Cut Line Golf Meets Tabloids

By Rex HoggardDecember 12, 2009, 12:22 am

We were always told Tiger Woods would propel golf into the mainstream, we just didn’t anticipate how brazen and bold the mainstream would be. Forget missing the cut at a meaningful tournament, the collateral damage pilling up in the wake of the Woods saga has now reached beyond the gates of Isleworth and into the rank-and-file.

Remember the days when the sports pages, not page 3, were where a fan would go to get their golf fix?

Made Cut

Adam Scott. It was the worst of times and there is nothing else Charles Dickens could pen to shine up this clunker prior to last Sunday.

The Aussie missed (10) more cuts than he made on the PGA Tour in 2009 (9), had one top-10 finish, and took a beating in the press when Presidents Cup captain Greg Norman made him a dubious pick for the Harding Park matches. But his Australian Open victory on Sunday salvaged his season, if not his career

Talk about Bizarro World, Woods started the year by winning and Scott started with his picture on the cover of the tabloids. We end it with Woods on the cover and Scott in the winner’s circle. Stranger than fiction, indeed.

Rickie Fowler. “The Main Event” willed himself to a Tour card, finishing tied for 15th at Q-School, and – along with the likes of Michelle Wie, Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy – gives us a reason to look forward to 2010.

Not that the phenom needs any advice, but just in case: don’t let any swing gurus “fix” your swing or any fashion gurus “fix” your look. As Boo Weekley would say, you gotta dance with who brung ya.

Waste Management. There was a slice of good news coming out of Camp Ponte Vedra Beach last week when officials announced Waste Management would step in to title sponsor the circuit’s Phoenix stop, aka the world’s largest co-ed mixer (Insert your own house cleaning joke here).

Next up is Torrey Pines. A scenic seaside muni, good date on the schedule and a regular tee time for Woods and Phil Mickelson sell itself, right?

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Joe Baca. The California congressman pulled the plug on his push to honor Woods with the Congressional Gold Medal.

Although we certainly understand a politician’s desire to duck and cover given the current state of Woods’ world, but we have to question the original premise of the award.

The medal is the highest award Congress has to honor civilians for achievements and contributions to society, and while we applaud Woods’ charity work, to say nothing of his competitive accomplishments, we’re not sure he qualifies as an agent for social change.

Truth is, Woods has taken a page out of Michael Jordan’s playbook and largely avoided speaking out on controversial issues that don’t involve John Paramore’s stopwatch or the green complexes at Liberty National.

Democracy. Ballots for next year’s Player Advisory Council were mailed to Tour members on Friday. While some will dismiss the item as junk mail, the 16 players who will serve on next year’s PAC, and more importantly the two co-chairs, could have a significant impact on the future of the Tour.

Next year’s co-chairs will join two other player directors on the 2011 Policy Board, a group that will be faced with a new round of network television negotiations, a sluggish sponsorship environment and possibly a search for a new commissioner depending on how much longer Tim Finchem wants to occupy the big office.

Missed Cut

Tim Finchem. Speaking of the commish, Sports Business Journal reported last month that Finchem took home $5.24 million in 2008. According to the report, $1.3 million of that was salary and the rest was performance-based bonuses.

Not a bad year considering only two players on the 2008 money list (Vijay Singh and Tiger Woods) made more on the golf course.

Tabloid press. The surreal lapsed into the sad this week when a magazine reportedly quoted two Tour regulars, Charles Warren and Ben Crane, taking shots at Woods’ “transgressions.”

Both golfers have denied ever being interviewed by the magazine and the story looses even more steam considering that Crane did not attend last week’s final stage of Q-School, where the magazine claims the interviews took place.

If the tabloid press was going to go full fantasy on us they may have wanted to pick a more believable duo. Crane is one of the nicest, and spiritual, players on Tour and Warren is among our regular answers to the question: Who is your favorite Tour player?

If the tabs wanted to make us think they should have fictitiously quoted Rory Sabbatini.

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McCoy earns medalist honors at Q-School

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Tour Q-School.

McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.



Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."

Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.