Cut Line: Lyle continues to inspire in Web.com return

By Rex HoggardJuly 25, 2014, 4:05 pm

In the lull between major championship storms, we search for new ways to describe Jarrod Lyle’s inspiring return to golf, and a reason why Bubba Watson’s search history appears to be half empty.

Made Cut

Lyle’s legacy. In many ways it was like he’d never left.

For Jarrod Lyle, his opening 67 at the Midwest Classic on Thursday felt like old times, four birdies, 14 pars, that familiar welcoming smile.

There were no outward signs of the scars left by the graft-versus-host disease he will likely deal with the rest of his life, the byproduct of the stem cell transplant that allowed him to beat leukemia for the second time, or the hours of chemotherapy he had to endure.

It was the best possible start for Lyle, who began the first of three rehabilitation starts on the Web.com Tour this week as he prepares to return to the PGA Tour this fall for the first time since being diagnosed in early 2012.

“I always said through my treatment that if I never hit another golf shot I could walk away from the game and be happy," Lyle said. "I wasn't going to live or die by playing golf. I live and die by my family (wife Briony and daughter Lusi). It means the world to me to have them both here and supporting me in my golf again. I'll do anything for those two.”

Lyle’s fate as a professional golfer remains unknown, but his status as an inspiring tale was solidified long ago.

Pool party. For all those who continue to question the International Golf Federation’s decision to use 72-hole, individual stroke play as the format for the 2016 Olympic Games, this week’s International Crown will only rekindle that debate.

The first-year team event will include pool play the first three days with each team playing two best-ball matches against every country in its pool. The top two countries in each pool – plus one wild card – will advance to Sunday’s final round of singles play.

While the format may be on the Mensa side of confusing, it could create a few compelling match ups and even some rare Saturday drama. As for the Olympic dream, that ship – at least as it relates to the ’16 Games – has sailed. But it’s never too soon to start a campaign for the 2020 Games.


Tweet of the week: @bencranegolf (Ben Crane) “Being at a tournament and not starting in it is a new experience. Makes me love/appreciate the game more. Going to qualify outright next year.”

There are a lot of reasons to respect Crane’s decision to fly from Oregon to England for a chance to play in the Open Championship (which he did not). Perspective just makes it that much more endearing.


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Another Monty moment. European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley may have been a consensus choice for many of his potential players, but for those of us who carry notebooks for a living there may never be another captain like Colin Montgomerie.

The outspoken Scot made the 2010 matches particularly entertaining thanks to a steady diet of juicy sound bites, and this week at the Senior Open Championship in Wales he gave the U.S. team some early bulletin board material.

“If (Bernhard) Langer and I were paired together in the foursomes, we’d feel we could bring a point home for Europe,” Montgomerie said. “We’d need to sit out the four-ball (matches) though – we’d be knackered.”

Considering Montgomerie and Langer’s solid play on the Champions Tour this season – they’ve combined to win five times, including the last two senior majors – perhaps they could make a game of it against America’s best.

The U.S. team may not like Monty’s take, but they can’t be surprised he would say it.


Missed Cut

Being Bubba. Considering the level of background noise and vitriol that permeates sports today it’s not surprising to discover a professional athlete who has elected to tune out.

“Sometimes you can get too much bad talk or negative talk where you think you're the worst golfer in the world. Next week I could probably win; this week I'll probably miss the cut. It fluctuates,” said Bubba Watson after explaining that he had removed the internet from his phone.

“I'm trying to stay away from negative and positive, just remain even keel. As long as my wife loves me and my child thinks daddy is the greatest, then I'm good to go.”

Cut Line often wonders why more players don’t follow a similar path. But where Watson drew a few double takes was when he was asked if he ever read the positive comments about him.

“There's not been one positive thing. I'm waiting on that one. Then I'll start reading. Well, I can't read yet, but I'll start,” he said.

Which prompted a quick Google search:

“He swings out of his shoes with a pink-shafted driver, his golf ball traveling distances that are awed and admired. Bubba Golf, it is called, often with disbelief and wonder.”
-ESPN.com, April 13, 2014

“This wasn’t Bubba golf as much as it was simply great golf.”
-Associated Press, Feb. 16, 2014 (following his victory at the Northern Trust Open)

“Even after Saturday’s 74 left him tied with Spieth, Watson remained unfazed on his way to a sixth PGA Tour. It seems Bubba has grown up.”
-GolfChannel.com, April 13, 2014

“Watson swings with an individuality and majesty that belongs with other mind-blowing athletic motions, like Tim (The Freak) Lincecum's pitching delivery or sprinter Usain Bolt's stride.”
-Golf Digest, August 2009

“For Watson, the tears pour because when blessings flow, he often asks the question, why? ... With gifts that great, the better question is, why not?”
-Golfweek.com, April 13, 2014

All of which makes your scribe wonder what exactly Watson was searching for before he nixed the Internet from his phone?

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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 GolfChannel.com 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.