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.

Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open

By Jason CrookNovember 23, 2017, 6:50 am

The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:

Leaderboard: Cameron Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Jason Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

What it means: Jordan Spieth has won this event three of the last four years, including last year, but he got off to a rocky start on Thursday. Playing in the windy afternoon wave, the world No. 2 bogeyed his first two holes but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. It was more of the same the rest of the way as the 24-year-old carded three more bogeys and four birdies, getting into the clubhouse with a 1-under 70. While it certainly wasn't the start he was hoping for, Spieth didn't shoot himself out of the tournament with 54 holes left to play, he has plenty of time to claw his way up the leaderboard.

Round of the day: With Round 1 in the books, the solo leader, Davis, is the easy pick here. The 22-year-old Aussie who turned pro last year, came out of the gates on fire, birdieing six of his first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4 through 7. He did drop a shot on the ninth hole to go out in 30 but rebounded with three more birdies on the back to card a 8-under 63. Davis, who was born in Sydney and played this year on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada. He will attempt to get his Web.com Tour card next month during qualifying in Arizona.

Best of the rest: Making his first start in his home country in four years, Day started on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club and made four birdies to one bogey on the back side before adding four more circles after making the turn. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, he also added an ugly double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole and had to settle for a 5-under 66, good enough to sit T-3. Day, who has dropped to No. 12 in the world rankings, is looking for his first win on any tour since the 2016 Players Championship.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Can the upstart 22-year-old Davis hold off the star power chasing him or will he fold to the pressure of major champions in his rearview mirror? Day (afternoon) and Spieth (morning) are once again on opposite ends of the draw on Friday as they try to improve their position before the weekend.

Shot of the day: It’s tough to beat an ace in this category, and we had one of those on Thursday from Australian Brad Shilton. Shilton’s hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole came with a special prize, a $16k watch.

Quote of the day: “Just two bad holes. Pretty much just two bad swings for the day,” – Day, after his 66 on Thursday. 

Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.

Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia

By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 2:32 am

SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.

Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.

''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.

But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.

In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.

''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''

Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.

The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his Web.com card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.

''Everything went to plan,'' Davis said. ''I got off to a great start. I was hitting my spots and was able to keep it together on the back nine.''

NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.

Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 22, 2017, 9:33 pm

Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.

Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.

"He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"

The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.

Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.

"I totally understand where he's coming from, because sometimes I wake up in the morning and it takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, and for him to be in pain for three years is very frustrating."

Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.

"From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.

"And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.

"There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."