Cut Line Fresh Faces Old Aces

By Rex HoggardMarch 5, 2011, 12:42 am

2007 Honda Classic

Fresh from the West Coast “Cut Line” enjoyed fertile ground in search of this week’s winners and losers – from the USGA’s homerun with Mike Davis to John Daly’s foul ball lawsuit the Florida Swing is shaping up to be an interesting four weeks.

 

 

 

Made Cut

Honda Classic. The PGA Tour doesn’t dole out “Comeback Tournament” awards but if it did the Honda would be the runaway champion – think “The King’s Speech” at the Oscars without the inappropriate language.

There was a time, not that long ago, when the South Florida stop was little more than a real-estate shill for the likes of Mirasol and TPC Herron Bay. A time when the Honda was a good reason to do some laundry back at home and get ready for Doral or Bay Hill.

Since then the tournament has added a new course (PGA National), new energy (tournament director Ken Kennerly), a new date (wedged between World Golf Championships in Arizona and Doral) and an old draw (Jack Nicklaus), to move from worst to first, some would argue, on the Florida Swing.

And the Honda has done it without the top-ranked player in the field – they missed ending that streak by one week when Martin Kaymer bounced Lee Westwood, who is playing the Honda, from the top spot on Monday – which may also put the event in the running for the circuit’s “Best Supporting Actor” award.

Mike Davis. The U.S. Golf Association doesn’t always get it right, the 2004 U.S. Open at Shinnecock immediately comes to mind, but on this the association batted for the cycle when they named Davis the USGA’s seventh executive director.

What Davis lacks in business acumen, and make no mistake the U.S. Open is a business, he more than makes up for in institutional knowledge and creativity. The USGA also deserves credit for adjusting the job description to keep Davis involved in the setup of Open courses.

USGA president Jim Hyler said the organization would be “idiots” if they tried to keep him out of the Open mix and Tom Meeks, who Davis replaced as senior director of rules and competitions six years ago, concurred: “They need Mike there. They don’t want to lose any of that continuity. . . . It’s a slam dunk.”

An apropos and interesting choice of words by Meeks considering the only airtime the 5-foot-9 Davis sees these days is in the 18th-hole tower at the U.S. Open.

Jack Nicklaus. Officially the Golden One holds his “State of the Bear” news conference later this summer at his Memorial Tournament but he met with scribes this week to talk Tiger, the 1986 Masters and the current world order.

Among the highlights of the Q&A:

-On his 1986 Masters victory. “I don't care where I go, I always run into somebody who says, ‘You know, I was in an airport in '86, I cancelled my airplane and sat there and watched it because I couldn't leave.’ Or I had to stop this or I had to stop that. Amazing the number of people that just told me those kind of stories.”

-On the current parity in golf. “When I was playing, there were three or four guys that always wanted to be No. 1. We didn't have a No. 1 ranking in those days but they always wanted to be No. 1. But there was always that group that was scared of winning and they were afraid that, gee, if I come down the stretch and I win this golf tournament, you know, what is it going to mean to me? They sort of backed away from it. I think there's going to be that, though in everything. You always have people that are afraid of success.”

-On Woods reaching his record of 18 majors: “I'm very surprised that he has not popped back. I still think he'll break my record.”

Rory McIlroy. Golf scribes lament the onset of the “one-size-fits-all tour” and then dismantle a player when he has the guts to step outside the lines.

Whether you agree with young McIlroy’s comments or not, his self-bylined opus in this week’s SI Golf Plus is his opinion, and a good read.

Maybe McIlroy is ill advised to poke a sleeping Tiger with lines like, “I wasn’t playing against Tiger Woods when he had that aura. . . . There still is to some extent, but when you’re on the golf course you simply block it out. But Tiger is not playing as well as he was even a couple of years ago, never mind going back to the late 1990s and early 2000s.” But his opinion and his honesty are refreshing, not risqué.

Tweet of the week. Ogilviej (Joe Ogilvie): “Breaking news: PGA Tour has decided to grant Bubba Watson exclusive rights to refer to himself in the third person.”


Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Johnny Miller. The status quo dismisses it as Johnny just being Johnny, but the outspoken NBC Sports analyst played it close to the white stakes during last week’s “State of the Game Live” special from the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship when he was asked about Tiger Woods’ recent struggles.

“It’s a little bit like a Mike Tyson story to be honest with you,” Miller said. “Sort of invincible, scared everybody, performed quickly under pressure. Until a Buster Douglas came along. . . .His life crumbled. It's like Humpty Dumpty. He was on the high wall, way above all the other players, and had a great fall, and there's pieces all over the place trying to put them together.”

We always enjoy Miller’s candid take on the game, but on this it must be clarified – Woods hit a fire-hydrant and a tree. Tyson was accused of hitting Robin Givens. Big difference.


Missed Cut

PGA Tour. After 41 years the circuit seems to have fallen out of love. It’s not you, Harbour Town, it’s me. It’s time to move on. Hope we can still be friends. Have you ever met the Champions Tour? Great guy.

At least that was the read last week when Tour vice president Ty Votaw said it was “imperative” for the Heritage to secure a title sponsor. No translation needed, find some deep pockets or find a way to split up the record collection because we’re done.

“Cut Line” is not a relationship expert, but our gut says Dr. Phil would call that dysfunctional.

Dove Mountain. Speaking of unrequited love, the desert outpost seems to be on the way out as host of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

Just three years ago the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club had that new course smell sponsors love, complete with clear skies that made muddy La Costa seem like a bad dream. But word around the WGC last week was Accenture and the Tour were ready to move on (must have been the jumping cholla).

Last Sunday’s snow and sleet did little to help Dove Mountain’s future. Woods once declared, “It’s not raining in Tucson,” when the Match Play was suffering through yet another storm at La Costa. We couldn’t help but think last Sunday amid the wintery proceedings that it wasn’t snowing in Hilton Head.

John Daly. Seems like just yesterday Daly was lamenting the lack of sponsor exemptions being thrown his way, blasting the fine folks at the Bob Hope Classic and Waste Management Phoenix Open for not sending him an invitation.

But “Long John” is doing little to help chances by pressing ahead with his lawsuit against PGA National Resort, site of this week’s Honda Classic, following an incident at the 2007 event when a fan snapped a photo of Daly during his backswing which led to an injury. He’s asking for $15,000 in damages, or 150 FedEx Cup points, whichever is easier.

Can’t help but think that maybe more tournaments would be willing to give the big man a freebie, but he’d have to sign a “hold harmless” clause along with his scorecard after each round.

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LPGA schedule features 34 events, record purse

By Randall MellDecember 13, 2017, 2:02 pm

The LPGA schedule will once again feature 34 events next year with a record $68.75 million in total purses, the tour announced on Wednesday.

While three events are gone from the 2018 schedule, three new events have been added, with two of those on the West Coast and one in mainland China.

The season will again start with the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic on Paradise Island (Jan. 25-28) and end with the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Fla., (Nov. 15-18).

The LPGA played for $65 million in total prize money in 2017.

An expanded West Coast swing in the front half of the schedule will now include the HUGEL-JTBC Championship in the Los Angeles area April 19-22. The site will be announced at a later date.

The tour will then make a return to San Francisco’s Lake Merced Golf Club the following week, in a new event sponsored by L&P Cosmetics, a Korean skincare company. Both new West Coast tournaments will be full-field events.

The tour’s third new event will be played in Shanghai Oct. 18-21 as part of the fall Asian swing. The title sponsor and golf course will be announced at a later date.

“Perhaps the most important aspect of our schedule is the consistency — continuing to deliver strong playing opportunities both in North America and around the world, while growing overall purse levels every year,” LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said in a statement. “There is simply no better [women’s] tour opportunity in the world, when it comes to purses, global TV coverage or strength of field. It’s an exciting time in women’s golf, with the best players from every corner of the globe competing against each other in virtually every event.”

While the Evian Championship will again be played in September next year, the tour confirmed its plans to move its fifth major to the summer in 2019, to be part of a European swing, with the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open and the Ricoh Women’s British Open.

The Manulife LPGA Classic and the Lorena Ochoa Invitational are not returning to the schedule next year. Also, the McKayson New Zealand Women’s Open will not be played next year as it prepares to move to the front of the 2019 schedule, to be paired with the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.

The U.S. Women’s Open will make its new place earlier in the summer, a permanent move in the tour’s scheduling. It will be played May 31-June 3 at Shoal Creek Golf Club outside Birmingham, Ala. The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship (June 28-July 1) will be played at Kemper Lakes Golf Club on the north side of Chicago and the Ricoh Women’s British Open (Aug. 2-5) will be played at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in England.

For the first time since its inception in 2014, the UL International Crown team event is going overseas, with the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Incheon, South Korea, scheduled to host the event Oct. 4-7. The KEB Hana Bank Championship will be played in South Korean the following week.

Here is the LPGA's schedule for 2018:

Jan. 25-28: Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic; Paradise Island, Bahamas; Purse: $1.4 million

Feb. 15-18: ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open; Adelaide, Australia; Purse: $1.3 million

Feb. 21-24: Honda LPGA Thailand; Chonburi, Thailand; Purse: $1.6 million

March 1-4: HSBC Women's World Championship; Singapore; Purse: $1.5 million

March 15-18: Bank of Hope Founders Cup; Phoenix, Arizona; Purse: $1.5 million

March 22-25: Kia Classic; Carlsbad, California; Purse: $1.8 million

March 29 - April 1: ANA Inspiration; Rancho Mirage, California; Purse: $2.8 million

April 11-14: LOTTE Championship; Kapolei, Oahu, Hawaii; Purse: $2 million

April 19-22: HUGEL-JTBC Championship; Greater Los Angeles, California; Purse: $1.5 million

April 26-29: Name to be Announced; San Francisco, California; Purse: $1.5 million

May 3-6: Volunteers of America LPGA Texas Classic; The Colony, Texas; Purse: $1.3 million

May 17-20: Kingsmill Championship; Williamsburg, Virginia; Purse: $1.3 million

May 24-27: LPGA Volvik Championship; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Purse: $1.3 million

May 31 - June 3: U.S. Women's Open Championship; Shoal Creek, Alabama; Purse: $5 million

June 8-10: ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer; Galloway, New Jersey; Purse: $1.75 million

June 14-17: Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Purse: $2 million

June 22-24: Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G; Rogers, Arkansas; Purse: $2 million

June 28 - July 1: KPMG Women's PGA Championship; Kildeer, Illinois; Purse: $3.65 million

July 5-8: Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic; Oneida, Wisconsin; Purse: $2 million

July 12-15: Marathon Classic presented by Owens-Corning and O-I; Sylvania, Ohio; Purse: $1.6 million

July 26-29: Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open; East Lothian, Scotland; Purse: $1.5 million

Aug. 2-5: Ricoh Women's British Open; Lancashire, England; Purse: $3.25 million

Aug. 16-19: Indy Women in Tech Championship presented by Guggenheim; Indianapolis, Indiana; Purse: $2 million

Aug. 23-26: CP Women's Open; Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada; Purse: $2.25 million

Aug. 30 - Sept. 2: Cambia Portland Classic; Portland, Oregon; Purse: $1.3 million

Sept. 13-16: The Evian Championship; Evian-les-Bains, France; Purse: $3.85 million

Sept. 27-30: Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Purse: $1.8 million

Oct. 4-7: UL International Crown; Incheon, Korea; Purse: $1.6 million

Oct. 11-14: LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship; Incheon, Korea; Purse: $2 million

Oct. 18-21: Name to be Announced; Shanghai, China; Purse: $2.1 million

Oct. 25-28: Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship; New Taipei City, Chinese Taipei; Purse: $2.2 million

Nov. 2-4: TOTO Japan Classic; Shiga, Japan; Purse: $1.5 million

Nov. 7-10: Blue Bay LPGA; Hainan Island, China; Purse: $2.1 million

Nov. 15-18: CME Group Tour Championship; Naples, Florida; Purse: $2.5 million

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 4, Jordan Spieth

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 13, 2017, 1:00 pm

Dismissed because he’s supposedly too short off the tee, or not accurate enough with his irons, or just a streaky putter, Jordan Spieth is almost never the answer to the question of which top player, when he’s at his best, would win in a head-to-head match.

And yet here he is, at the age of 24, with 11 career wins and three majors, on a pace that compares favorably with the giants of the game. He might not possess the firepower of Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, but since he burst onto the PGA Tour in 2013 he has all that matters – a better résumé.

Spieth took the next step in his development this year by becoming the Tour’s best iron player – and its most mentally tough.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Just a great putter? Oh, puhleeze: He won three times despite putting statistics (42nd) that were his worst since his rookie year. Instead, he led the Tour in strokes gained-approach the green and this summer showed the discipline, golf IQ and bounce-back ability that makes him such a unique talent. 

Even with his putter misbehaving, Spieth closed out the Travelers Championship by holing a bunker shot in the playoff, then, in perhaps an even bigger surprise, perfectly executed the player-caddie celebration, chest-bumping caddie Michael Greller. A few weeks later, sublime iron play carried him into the lead at Royal Birkdale, his first in a major since his epic collapse at the 2016 Masters.

Once again his trusty putter betrayed him, and by the time he arrived on the 13th tee, he was tied with Matt Kuchar. What happened next was the stuff of legend – a lengthy ruling, gutsy up-and-down, stuffed tee shot and go-get-that putt – that lifted Spieth to his third major title.

Though he couldn’t complete the career Grand Slam at the PGA, he’ll likely have, oh, another two decades to join golf’s most exclusive club.

In the barroom debate of best vs. best, you can take the guys with the flair, with the booming tee shots and the sky-high irons. Spieth will just take the trophies.

THE MAJORS

Masters Tournament: Return to the 12th; faltering on Sunday (T-11)

Spieth pars 12, but makes quad on 15

Spieth takes another gut punch, but still standing

Article: Spieth splashes to worst Masters finish

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U.S. Open: 1 over usually good ... not at Erin Hills (T-35)

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The Open: Unforgettable finish leads to major win No. 3 (1st)

Spieth survives confusing ordeal on 13

Photos: Spieth's incredible journey on 13

Take it, it's yours: Spieth gets claret jug

Chamblee: Spieth doesn't have 'it' - 'he has it all'

Article: Spieth silences his doubters - even himself

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PGA Championship: Career Grand Slam bid comes up well short (T-28)

Article: Spieth accepts that Grand Slam is off the table


TWO REGULAR TOUR WINS

AT&T Pebble Beach

Article: Spieth rising from 'valley' after Pebble Beach win

Travelers Championship

Spieith wins dramatic Travelers in playoff

Watch: Spieth holes bunker shot, goes nuts


FUN OUTSIDE OF TOUR LIFE


PHOTO GALLERIES

Photos: Jordan Spieth and Annie Verret

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Photos: Jordan Spieth through the years

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 13, 2017, 12:30 pm
Getty Images

Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

"I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

"I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

"Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."