Cut Line Freakonomics and Twitter fun

By Rex HoggardDecember 4, 2010, 6:00 am

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Aside from the LPGA Tour Championship, which has instituted a unique two-cut format, none of the other major events this week have a cut (although one could argue that few tournaments in the game need a cut more than the six-round Q-School finale), which means “Cut Line” had to work overtime to fill the void.

Made Cut

Lee Westwood. Give the Englishman a rare double, No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking and in the game’s budding, and wildly unofficial, Twitter wars.

Westwood has eschewed the normal mundane tweets from athletes that pass for insight (wonder if John Daly is watching an Arkansas game right now?) and has taken on a more active and creative role since joining Tweet-dom last month. Among some of his more imaginative offerings:

- “Isn’t it past your bedtime Rory (McIlroy)? Come on, finish your milk and biscuit and lights off.”

- “I can get (Ian Poulter) a deal on a jag when he wants a proper car that he can get more than just him and his hair gel in!”

-“(McIlroy) going grey gracefully young pup! I wasn’t pulling grey hairs out at 21!”

-“Hey Tiger (Woods) don’t give those peanut (butter) and banana sandwiches to Steve (Williams)! He’ll blow you away! Or the ear drums of the (microphone) man!”

The Euros don’t win the Ryder Cup because they are better than the U.S., they win it because they are funnier.

Andy Pazder. The news last month that Rick George was bolting the PGA Tour for the Texas Rangers front office was a bit of a surprise to some who considered the former tournament director a viable successor to commissioner Tim Finchem.

But Friday’s announcement that George was being replaced as executive vice president and chief of operations by Pazder was a triumph of reason.

Pazder, 44, has served the past three years as senior vice president of tournament administration and is largely lauded by players and the media for being forthright and accessible. That’s a rare combination at Camp Ponte Vedra Beach.

Captain’s choice. It seems a foregone conclusion that Davis Love III will be America’s next Ryder Cup captain – the PGA of America powers that be were scheduled to meet this week but no announcement seems imminent – which creates an interesting opportunity for DLIII.

Love could help right two egregious wrongs in his new role by picking Fred Couples and Larry Nelson to serve as his assistants. Couples, who will captain the U.S. Presidents Cup team next year in Australia, seems to have doomed his Ryder Cup chances with his two Presidents Cup stints, and Nelson, inexplicably passed over for his own captaincy, deserves a chance to serve.

And if Love has room on the team bus after all that, he can have Michael Jordan join the fun. We think Couples may have his cell number.

Tweet of the Week: @IanPoulter “Hey No. 1 (Westwood), I’m going to see No. 2 (Tiger Woods) this week. Shall I give him banter for that?”


Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Designated tournaments. Turns out it was the tournaments and sponsors that sped the demise of the proposal that would have required the Tour’s top cards add a needy tournament to their schedules.

The concern, according to numerous tournament directors, is the stigma that would come with designation and the fallout that could follow if a field doesn’t improve after being labeled wanting.

In essence, the small market teams want to find a way to keep pace with the Yankees without the aid of a salary cap, and that magic bullet may not exist.

“I thought we were onto something pretty good,” Jim Furyk said. “I’m not sure what to do now.”

Hyundai. In a recent interview with CNBC Woods’ IMG manager Mark Steinberg said, “We’re close to a deal coming out of Asia and we're in discussions with a number of companies interested in being on his golf bag.”

Some have speculated the new deal could be with Hyundai. Although there is nothing to substantiate those rumors, the carmaker’s recent move to sponsor the Tour’s season opener at Kapalua suggests a newfound interest in all things golf.

It would be a cruel twist that the one year Woods may be inclined to play the season opener –  he hasn’t made the trip to Kapalua since 2005 –  he doesn’t qualify for the winner’s-only field.


Missed Cut

Fall freakonomics. Whatever the holdup was, next year’s Tour schedule contained few surprises when it was released this week – 41 events, at least $288 million in total purses and the economic reality many predicted for the post-Tour Championship badlands.

The 2011 schedule will feature just four Fall Series events, down from seven in 2007 when the post-Tour Championship lineup was introduced. At the time many figured that blatantly second-tier events would struggle to maintain sponsors and fan interest, and if Thursday’s schedule is any indication “many” were correct.

“It’s tough for guys who’ve had bad years,” said one member of the Tour’s Player Advisory Council. “I still think every event should be part of the FedEx Cup and the playoffs should be after Disney (the Fall Series finale).”

World Golf Ranking. The Chevron World Challenge is the diamond of the “silly season” lineup. Woods’ member-member draws a deep field (18 players from the top 50 in the World Ranking this year) and is played on a stellar golf course.

Whether that qualifies it to receive World Ranking points is up for debate, however. That the host can reclaim the top spot in the world with a victory on Sunday at Sherwood is a concern. That someone not in the elite field may be denied access to marquee events in 2011 is borderline unjust.

Last year Graeme McDowell, who replaced Woods in the Chevron field, finished second and moved from 55th to 38th in the ranking, bumping the likes of Peter Hanson and Alexander Noren out of the top 50 which is a crucial benchmark for entry into many top events.

To put the debate in context, consider the ramifications if the Skins Game had been doling out ranking points all those years. Couples – won the Skins Game five times and finished second five times – may still be ranked No. 1.

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Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.

Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.