Cut Line: Finishing touches for the season

By Rex HoggardOctober 11, 2013, 8:57 pm

Happy New Year. OK, Happy New Season. If it seems like Henrik Stenson was hoisting the FedEx Cup just a few days ago it is because, well it was. So before we turn the page to the new season, Cut Line would like to put the finishing touches on 2013.

Made Cut

Hall pass. In this case, no action is better than continued bad action.

The World Golf Hall of Fame announced this week it will forego an induction ceremony next May to go through a “strategic review” of the selection process and officials plan to even take a closer look at the timing and location of ceremony.

The overhaul follows months of second-guessing over an antiquated selection criteria that saw both Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els inducted before they added to their major championship resume at the last two Open Championships.

For starters, let’s hope the Hall raises the minimum age for induction from 40 years old to something closer to true retirement – let’s say 55. There is also the hole in the system that allows an induction even if no one receives 65 percent of the vote provided that person gets at least 50 percent of the vote.

This is not the Hall of Pretty Good. If no one gets the required number of votes, so be it. Watering down the Hall just for the sake of having a ceremony isn’t helping anyone.

Oh, captain. Neither the last putt nor the last raindrop had fallen in Dublin, Ohio, last week when the chorus had already started to name Fred Couples a Ryder Cup captain.

After three successful turns as a Presidents Cup captain the lobbying was already underway for Boom Boom to have the job in 2016 at Hazeltine National and even Couples seemed open to the idea, telling Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte he would like to captain a Ryder Cup team or even a Junior Ryder Cup squad.

The PGA of America showed a healthy dose of gumption when it named Tom Watson next year’s captain. Let’s hope that outside-the-box vibe lasts long enough to earn Couples his turn at the helm.

As for who will be named the U.S. Presidents Cup captain for 2015, some have suggested Davis Love III, one of Couples’ assistants at Muirfield Village, but the veteran seems more interested in playing for the American side in Korea.

“Freddie asked me if I was ready (to captain),” Love laughed late Sunday. “I’d love to do it, but I would love to do it down the road.”

Mr. Haas, Mr. Jay Haas. You have a call on Line 1.


Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Missing the point(s). Another anticlimactic Sunday, another lopsided loss for the Internationals and another round of handwringing over the PGA Tour’s reluctance to reduce the total number of points at the Presidents Cup and, in theory, make the matches meaningful.

Had Tour commissioner Tim Finchem listened to International captain Nick Price, Greg Norman and Ernie Els, this year’s muddy mess at Muirfield Village may not have been another blowout (18 ½ to 15 ½).

“If you took out one team match per (team) session imagine how good this would have been,” said one International caddie on Sunday at Muirfield Village in reference to his side’s 7 ½-point advantage in singles play.

Instead, the United States improved to 8-1-1 in the biennial blowout with little hope things will turn in time for the 2015 matches in Korea.

As an aside, if the PGA of America is interested in making next year’s Ryder Cup more competitive (Europe has won seven of the last nine matches) may we suggest playing six team matches each session. It couldn’t hurt.


Tweet of the week

The Tour is off to a good start in 2013-14, giving the inaugural Courage Award to professional golf’s Mr. Courage after Compton, the two-time heart transplant recipient, retained his Tour card this year.

But we are still not sure why the Tour had to trade the Comeback Award for the new Courage trophy. It seems like 2013 would have been a good year for comebacks. #HenrikStenson #BooWeekley


Missed Cut

A flawed finals. The 2013-14 Tour season is barely underway and already the circuit’s new qualifying system is being nitpicked and prodded.

At issue is how some of the Web.com Tour’s regular season money winners – the top 25 on the money list were assured Tour cards, but their status heading into the new season depended on how they performed in the four-event Finals – now find themselves in a difficult position.

The last 11 players from the Web.com Tour Finals category failed to get into this week’s Frys.com Open, and the field next week in Las Vegas looks similarly restricted for these players.

Consider Kevin Tway, who finished eighth in regular-season earnings on the secondary circuit, but he struggled in the Finals and is 46th out of 50 in the category and only got into the Frys.com Open on a sponsor exemption.

Nor does it help that the fall events have 132-player fields, instead of 144. At this rate players toward the tail end of the Web.com Finals category will likely only get one or two starts before the first reshuffle at the end of the fall.

“I think it’s just a terrible mistake (by the PGA Tour),” Alex Aragon told GolfChannel.com. “The way it works, people say, ‘Oh, you have your Tour card.’ It doesn’t work that way.”

Funny, Cut Line attended the Web.com Tour Finals closing ceremony and didn’t hear any mention of a Tour card light.

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.