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.

Getty Images

Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

Getty Images

Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'

President at the Presidents Cup

Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump

Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

Cart on the green

Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green

Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open

Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National

Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

Trump golf properties


Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers

Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up

Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm