Cut Line: Love and vice in the news

By Rex HoggardNovember 20, 2015, 10:22 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Davis Love III dominates this week’s edition of Cut Line, from his decision to heed the advice of many and give his son a spot in the RSM Classic, to his choice of vice captains for next year’s Ryder Cup, the host with the most had an eventful end to the PGA Tour year.

Made Cut

Love-fest. Let it be known this was not Love’s idea. The truth is he had to be convinced by his brother, Mark, and RSM Classic tournament director Scott Reid that it was the right time to give his son, Dru, a sponsor exemption into the field at Sea Island Resort.

As Love explained, “I was nervous he would get off to a bad start and have a bad day because he’s volatile, he can shoot 62 or 82, like his dad.”

Dru Love, a junior at the University of Alabama, opened with an even-par 70 to set up a surreal DL3 vs. DL4 showdown on Friday.

“I hope he beats me, because I want to play well and if he beats me he’s playing even better,” the elder Love said Thursday.

Dru Love was poised to win the family match when he moved to 3 under for the week through 11 holes on Friday, but he struggled coming in for a 76.

The bad news: Dru missed the cut (and lost the duo’s father/son match). The good news: “He’ll learn from it,” Davis Love said.

Bridging the transatlantic gap. Brian Davis’ mind began moving quickly as he learned the news this week that the European Tour had changed its membership requirements.

Instead of 13 starts (including the majors and World Golf Championships) to maintain membership in Europe, the circuit and new chief executive Keith Pelley reduced that number to five events (excluding the majors and World Golf Championships), essentially giving players outside the top 50 in the world ranking a realistic chance of juggling status in the United States and Europe.

“They are trying to make it work. The golfing landscape has changed and you have to change with the times,” said England’s Davis, who last played a full season in Europe in 2004. “It definitely changes my way of thinking because the last few years I’ve struggled and then you flip a switch and play well, you look to play another tour again.”

Whether the move leads to more players taking up membership on both tours remains to be seen, but it already has players thinking about it and that’s a start.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Vice and vices. The first shot of the 2016 Ryder Cup is still more than 10 months away, but that didn’t stop U.S. captain Davis Love III from padding his sideline staff.

On Wednesday, Love named Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker vice captains for next year’s matches. Even Paul McGinley, the European captain who took the U.S. side to the cleaners in 2014, said the news was a “a bit strange.”

Captain America explained that the preemptive strike is all part of a push to be proactive that was born from the Ryder Cup task force, and if the early signings produce a U.S. victory, let’s make it a tradition.

The truly odd part of the announcement, however, was the inclusion of Woods, who made it clear he wants to play and be vice captain at Hazeltine National.

“It's great that he wants to help the U.S. team in any way that he can, and if that's not in a playing capacity, then as a vice captain. Just sort of makes me think what really his health is like and how he feels like he's going to come back from that,” Rory McIlroy said. “I'd rather see him on the course at Hazeltine but if not, at least he'll be there and it will be a good addition for them.”

Although this seems well short of Woods transitioning into a ceremonial golfer role, it does appear the soon-to-be 40-year-old is settling into a new chapter in his career.

Tweet of the week: @TheSergioGarcia “I think I’ve missed this tournament twice in 17 years so give me a break and take a chill pill my friend.”

El Nino was taking aim at social media criticism of his decision to skip the European Tour’s season finale in Dubai this week, but the entire narrative seems askew.

The independent contractors make decisions on when and where to play based on any number of reasons – as evidenced by Garcia’s choice to skip the first two FedEx Cup playoff events last season – but ultimately it’s up to the player to do what’s best for him, not for an individual tournament.

Missed Cut

Uneven lies. The Tour informed players earlier this fall that because of a scheduling anomaly this week’s RSM Classic would be played at the same time as the TaylorMade Pebble Beach Invitational, a non-sanctioned event popular among Tour players.

Players were informed via a memo that: “Keeping with the Tour’s longstanding policy which prohibits conflicting event releases for events held in North America we will not be granting releases to players who are eligible for the [RSM Classic].

Although the move was designed to protect the field at Sea Island Resort, the policy has created a unique double standard for players participating in overseas events this week.

Both Patrick Reed (DP World Tour Championship) and Jimmy Walker (Dunlop Phoenix on the Japan Golf Tour) are playing competing events this week, but because the Tour’s policy stipulates the releases will not be granted to play “North America” events those who normally play the Pebble Beach stop did not have that luxury.

“I love playing the Pebble event; it’s one of my favorite tournaments but I couldn’t. But the guys in Europe and [Japan] can go do their thing,” said one player in this week’s field at the RSM Classic. “It’s weird.”

Weird and strangely wrong.

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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.