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.
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.
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.”