 4:22 pm

    Hideki Matsuyama offered a blunt assessment after finishing 10 shots behind Brooks Koepka at the Japan Tour's Dunlop Phoenix event.

    Koepka waxed the field en route to successfully defending his title in Japan, shooting a 20-under par total that left him nine shots clear of a runner-up group that included PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele. Koepka's score was one shot off the tournament record, and his margin for victory eclipsed Tiger Woods' eight-shot romp in 2004.

    Matsuyama appeared set to make a final-round charge after a birdie on No. 2 was followed by an ace on the par-3 third hole. But he played the next eight holes in 3 over and eventually finished alone in fifth place following a 2-under 69. Afterwards, he stacked his game up against that of Koepka in a telling comment to the Japan Times.

    "I feel there's a huge gap between us," Matsuyama said.

    The Japanese phenom entered the week ranked No. 4 in the world, though he will be passed in the next rankings by Jon Rahm following the Spaniard's win in Dubai. Matsuyama won twice this year on the PGA Tour, including the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, but he has largely struggled since missing out on a maiden major title at the PGA Championship, where he tied for fifth.

    Matsuyama was a runner-up to Koepka at the U.S. Open earlier this summer, and the 25-year-old seems headed back to the drawing board before defending his title at the Hero World Challenge in two weeks.

    "I don't know whether it's a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well," Matsuyama said. "It seems there are many issues to address."

    McCormick to caddie for Spieth at Aussie Open

    By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 2:21 pm

    When Jordan Spieth returns next week to defend his title at the Australian Open, he will do so without his regular caddie on the bag.

    Spieth and Michael Greller have combined to win 14 tournaments and three majors, including three events in 2017. But Greller's wife, Ellie, gave birth to the couple's first child on Oct. 13, and according to a report from the Australian Herald Sun he will not make the intercontinental trip to Sydney, where Spieth will look to win for the third time in the last four years.

    Instead, Spieth will have longtime swing coach and native Aussie Cameron McCormick on the bag at The Australian Golf Club. McCormick, who won PGA Teacher of the Year in 2015, is originally from Melbourne but now lives in Texas and has taught Spieth since he was a rising star among the junior golf ranks in Dallas.

    While Greller has missed rounds before, this will be the first time as a pro that Spieth has used a different caddie for an entire event. Greller was sidelined with an injury last year in Singapore when Spieth's agent, Jay Danzi, took the bag, and trainer Damon Goddard has subbed in twice when Greller was sick, including this year at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational.

    Spieth's torrid 2015 season traced back to his win at The Australian in 2014, and he returned to Oz last year where he won a playoff at Royal Sydney over Cameron Smith and Ashley Hall.