Cut Line: The long and short of it

By Rex HoggardFebruary 15, 2013, 10:29 pm

From Riviera’s short 10th hole and what many see as a shortsighted decision by the U.S. Golf Association to dump the Public Links championships, to Brandt Snedeker’s long view regarding preventive medicine and even longer delays at the Olympic golf course in Brazil, Cut Line covers the extremes of what was a busy news week.

Made Cut

Short and sweet. Riviera Country Club’s 10th hole is not the best 315 yards in the game but it is the most thought-provoking short par 4 on the play-for-pay circuit. And that’s even more evident in the wake of player push-back this week that suggests the 10th has slowly evolved from an easy “3” to a hard “4.”

“It’s not as fun because it's more of a struggle,” Fred Couples said on Thursday after an opening 68 at the Northern Trust Open.

A firmer, less-forgiving putting surface combined with the addition of a closely mown chipping area in recent years has certainly made the 10th more difficult but it’s impossible for armchair architects not to marvel at the short simplicity of the par 4.

Consider that the last five champions at the Riv are a combined 10 under par on the 10th and the hole ranked 360th out of 526 par 4s on Tour last year. In short, short doesn’t mean easy.

Or put another way, after watching his man make a mess of the 10th on Thursday, Brian Gay’s caddie Kip Henley said it best when he told The Associated Press: “This has got to be one of the top five holes on Tour. Maybe the best. And I'm saying that after my man made triple (bogey).”

The long view. For those who struggle to understand how Brandt Snedeker was able to finish second, second and first on his way to the DL with a sore rib consider the rocky rehab road the second-highest ranked American has been on in recent years.

In 2010 and 2011 Snedeker’s offseason featured major hip surgery and he missed the better part of three months last year with a cracked rib. So when he tweaked his rib earlier this season at the Humana Challenge there was concern. When the ailment resurfaced last week at Pebble Beach that concern lurched into preventive thinking.

“The key is to figure out A) what’s wrong, and B) what’s causing (the pain),” said Snedeker’s swing coach Todd Anderson. “He wants to be sharp and ready for Augusta.”

In this case Snedeker correctly followed the old axiom, no one has ever come back too late from an injury.

Tweet of the week: @BoVanPelt “On the first tee (Thursday) at Riviera my caddie mentions Ben Hogan. I look up and a hawk starts circling the tee. Pretty cool sight.”

Who said Tour pros are insular? Of course, we’re not sure the Hawk would appreciate the sentimentality.


Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Gone baby gone. Although the lines have certainly been blurred in recent years between a private and public player, news this week that the U.S. Golf Association will retire the U.S. Amateur Public Links and Women’s Public Links after the 2014 championships stirred mixed emotions.

Full disclosure, Cut Line is written most Fridays from a rough-around-the-edges central Florida municipal golf course before a nine-hole round with a bona fide group of “publinks” players that includes a retired New York City police officer, a former OB/GYN and an unemployed mini-tour hopeful (fill in your own punch lines).

Maybe it was time to retire the Publinks, and the addition of a men’s and women’s four-ball championship is intriguing, but the romantic concept of a true public champion earning an invitation to the Masters each year will be missed. Complicating the issue was the glossed-over announcement that left an empty feeling where nostalgia should have been.

“I do think they’ve handled the anchoring, in terms of communicating, so beautifully,” former USGA executive director David Fay said on Thursday’s 'Morning Drive.'

“The Publinks almost had that feeling of trying to sneak one by you. You had the four-ball, which is great, but I feel when you have two newsworthy items they should be treated separately. Otherwise people feel you are trying to hide something.”

The hardest part now is hiding the news from the former NYC cop. He isn’t going to take this well.


Missed Cut

When less is less. Although not a single member of the Q-School/Web.com Tour category earned a spot in this week’s field in Los Angeles via their status (a few are playing Riviera via sponsor exemptions and top-10 finishes last week at Pebble Beach) that is not out of the ordinary.

“Looking back at it, it appears it is very rare (for the Q-School class not to get into a 144-player field). It is tough on the West Coast, but that happens. You have certain events, like the Northern Trust Open, where you have to assume you won’t get in,” Tyler Dennis, the Tour’s vice president of competition, told Cut Line.

While the tight field in Los Angeles can’t be blamed on this year’s shortened season as the Tour transitions to a split-calendar season later this fall, not having the extra start next week because of the move of the Mayakoba Golf Classic to the 2013-14 lineup will have an impact.

The mathematical truth for this year’s Q-School/Web.com Tour graduates is they may be done playing on Tour for a few weeks.

Blame it on Rio. With apologies to the wrestling world, which turned its ire toward golf this week for being nixed out of the Olympics, golf has its own issues as we inch toward the 2016 Games.

The International Golf Foundation voiced concerns this week that construction at the Olympic course has not begun, although a spokesman for the Rio Games said everything was still on schedule for construction to start on the Gil Hanse design in April.

That’s great, but wasn’t construction supposed to begin last October?

Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.

Tributes pour in for legendary caddie Sheridan

By Randall MellNovember 23, 2017, 2:54 pm

Tributes are pouring in as golf celebrates the life of Greg Sheridan after receiving news of his passing.

Sheridan, a long-time LPGA caddie who worked for some of the game’s all-time greats, including Kathy Whitworth and Beth Daniel, died Wednesday in Indian Rocks Beach, Fla., at 63. He was diagnosed in July 2016 with brain and lung cancer.

Sheridan worked the last dozen years or so with Natalie Gulbis, who expressed her grief in an Instagram post on Wednesday:

“Greg…I miss you so much already and it hasn’t even been a day. 15+ seasons traveling the world you carried me & my bag through the highs and lows of golf and life. You were so much more than my teammate on the course…Thank you.”

Sheridan was on Whitworth’s bag for the last of her LPGA-record 88 titles.

“When I first came on tour, I would try to find out how many times Greg won,” Gulbis told Golfweek. “It’s a crazy number, like 50.”

Matthew Galloway, a caddie and friend to Sheridan, summed up Sheridan’s impressive reach after caddying with him one year at the LPGA Founders Cup, where the game’s pioneers are honored.

“Best Greg story,” Galloway tweeted on Thanksgiving morning, “coming up 18 at PHX all the founders were in their chairs. Greg goes, `Yep, caddied for her, her and her.’ Legend.”

In a first-person column for Golf Magazine last year, Gulbis focused on Sheridan while writing about the special bond between players and caddies. She wrote that she won the “looper lottery” when she first hired Sheridan in ’04.

“Greg and I have traveled the world, and today he is like family,” Gulbis wrote. “Sometimes, he’s a psychologist. Last year, my mom got sick and it was a distraction, but he was great. When I used to have boyfriend issues and breakup issues, he was my confidant. In a world where caddies sometimes spill secrets, Greg has kept a respectful silence, and I can’t thank him enough for that. He’s an extension of me.”

Four months after Gulbis wrote the column, Sheridan was diagnosed with cancer.

“The LPGA family is saddened to hear of the loss of long-time tour caddie, Greg Sheridan,” the LPGA tweeted. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and players he walked with down the fairways. #RIP.”

Dean Herden was among the legion of caddies saddened by the news.

“Greg was a great guy who I respected a lot and taught me some great things over the years,” Herden texted to GolfChannel.com.

Here are some of heartfelt messages that are rolling across Twitter:

Retired LPGA great Annika Sorenstam:

LPGA commissioner Mike Whan in a retweet of Gulbis:

Golf Channel reporter and former tour player Jerry Foltz:

Christina Kim:

LPGA caddie Shaun Clews:

LPGA caddie Jonny Scott:

LPGA caddie Kevin Casas:

LPGA pro Jennie Lee:

Fitzpatrick one back in 2018 Euro Tour opener

By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 1:37 pm

HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia had six birdies and a bogey Thursday for a 5-under 65 and a one-stroke lead at the Hong Kong Open, the first event of the 2018 European Tour season.

Playing in sunny but breezy conditions at the Hong Kong Golf Club, the greens had the players struggling to gauge the approach.

''Very tough conditions today,'' Chawrasia said. ''It's very firm greens, to be honest. I'm just trying to hit the second shot on the green and trying to make it like a two-putt.''


Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open


Shubhankar Sharma and Matthew Fitzpatrick (both 66) were one shot behind, while seven others were tied for fourth a further stroke behind.

''Hit it great tee to green,'' Fitzpatrick said. ''I think I had like seven or eight chances inside 15 feet, and on a day like today when it's so windy and such a tough golf course, with how tight it is, yeah, it was a good day.''

Justin Rose, who won the title in 2015, shot was 2 under with five birdies and three bogeys.

''I think the course played a couple shots harder than it typically does,'' Rose said. ''I like this course. I think it offers plenty of birdie opportunities.''

Masters champion Sergio GarciaRafa Cabrera Bello and defending champion Sam Brazel (69) were in a group of 16 at 1 under.

Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open

By Jason CrookNovember 23, 2017, 6:50 am

The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:

Leaderboard: Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

What it means: Spieth has won this event three of the last four years, including last year, but he got off to a rocky start on Thursday. Playing in the windy afternoon wave, the world No. 2 bogeyed his first two holes but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. It was more of the same the rest of the way as the 24-year-old carded three more bogeys and four birdies, getting into the clubhouse with a 1-under 70. While it certainly wasn't the start he was hoping for, Spieth didn't shoot himself out of the tournament with 54 holes left to play, he has plenty of time to claw his way up the leaderboard.


Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


Round of the day: With Round 1 in the books, the solo leader, Davis, is the easy pick here. The 22-year-old Aussie who turned pro last year, came out of the gates on fire, birdieing six of his first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4 through 7. He did drop a shot on the ninth hole to go out in 30 but rebounded with three more birdies on the back to card a 8-under 63. Davis, who was born in Sydney and played this year on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada. He will attempt to get his Web.com Tour card next month during qualifying in Arizona.

Best of the rest: Making his first start in his home country in four years, Day started on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club and made four birdies to one bogey on the back side before adding four more circles after making the turn. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, he also added an ugly double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole and had to settle for a 5-under 66, good enough to sit T-3. Day, who has dropped to No. 12 in the world rankings, is looking for his first win on any tour since the 2016 Players Championship.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Can the upstart 22-year-old Davis hold off the star power chasing him or will he fold to the pressure of major champions in his rearview mirror? Day (afternoon) and Spieth (morning) are once again on opposite ends of the draw on Friday as they try to improve their position before the weekend.

Shot of the day: It’s tough to beat an ace in this category, and we had one of those on Thursday from Australian Brad Shilton. Shilton’s hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole came with a special prize, a $16k watch.

Quote of the day: “Just two bad holes. Pretty much just two bad swings for the day,” – Day, after his 66 on Thursday.