Cut Line: Patriots, Presidents, Playoffs

By Rex HoggardSeptember 4, 2015, 3:52 pm

Monday’s finish at the Deutsche Bank Championship means this week’s 36-hole cut on the PGA Tour won’t arrive until Saturday, but we’ve got you covered with a special Round 1 edition of Cut Line.

Made Cut

A true patriot. During an event earlier this year in Tulsa, Okla., Major Dan Rooney announced that for the first time demand would outpace supply in the inspiring nine-year journey of the Folds of Honor.

Rooney, who founded the Folds in 2007 to provide educational support to the spouses and children of America’s fallen and wounded service men and women, wasn’t trying to temper expectations for 2015; that’s not the major’s style.

Instead he was inspiring the crowd and an organization that has already provided more than 7,500 scholarships, including $4.3 million worth in 2012.

This Labor Day weekend, courses across the country are participating in Patriot Golf Day with golfers adding $1 to their green fees to help fund the Folds of Honor.

Rooney closed his speech in May with a simple challenge: Don’t stop working until every request can be met.

Tweet of the week: @ZachJohnsonPGA “I knew he got lucky the first time around ...”

The Open champion was taking a friendly jab at Jordan Spieth, who threw out the first pitch on Tuesday at the Boston Red Sox game.

After tossing a perfect strike last month when he threw out the first pitch at a Texas Rangers game, Spieth’s attempt at Fenway Park was high and wide.

Considering the competition, Cut Line would still pencil in the 22-year-old as our No. 1 starter.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Slam-med shut. The PGA of America announced this week that it would be canceling this year’s Grand Slam of Golf following the association’s decision in July to move the event away from Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles.

The move was prompted by Donald Trump’s controversial comments regarding Mexican immigrants and it appears the PGA was unable to find a suitable replacement.

While a one-year hiatus for the 36-hole exhibition is hardly a cause for concern, it is disappointing considering how entertaining this year’s major championship season was.

As an alternative to an outright cancelation, may we suggest the PGA relocate the event to Dallas National and have Spieth, Jason Day and Johnson – no need for an alternate – play what would be an awesome game of “wolf.”

Presidential hopefuls. Who would have thought that Nick Price, captain of this year’s International Presidents Cup team, would have an easier decision with his captain’s picks than his counterpart Jay Haas?

With the matches being played in South Korea for the first time in October, it seems likely Price will select Byeong-Hun An, who was born in Seoul and is currently 11th on the point list.

While Price’s second option may not be as clear cut, if Sangmoon Bae, who is scheduled to report for mandatory military service at the end of this season in South Korea, can piece together another solid week following his tie for sixth at The Barclays it could make Price's second pick just as straightforward.

Haas, however, will have a much more complicated choice. With both Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson outside the automatic qualifiers, conventional wisdom suggests his first pick would be one of the two veterans (probably Mickelson).

With his son, Bill, currently perched at No. 11 on the points list Haas will find himself in an unenviable position for his second selection, with the decision coming down to Bill Haas, J.B. Holmes, Billy Horschel and Brandt Snedeker.

Missed Cut

Silly math. In recent weeks McIlroy reclaimed his place atop the Official World Golf Ranking from his couch and Day moved to within a confusing round of mathematical musical chairs of the top spot.

This week Spieth, who was overtaken by McIlroy on Monday, said that Day was No. 1 “right now,” which goes to the heart of the current world ranking debate.

The ranking’s two-year rolling cycle may not be a perfect system, as we saw on Monday when McIlroy moved back to No. 1 without hitting a meaningful shot, but it is the best golf has.

While the top spot gets the most attention, the real intrigue with the world ranking isn’t based on who is ranked No. 1 as much as it is the player at No. 51, with the top 50 being the widely held benchmark for entry into the game’s best events.

The top ranking makes for good water-cooler conversations, but since we aren’t hearing a lot of debate whether Brendon Todd (currently No. 50) is .001 average ranking point better than Victor Dubuisson (No. 51) then it seems the OWGR folks are doing something right.

Back to the drawing board. Since the Tour continues to tinker with the FedEx Cup Playoffs, points for this year’s postseason events were reduced from five times those awarded during the regular season to four times as many, it seems an apropos time to improve participation.

McIlroy skipped the first playoff stop to rest his mending ankle, which was a perfectly understandable move, but Sergio Garcia’s decision to sit out the first two playoff stops should set off alarms in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

The Spaniard, who began the postseason 31st on the points list, decided to skip the first two events because, well he could. There is no way to make the independent contractors play, but the Tour could create a format where players are penalized, say 500 points, for skipping events.

The playoff concept may not be a perfect fit for golf, but the idea of a “bye” week certainly doesn’t work either.

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Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook played a six-hole stretch in 6 under and shot an 8-under 64 in breezy conditions Saturday to take the lead at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook began the run at La Quinta Country Club with birdies on Nos. 4-5, eagled the sixth and added birdies on No. 7 and 9 to make the turn in 6-under 30.

After a bogey on the 10th, he birdied Nos. 11, 12 and 15 and saved par on the 18th with a 20-footer to take a 19-under 197 total into the final round on PGA West's Stadium Course. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player is making his first start in the event. He won at Sea Island in November for his first PGA Tour title.

Fellow former Razorbacks star Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were a stroke back. Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 on the Stadium Course. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. They are both winless on the PGA Tour.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

Jon Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium Course to reach 17 under. The top-ranked player in the field at No. 3, Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

Scott Piercy also was two strokes back after a 66 at the Stadium.

Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course, and Harkins shot 68 on the Stadium Course.

Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium Course to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time.

The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. The Southern California recruit had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over for the week.

John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine – and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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Mickelson misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

How rare is his missing the cut there?

The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.

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Defending champ Gana co-leads Latin America Amateur

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 11:20 pm

Toto Gana moved into early position to try to win a return trip to the Masters Saturday by grabbing a share of the first-round lead at the Latin America Amateur Championship.

The defending champ posted a 3-under-par 68 at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Chile, equaling the rounds of Argentina’s Mark Montenegro and Colombia’s Pablo Torres.

They are one shot ahead of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz and Mario Carmona, Argentina’s Horacio Carbonetti and Jaime Lopez Rivarola and the Dominican Republic’s Rhadames Pena.

It’s a bunched leaderboard, with 19 players within three shots of each at the top of the board in the 72-hole event.

“I think I have my game under control,” said Gana, 20, a freshman at Lynn University. “I hit the ball very well, and I also putted very well. So, I am confident about tomorrow.”

The LAAC’s champion will get more than a Masters invitation. He also will be exempt into the The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event he is eligible to play this year. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

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LAAC returning to Casa de Campo in 2019

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 8:23 pm

The Latin America Amateur Championship will return to Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic in 2019 (Jan. 17-20), event organizers announced Saturday in Chile, where this year’s championship is underway.

The LAAC champion receives an invitation to play the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club every spring.

The champion is also exempt into The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event for which he is eligible to compete. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

The championship got its start in 2015 with Chile’s Matias Dominguez winning at Pilar Golf in Argentina. In 2016, Casa de Campo hosted, with Costa Rica’s Paul Chaplet winning. At 16, he became the first player from Central America to compete in the Masters. In 2017, Chile’s Toto Gana won the title at  Club de Golf de Panama.