Cut Line Haggis Hangover
The same can’t be said for Phil Mickelson, who highlights this week’s “Cut Line” for all the wrong reasons.
St. Andrews. Not sure why the Royal & Ancient Golf Club is dragging its feet on the 2015 championship, but in the interest of saving time let’s pen the Old Course in to host the Open Championship every five years until the North Sea reclaims the storied links or man gives up the ancient game altogether.
St. Andrews is a gem, both inside and outside the ropes, and for all the wasted words over new tee boxes and narrowed fairways we didn’t hear a single frat brother dub the Old Course too easy.
One Scottish scribe wrote it best: if technology ever deems the Old Course obsolete the powers that be have failed miserably.
Hall of Fame ceremony. On Thursday, the World Golf Hall of Fame announced it will begin holding its annual induction ceremony in May to coincide with The Players Championship, and on Friday interest in the event increased by 50 percent, or something like that.
Mired for years in a sleepy fall date, the ceremony was something of an afterthought as the golf season was coming to a close. The move to Players week may not immediately transform the event into Cooperstown, but on the coattails of the Tour’s marquee event it has a fighting chance.
Now on to more pressing matters, like a convoluted selection process that takes a degree from MIT, or a Tour lawyer, to understand.
Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)
Louis Oosthuizen. No, we’re not taking a shot at the South African for sucking every ounce of cold, wet air out the Open Championship. The performance, if not the name, was historic.
The Big Oosy lands on the “MDF” list for his plan to dump longtime caddie Zack Rasego following the Open Championship. When a player gets sideways it is common practice to change putters, caddies, managers, wives, whatever it takes to right the ship. But after seven years, Rasego, who grew up caddying in Sun City, South Africa, for the likes of Gary Player, deserved better.
Predictably, in the wake of Oosthuizen’s Open walk-over Rasego remains employed, but there’s always next week.
Tiger Woods. A PGA Tour player once boasted, “If I fell off my wallet I’d break my arm.” Which prompted the question: How many bones would Woods break if he tumbled off his fortune?
The answer, at least in the short term, is $22 million, the amount Sports Illustrated estimated the world No. 1 is losing in endorsements in 2010. According to the report, Woods’ total earnings this year will be more than $90 million, down 30 percent from nearly $128 million two years ago.
That still places Woods first on the SI list of highest-earning American athletes, with Mickelson No. 2 with $62 million in earnings. That’s ahead of LeBron James, Alex Rodriguez and Kobe Bryant. Explain to us again how golf is a niche sport?
Designated tournament haters. Paul Casey’s tie for third at the Open Championship was encouraging and his post-final round assessment of his game and the golf course was honest and unfiltered, but more importantly the Englishman proved how far a little name recognition can go when he bolted Scotland for Canada.
Casey tops a marquee at the Canadian Open that is, by any measure, wanting and is example No. 256 of how a “designated tournament” rule could help tournaments in need.
The proposal, which is likely to be given final approval in the next few weeks, has been dubbed the “Tiger and Phil Rule” in some circles, but that misses the point. Just ask the folks in Canada, or Casey.
Tweet of the week: @stewartcink “Just finished watching son Connor play in a tournament. A 12 (-year-old) shot 66. I want to retire today.”
Turning Stone executive. By almost every measure, the Turning Stone Championship is a hidden gem among players, who rave about the golf course and the resort’s amenities, but earlier this week the event made an unsightly bogey.
Ray Halbritter, Turning Stone CEO and the event’s founder, announced he will play the tournament, which will be held opposite the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational the first week of August, on a sponsor exemption, proudly pointing out he has dropped his handicap from about a 16 to a 2.
“I had a conversation with the people in charge, myself, and I got lucky and got approved to play,” mocked Halbritter.
Mark Cuban and Jerry Jones write big checks as well, but that doesn’t give them, or Halbritter, the right to “play” professional athlete for a day. If Halbritter wants a taste of the big leagues, Q-School is right around the corner.
Phil Mickelson. Lefty teased us with an early-week press conference that bordered on the effusive, suggesting that this was finally the Open Championship where he solved the links riddle.
Seventy-two holes and 289 strokes later, we all had the look of jilted Chicago Cubs fans. For the record, Mickelson has now played 15 Open Championships with just a single top-10 finish, an inexplicable hole in what is otherwise a Hall of Fame resume.
Maybe Lefty wants it too much, or maybe links golf asks a thoughtful man one too many questions, either way it adds up to one of golf’s most unthinkable titles – Best Player Never to Win an Open Championship.
Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome
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 ...
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
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.
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
Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double
Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open
Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open
Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row
Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow
Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship
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
Photo Galleries: Best of ...
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com counted down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below. And click here for the full collection of articles.
Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge
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.