Cut Line: A good walk spoiled

By Rex HoggardFebruary 8, 2013, 5:23 am

Remember when the old Crosby Clambake was all about clowning celebs and idyllic images of Stillwater Cove? The serenity that is the Monterey Peninsula was overshadowed this week by the pall of deer-antler spray, a sponsor exemption snafu and an anchoring reality that is starting to set in on the Champions Tour.

Catch a moonbeam, everybody.

Made Cut

Class act. Most years a Tour or Q-School grad having a good West Coast is little more than water-cooler talk, but the condensed realities of this year’s schedule have made a quick start stop-the-presses compelling.

Because the Tour transitions to a split-calendar schedule this year – a net loss of what were the Fall Series events to the start of the 2013-14 calendar compounded by the move of the Mayakoba Golf Classic, normally played opposite the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, from the West Coast swing to the fall – this week’s AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am is likely the last chance for those graduates to earn FedEx Cup points before the first reshuffle on Feb. 25.

In Cliffs Notes form, a bad reshuffle means few, if any, starts in Florida.

All of this makes this week’s start at Pebble Beach that much more important for the likes of Steve LeBrun and Luke List, who have dropped the most, 36 and 33 spots respectively, on the reshuffle points list through the Waste Management Phoenix Open. So far the big winners in the reshuffle shuffle are Nicholas Thompson, up 33 spots on the list, Doug LaBelle (26) and Scott Langley (25).  

Of course the good news for LeBrun, List & Co. is they do get to play Pebble Beach, they’re just not sure when they’ll get to play again on Tour.

Clambake kudos. With apologies to Harbour Town and Torrey Pines, this week’s lineup for the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am is the best walk on the PGA Tour (non-April in Augusta edition).

That the walk only got better in 2010 when officials added the Monterey Peninsula course to the rotation almost gives the event an embarrassment of riches. Almost.

Now if only officials can swap out Spyglass Hills for venerable Cypress Point, which last hosted the Clambake in 1990, we could call it a cool trifecta and players would start complaining that five hour-plus pro-am rounds are too short.

Tweet of the week: @KipHenley (Brian Gay’s caddie) “When the weather works out there is not a better place on earth to be an outdoor butler than Pebble.”

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Anchors away. Less than a month away from the close of the 90-day comment period on the pending ban on anchored strokes, the Champions Tour held a meeting of its Players Advisory Council on Thursday in south Florida with great interest.

Of particular concern for the over-50 circuit is the long putters use by some of its most marketable players, including Fred Couples and Bernhard Langer, and what impact the possible ban could have on the senior tour’s bottom line.

“I want to talk to Fred and Bernhard and size up if they are going to find another way (to putt) or whether they are going to pack up their tents and go home,” said John Cook, one of four player directors on the Champions Tour Policy Board.

Cut Line caught up with Langer on Thursday and discovered Cook may not like the German’s answer: “I would certainly try (to putt) another way,” Langer said. “It depends on what happens and we’re still in the question phase, but if I don’t enjoy the game anymore than I would stop playing.”

For those scoring at home that would be a vote frighteningly close to “pack up their tents and go home.”

Missed Cut

Swat-ed. Give S.W.A.T.S. founder Mitch Ross credit for going on John Maginnes’ show on Sirus/XM Radio this week, but the man behind Sports with Alternatives to Steroids, the company that produces the deer-antler spray that has landed Vijay Singh in the anti-doping penalty box, did little to help his cause during the 30-minute Q&A.

“Your body produces IGF-1 every day, it’s in food – meat and milk. You cannot ban a natural occurring substance,” Ross said. “(Deer) antler velvet is not on any banned substance list, NFL, baseball, but it was on the (PGA Tour green sheet, Aug. 2011). I didn’t know this and neither did Vijay.”

Although the body does produce IGF-1, the list of banned substances is filled with naturally occurring items – testosterone being the easiest example – and Doug Barron, the only player ever suspended under the Tour’s anti-doping policy, can attest to its legality when the science doesn’t match the scrutiny.

It’s also worth pointing out that IGF-1, which is described as a growth factor, like human growth hormone, has been on the Tour’s list of banned substances since testing began in 2008 and the 2011 green sheet item was entitled “anti-doping warning.”

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, not their own facts.

Pebble Beach head fake. Anyone who has tried to dissect the Tour player’s handbook can attest to how convoluted and confusing it can be. By comparison, the U.S. tax code is “Green eggs and ham” simple. But the small print that lured Billy Hurley to the Monterey Peninsula only to discover that he’d been pencil whipped qualifies as a legitimate snafu.

Hurley tweeted earlier this week that he had received an exemption into the Pro-Am, but when he arrived at Pebble Beach he learned that the exemption in question was for players inside the top 150 on last year’s money list. Hurley is playing this season based on finishing inside the top 150 in FedEx Cup points but was 151st in earnings.

Tournament officials paid Hurley’s travel cost and, let’s be honest, a few days on the Monterey Peninsula is better than a poke in the eye, but the episode pointed out how confusing the Tour’s regulations can be. Even for tournament directors.

Getty Images

Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome

By Grill Room TeamDecember 18, 2017, 3:22 pm

Sergio and Angela Garcia's super 2017 keeps getting more ... Super ... Dome. (+1 awful blog lede.)

The couple started the year with Sergio's win at the Masters, then embarked on a whirlwind green jacket media tour, then kicked off El Clasico, then attended Wimbledon, then got married, then announced they were expecting their first child ...

2017 Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

And now, they're throwing each other passes on the New Orleans Saints' home turf at the Superdome.

Man, it must be so cool do that at the Silverdome. ... ... ... I'm sorry, it is the Superdome, brothers.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

Article: Thomas (64) rallies to defend CIMB title

Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double

Article: Thomas refuses to let disastrous hole derail TOC win

Article: Worst week ever ends with another title at Sony Open

Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

Take a look: Thomas’ scorecard from his amazing 59

Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

Article: Thomas sets U.S. Open record with 9-under 63

Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row

Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut

Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

Article: Thomas joins the club – the major club

Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

Article: Thomas wins the battle of buddies over Spieth

The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ

Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year

And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season

Article: Thomas caps torrid 12-month run with CJ Cup win

Photo Galleries: Best of ...

Best of: Justin Thomas and Jillian Wisniewski

Best of: Justin Thomas through the years

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.