Cut Line Half-empty Nelson

By Rex HoggardMay 21, 2010, 10:48 pm

There was a time when it was almost impossible to get top American players across the pond for the British Open, much like it is now to get them across Texas to play the Byron Nelson Championship, but non-stops from Newark and an old-school qualifier in the New World solved all those woes.

Now, if only we can find a tonic for what ails Soren Hansen and Doug Barron.

 

Made Cut

International Final Qualifier. On Monday, Mother Nature willing, on a dusty layout near Plano, Texas, the type of field that gives some tournament directors chills will assemble for a singularly athletic cause.

There will be no money awarded, no Waterford crystal and certainly no FedEx Cup points. The only prize – a coveted spot in the game’s oldest member-member later this summer at St. Andrews.

The British Open qualifier is a cure for all those who say today’s pros are a spoiled, self-entitled lot. Among those who will play two on Monday will be Davis Love III, K.J. Choi, Charles Howell III and, yes, even Fred Couples. It’s enough to make Old Tom Morris proud.

Tony Romo. The Dallas Cowboy signal caller took some heat for pulling out of the Byron Nelson Championship Monday qualifier because it would have conflicted with the first day of team activities. Cue Allen Iverson: We’re talking about practice? Practice?

On Thursday Romo landed a little karma, birdieing three of last four holes and surviving a four-for-three playoff to advance to sectional qualifying for next month’s U.S. Open.

Word of caution, however. If Romo thinks the New Orleans Saints’ pass rush is tough, wait until he sees what the U.S. Golf Association plans to do with Pebble Beach’s pebbled-sized greens.

Tweet of the week: @stewarwtcink: “Who says today’s young kids have no work ethic. Just saw @RickieFowlerPGA changing his own spikes.”


Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

European Solheim Cup captain Alison Nicholas. Annika Sorenstam was named a vice captain, along with Joanne Morley, last week by Nicholas for the 2011 matches.

Sorenstam is certainly qualified, having played in eight consecutive Solheim Cup matches for Europe and is the event’s all-time points winner with 24, but it seems a bit like bringing a knife to a spork fight.

One wouldn’t tab Mike Krzyzewski, who coached the U.S. basketball team to Olympic gold in 2008, to keep stats at the 2012 Games, and you don’t ask Sorenstam to shuttle players between holes and keep the sandwiches fresh. If Nicholas really needs another vice-captain, may we suggest Michael Jordan. He did a heck of a job last year at Harding Park.

Quail Hollow. Contrary to Phil Mickelson’s claim that the Charlotte gem has the Tour’s “worst-designed greens,” the club seems destined for an upgrade to the major-championship neighborhood.

In fact, we recently learned that top PGA of America set-up man Kerry Haigh was on property earlier this month when Rory McIlroy made magic. Many say Quail Hollow is the leader in the clubhouse to land either the 2017 PGA Championship, 2024 Ryder Cup or both.

Haigh did little to quiet the rumor mill when we asked whether Quail Hollow would be a better stroke-play or match-play venue?

“From what I saw it lends itself to being an exciting place for both, short par 4s, reachable par 5s, long par 4s. It’s just really a good venue,” Haigh said.

Translation: Things can get steamy in North Carolina in August, so bring some sun screen.


Missed Cut

PGA Tour. We’ve tried to make this plea before to PGA Tour HQ, but in light of a recent op-ed piece by performance-enhancing drug poster child Doug Barron it seems apropos to give it one more run.

According to Barron if his lawyers fail to reach a settlement with the Tour regarding his one-year suspension for violating the circuit’s performance-enhancing drug policy by the end of May he will proceed with his lawsuit, which, among other things, will require the Tour reveal the results of every drug test that has been administered.

“(His fellow players) know I'm not looking to start a witch hunt,” Barron wrote in the article which appeared on golf.com. “All I'm trying to do is clear my name and ensure that the Tour creates a transparent process so that all players with legitimate medical issues are treated equally.”

Neither “Cut Line” nor Barron are looking for a smoking gun, but considering the scrutiny the sport is already under perhaps it is time to talk.

Soren Hansen. There is something rotten in Denmark and, according to a Copenhagen court, it is the former European Ryder Cup player.

Hansen was found guilty of tax evasion from 2002 to 2006. He had claimed residency in tax-haven Monaco during the period, but the court thought otherwise and has fined him $1.1 million.

And Hamlet thought he was a cursed Dane.

Tour Pros. There was a time when the top players would line up to pay homage to one of the game’s best “Godfather” style. The line of those waiting to hold court with Byron Nelson was a “who’s who.” Now the tournament that carries the legend’s name, if not his aura, features a field that is more “who’s that?”

In 2006 Nelson’s tournament drew six of the top 10 players in World Ranking. Four months later, at the age of 94, Iron Byron died and on some level his tournament seems to have passed as well.

This year the Nelson has drawn just two top-20 players to “Big D” – with Hunter Mahan at No. 17 the top card. The golf course, the independent contractors will moan, is a Tour must miss and without Nelson’s personal touch the event seems as good a time as any to take a break.

Don’t like the golf course, fine. Schedule issues, of course. But for what Iron Byron did for the game, how about a little self-imposed one-and-three?

Getty Images

Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

Getty Images

Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.

Getty Images

Farmers inks 7-year extension through 2026

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:04 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance has signed a seven-year extension to serve as the title sponsor for the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, it was announced Tuesday. The deal will run through 2026.

“Farmers Insurance has been incredibly supportive of the tournament and the Century Club’s charitable initiatives since first committing to become the title sponsor in 2010,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.


Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos


“We are extremely grateful for the strong support of Farmers and its active role as title sponsor, and we are excited by the commitment Farmers has made to continue sponsorship of the Farmers Insurance Open for an additional seven years.

In partnership with Farmers, the Century Club – the tournament’s host organization – has contributed more than $20 million to deserving organizations benefiting at-risk youth since 2010. 

Getty Images

Woods impresses DeChambeau, Day on Tuesday

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 11:27 pm

SAN DIEGO – Bryson DeChambeau played with Tiger Woods for the first time Tuesday morning, and the biggest surprise was that he wasn’t overcome by nerves.

“That’s what I was concerned about,” DeChambeau said. “Am I just gonna be slapping it around off the tee? But I was able to play pretty well.”

So was Woods.

DeChambeau said that Woods looked “fantastic” as he prepares to make his first PGA Tour start in a year.

“His game looks solid. His body doesn’t hurt. He’s just like, yeah, I’m playing golf again,” DeChambeau said. “And he’s having fun, too, which is a good thing.”

Woods arrived at Torrey Pines before 7 a.m. local time Tuesday, when the temperature hadn’t yet crept above 50 degrees. He warmed up and played the back nine of Torrey Pines’ South Course with DeChambeau and Jason Day.

“He looks impressive; it was good to see,” Day told PGATour.com afterward. “You take (Farmers) last year and the Dubai tournament out, and he hasn’t really played in two years. I think the biggest thing is to not get too far ahead, or think he’s going to come back and win straight away.


Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos


“The other time he came back, I don’t think he was ready and he probably came back too soon. This time he definitely looks ready. I think his swing is really nice, he’s hitting the driver a long way and he looks like he’s got some speed, which is great.”

Woods said that his caddie, Joe LaCava, spent four days with him in South Florida last week and that he’s ready to go.

“Before the Hero I was basically given the OK probably about three or four weeks prior to the tournament, and I thought I did pretty good in that prep time,” Woods told ESPN.com, referring to his tie for ninth in the 18-man event.

“Now I’ve had a little more time to get ready for this event. I’ve played a lot more golf, and overall I feel like I’ve made some nice changes. I feel good.”

Woods is first off Torrey Pines’ North Course in Wednesday’s pro-am, scheduled for 6:40 a.m. local time.