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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Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

Masters victory

Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative

Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket

Man of the people

Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief

Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together

Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018

Departure from TaylorMade

Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'

Victory at Valderrama

Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
Getty Images

Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

Well, this is a one new one.

According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.