Cut Line Flip-Floppin

By Rex HoggardAugust 28, 2010, 3:43 am

With his divorce in the books Tiger Woods shows flashes of life on the golf course, Colin Montgomerie flops on his captain’s picks and the PGA Tour flips the spring schedule to round out a particularly hectic start the playoffs.

All golf seems to be missing these days is a wildcard game.

Made Cut

Tiger Woods. It’s far too early to claim the world No. 1 has his competitive groove back, although his opening 65 at Ridgewood Country Club was his best card of the year by any measure, but at least he was able to change the conversation.

Check Thursday’s transcript from The Barclays, of the 36 questions Woods was peppered with, all but one were about his game, of all things. He also took a big step toward qualifying for next week’s event in Boston, which is good for everyone.

But it was the strangely forthright way in which he handled Wednesday’s questions regarding his recently completed divorce that was most impressive.

“My actions certainly led us to this decision. And I've certainly made a lot of errors in my life and that's something I'm going to have to live with,” he said.

Chambers Bay. Despite reports of over-baked greens and winds that looked straight off the North Sea on Thursday, the Pacific Northwest muni is putting on a show at this week’s U.S. Amateur.

Some 700 yards were clipped from the 3-year-old layout for the match-play portion of the championship, exactly the type of flexibility that the U.S. Golf Association savors in its new venues, and the hard, fast conditions will be a welcome respite from the steady diet of over-fertilized U.S. Open courses when the national championship is played at Chambers Bay in 2015.

It’s taken the New World a few centuries to grasp this, but brown is finally the new green.

Tweet of the Week: PaulAzinger “Hey, @ianjamespoulter (Ian Poulter) is it too late to ask a question? I was busy polishing this (the Ryder Cup trophy).”

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

PGA Tour’s pro-am policy. A faulty alarm hasn’t caused this much of a stir since Jean Paul, the Trinidad and Tobago marathon runner who slept through Jerry Seinfeld’s collection of alarm clocks, and perhaps the most difficult part of Jim Furyk’s disqualification for showing up late to his Barclays pro-am is that he is the consummate professional.

By almost all accounts, the punishment doesn’t fit the crime, but that only trivializes the need for the rule. Protecting sponsors is more important now than ever, but it seems Barclays got it coming (with a top player missing a pro-am) and going (said top player is now missing the tournament proper).

Can’t say there’s an easy answer, but Joe Ogilvie had an interesting take.

“I was on the Policy Board when we made the DQ pro-am rule, a mistake,” Tweeted Ogilvie. “(A) missed pro-am should be a day with sponsor on players’ dime, no DQ.”

Add commissioner Tim Finchem to the pro-am “make good,” and now we’re really talking crime and punishment.

FedEx Cup Playoffs. Four years in and the Tour still doesn’t seem to have this postseason thing right.

Missing from this week’s playoff opener are Graeme McDowell, Louis Oosthuizen, Martin Kaymer and (the most recent Tour winner) Arjun Atwal. You don’t hold a World Series without the ALCS champion and you don’t have a “playoff” event without three of the four major champions.

Atwal is the most glaring omission, having started the season with Tour status and getting bumped on a technicality, proving for the umpteenth time that there are too many lawyers in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

Missed Cut

Heartache in Hilton Head. The Tour’s spring shuffle is complete, although the reason behind the musical chairs remains a mystery. In short, the Texas Open jumped into the Heritage’s long-held post-Masters date and everyone else moved back a spot and lost a turn, or something like that.

According to Tour chief of operations Rick George the move is a one-off, with order expected to return in 2012, but if the shuffling was intended to help boost the field in Texas, one of the circuit’s most successful events on the charity front, it seems counterintuitive.

“It’s going to kill their field,” said one veteran player. “It’s so easy to go from Augusta to Hilton Head. Going all the way to San Antonio, stupidity. Then have Colonial right after The Players and Charlotte. Another field killer.”

And what of the “Texas Swing,” which grouped the San Antonio stop, Colonial and the Byron Nelson together this year? The Tour may be in Texas the week after the Masters, but its heart will remain in Hilton Head.

Colin Montgomerie. The problem with chest pounding is always the follow up. Just over two months ago the Scot warned that it was “a given” that any European with hopes of landing a captain’s pick would be at this week’s Johnnie Walker Championship, a not-so-gentle hint that attendance at Gleneagles was mandatory.

This week Monty flopped, conceding that Padraig Harrington, Paul Casey, Luke Donald and Justin Rose were still on his radar despite the fact the foursome is playing this week’s first playoff event in New Jersey.

“I could pick three who aren’t here, I suppose,” Monty allowed. “Having qualified for the FedEx (Cup) series, as long as they are playing competitive golf then I’m quite happy.”

In a related item, Corey Pavin said Anthony Kim’s absence from a team BBQ at the PGA Championship was excused. As a “make good” he and Furyk must host a dinner party for the cast of “Jersey Shore.”

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

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Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

 There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.

It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.

Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.

Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.

Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.

After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.

Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

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Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.