Cut Line: Haste management

By Rex HoggardFebruary 3, 2012, 11:50 pm

In honor of the toughest – and most creative – crowd in golf at this week’s Waste Management Phoenix Open, your correspondent takes a hard line on a collective meltdown Down Under, a letdown in logic at the Qatar Masters and an inexplicably prolonged countdown for an Olympic venue.

Made Cut

Sweet 16th. In a game mired in a monotonous march of stroke-play events and declining participation, TPC Scottsdale’s 16th hole is golf’s home run derby and slam dunk contest all rolled into a singularly raucous package.

Most players admit they wouldn’t want a steady diet of party holes like Scottsdale’s 16th each week, but as a one-off it is largely embraced.

“It's probably my favorite par 3 on Tour,” Rickie Fowler said. “You walk in, it's a full stadium, and a lot of times come Friday, Saturday, you're almost playing it a little bit shorter just because when you get in there you get pumped up a bit and the ball seems to go a little bit further.”

Golf’s version of the WWE may not be worth replicating, but for one week a year it’s worth every cheer and jeer.

Arron Oberholser. The last time AO hit a shot that counted on the PGA Tour George W. Bush was in the White House and Tiger Woods was still firmly planted atop golf’s hierarchy.

Following endless hours of rehabilitation and multiple hand and hip surgeries one of the circuit’s most affable players returned to the fold this week for the Waste Management Phoenix Open. It is his first Tour start since the 2009 Open.

The Scottsdale resident turned 37 on Thursday and was serenaded by the boisterous masses on the 16th tee, missed the green with his tee shot, was soundly booed and signed for an opening 72.

“Tough crowd indeed,” Oberholser tweeted. “But so much fun. (No.) 16 is the coolest hole in pro golf.”

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Blame it on Rio. Reason No. 987 why golf may have been better off without a seat at the Olympic table: the selection of an architectural team to design and build the host course for the 2016 Games has been pushed back until March.

The eight finalists for the design bid expected the announcement to be made Friday but the selection committee, which is of unknown size and makeup, is delaying the news until the International Olympic Committee is in Brazil next month.

This move further delays what has been an exceedingly drawn-out process, even by golf standards, and will limit the amount of time the winning bid will have to build an appropriate venue. This may come as a surprise to the IOC, but designing golf courses is a tad more complicated than simply growing grass.

Pro Bono work. Give Phil Mickelson credit for wanting to upgrade Torrey Pines’ North course and serious style points for offering his architectural services free of charge, but Lefty set off alarms with his vision of a nip/tucked North last week.

“Kind of a rough canyon look, if you will, where I’m going to make the hard holes harder, but I’m going to make the easier holes easier,” said San Diego native Mickelson.

We’ve heard this before, back in 2001 when Rees Jones dutifully reworked the South course into shape for the 2008 U.S. Open. The retooled South delivered one of the most exciting championships in modern history by creating a demanding layout that quickly fell out of favor with the locals, including Mickelson who has become one of the most outspoken critics of Jones.

Lefty’s heart and handiwork are in the right place; we just hope he doesn’t inadvertently spoil one of the most soulful walks in all of golf.

Missed Cut

Blunder Down Under. These are the facts. Annie Choi, Corie Hou and Inhong Lim teed off Thursday at the Australian Ladies Masters with what can only be described as a loose understanding of the local rules, signed for rounds of 70, 81 and 80, respectively, and were rounded up in what must be the first triple disqualification in the history of the game.

The threesome was disqualified after playing one hole of their second round for misinterpreting a local ruling on Day 1 that allowed preferred lies on fairways but not in the rough.

Accidents and misunderstandings happen – see Johnson, Dustin, 2010 PGA Championship – but this seems a tad extreme.

Tweet of the week: @StewartCink “I’m not injured, except for [a] slightly bruised ego.” The former British Open champion sent fans and media types scurrying for information after signing for an opening-round 83 in Scottsdale. You have to love that kind of honesty in 140 characters or less.

European Tour. It is the enablers, not the enabled, that have missed the mark when it comes to John Daly.

After Daly played his own version of wash, rinse, repeat late last year at the Australian Open he should have become persona non grata anywhere players are paid to play the game.

Instead officials at this week’s Qatar Masters, with what must have been tacit approval by the European Tour, decided ticket sales and exposure were more important than upholding principles and extended an invitation to Daly.

On Thursday Daly said he was “shocked” he played so well on Day 1 in Qatar. Not as shocked as Cut Line is that there seems to be no statute of limitations on second chances when it comes to “Long John.”

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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.

Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.