Surprisingly busy week for those who carry notebooks for a living. Lorena Ochoa made 28 the new 58 when she dropped her retirement bombshell, Tiger Woods gave officials from Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., to Philadelphia a reason to exhale, and Brian Davis made us wonder how many PGA Tour rules officials it takes to state the obvious – add two and play away.
Lorena Ochoa. The game’s loss is Ochoa’s gain. We’ve heard it a lot this year, but one of the game’s most endearing champions went where few others have gone and put family first.
“This is a very special day, full of happiness,” Ochoa said on Friday. “There are so many things that I will miss and this has not been an easy decision to make. But this is my moment and I dreamed of it this way.”
Bobby Jones did it. So did Byron Nelson. As great as Ochoa’ playing career was it seems she’s destined to do greater things off the golf course.
Heritage/PGA Tour. Contrary to commonly held notions, the Monday after a PGA Tour event is far from a vacation day for tournament directors.
“I dread the week after,” Heritage tournament director Steve Wilmot said this week. “No cameras, no fans, no players. Now it’s work. A lot of work.”
The good news for Wilmot & Co. is that much of the heavy lifting was done by players last week, at least as it applies to Harbour Town’s precarious sponsorship situation. Wilmot said he plans to meet with the Tour soon and expects to finalize a deal that would assure the event is played in 2011 with or without a title sponsor.
Good news for a cocktail party that had a “last call” feel to it.
AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Apologies if you’ve heard this one: Lee Westwood once mused that the Old Course at St. Andrews wasn’t among his top 50 favorite haunts. When asked, “In Scotland?” Westwood replied, “No, in Fife (the county-sized area around St. Andrews).”
Point is, landing consensus support for a golf course among Tour types is a statistical anomaly, like holes in one and the FedEx Cup points system. All of which makes last week’s announcement that the folks at Pebble Beach re-upped Monterey Peninsula’s Shore Course to the AT&T rota for four more years a victory of reason.
Now, if organizers want to completely blow the curve, may we suggest trading in Spyglass Hill for a return to Cypress Point.
Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)
Christina Kim. Hard not to enjoy the game’s single-handed cure for chronic fatigue syndrome, but we were taken back by the title of Kim’s new book, “Swing from My Heels: Confessions of an LPGA Star.”
An LPGA star? Really? Kim is a “Rocky Road” player in a largely “vanilla” game, but two victories, no majors and two emotional Solheim Cups is not a resume that supports star status. Famed golf writer Dan Jenkins said it best a few years ago, round up a six-pack of majors and then come see me.
Tiger Woods. The world No. 1 continues to break from his routine, announcing this week he will play the Players Championship and AT&T National weeks before the deadline.
It is curious, particularly after the clinic he put on last year at Muirfield Village, that he did not throw the Memorial onto his “to do” list. While he’s at it, how about throwing a random Zurich Classic or Travelers Championship into the mix?
Both events could use the marquee and, let’s be honest, Woods could use the karma.
Brian Davis. The Englishman’s yellow flag on the first extra hole last week at Harbour Town was refreshing, particularly considering the moral flexibility that has consumed other sports, but golf is not other sports.
Davis’ own surprised reaction to his newfound celebrity was the most telling sign. Yes, he did the right thing, but what was the alternative? Michelle Wie?
Good for Davis, but “Cut Line” was more impressed with his 18 footer for birdie at the 72nd hole to tie Jim Furyk moments before his rules gaffe. One showed guts, the other a basic understanding of right and wrong.
PGA Tour. Players, officials and television executives met last week in Harbour Town to brainstorm ways to punch up the on-air product, a productive meeting by all accounts.
All of which makes “Cut Line” wonder how much ill will and column inches could have been saved if the Tour had taken time, or taken the issue seriously, for a similar meeting before enacting the new groove policy this year.
“What if (Acushnet CEO Wally) Uihlein, (U.S. Golf Association senior technical director Dick) Rugge and (Ping CEO John) Solheim would have sat and talked with the (Player Advisory Council)? Imagine how much more productive that would have been,” said PAC member Steve Flesch.
Tweet of the Week: @PGA_JohnDaly: “Got a answer from Quail Hollow – that would be a no I won’t be playin there for those that been askin. No one givin me exemption spot.”
Just a thought, but “Cut Line” has always subscribed to the theory that golf was about earnin’, not being givin’.