Cut Line Lowcountry Lowdown

By Rex HoggardApril 22, 2011, 6:26 pm

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – The buzz on the Harbour Town practice tee this week was a trifecta of hot-button topics, from the proposed Nationwide Tour/Q-School makeover and the future of the Heritage to a rash  – or maybe it should be dubbed rush  – of long-putter converts Cut Line offers a Lowcountry lowdown.

Made Cut

Ken Green. The amputee figures he’s a 3 or 4 handicap these days, but the emotional leaderboard doesn’t give strokes. A year after becoming the first amputee to play a major tour, Green is back on the tee sheet for this week’s Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf event in Savannah, Ga.

Green – who lost his right leg, brother, girlfriend and dog in a June 2009 recreational vehicle accident – finished 26th out of 33 teams at last year’s Legends. Paired this week with Mark Calcavecchia he’d like to better that mark, but it doesn’t seem likely.

“Taking a step back, it’s awful. Being worse than a year ago is not easy to take. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to say I’m worse a year later. I never would have foreseen that,” Green told Golfweek magazine.

Another 26th-place finish would be a competitive victory. Just having the 51-year-old in the field is an emotional walk-over.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Long putters. Maybe it was Adam Scott at the Masters, or Brendan Steele last week in Texas. Whatever the tonic, long is no longer wrong on the PGA Tour.

On Wednesday at Harbour Town there were no fewer than a dozen players experimenting with long putters, including the likes of Ernie Els and Camilo Villegas. Whatever stigma that may have been attached to long putters is fading with every victory.

“I’m tired of getting beat every week by a guy using one of these things,” said one top-50 player on the Harbour Town putting green on Wednesday.

With comments like that, why do we get the feeling there’s a U.S. Golf Association official plowing through the 'implements” section of the Rules of Golf right now?

Nationwide Tour/Q-School proposal. For more than 2 ½ hours on Wednesday players asked, officials answered and a proposal inched its way toward reality.

If the time and tenor of this week’s Players Advisory Council meeting is any indication there are still plenty of questions to be answered in regard to the proposal to make the secondary circuit the primary avenue to a PGA Tour card. But it’s not the proposal that concerns so much as it is the process.

Both Paul Goydos, one of four player directors on the Policy Board that will ultimately vote on the new plan, and Jim Furyk – a PAC member, former player director and, by his own admission, one of the more critical voices in the room on Wednesday – dismissed initial questions about the proposal.

“I’m probably not the right guy to ask,” said Goydos. Furyk had a similar take. Both players are on the second nine of their careers and Goydos conceded he would not play the Nationwide Tour again if it came to that, yet they will help chart the Tour’s future on this topic.

Neither Furyk, who is exempt on Tour through his 45th birthday, nor Goydos will ever be impacted by the new rule. Ditto for the four player directors, whose average age is 43. So the question is, who is the right guy to ask?

Dustin Johnson/Bobby Brown split. Player-caddie break-ups are rarely enjoyable, particularly for such a high-profile pairing, but they are largely inevitable.

According to a member of 'Team Dustin' the split between Johnson and Brown had nothing to do with the slugger’s final-round missteps at last year’s U.S. Open or PGA Championship and the source said the break-up was “amicable.” In this caddies are like swing coaches, just fired or about to be fired.

Johnson begins the search for a new caddie next week in Korea, and we have one question: Where do we send our resume?

Tweet of the week: @PaulGoydosPGA “Hilton Head is a great place to continue my lousy play. I need to step up to mediocrity.”

Missed Cut

The Heritage. Whether this is the last stop for the Tour in the Lowcountry will likely not be known for months and officials were optimistic a new title sponsor could be found as this week’s event got underway. That it has come to such 11th-hour dramatics is baffling.

Since 1969 the Heritage has been a Tour staple, the perfect post-Masters tonic for stressed professionals on one of the circuit’s most revered golf courses, and yet the tournament has been on life support since Verizon stepped down last year.

Tour officials have gone on record saying that everyone involved is pulling in the same direction. We’re just not sure which direction that is.

World Golf Ranking. Who knew 'Luke Donald Disease' was a pass to the peak of the world?

With apologies to Donald, who was unfairly saddled with that label following a series of missed Sunday chances, the ranking could reach a new low this week if the Englishman wins the Heritage and climbs atop the world heap.

Donald has been unquestionably one of the game’s most consistent players over the last two years, but he has just two victories in his two-year world ranking window, hasn’t won a stroke-play tournament on American soil since 2006 and will be the second man in the last six months to hold the top spot without a major on his resume.

Maybe all the current system needs is a name change. We suggest calling it a money list, or maybe FedEx Cup points list. Both seem more apropos.

Follow Rex Hoggard on Twitter @RexHoggard

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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

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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.