Cut Line Predictions and problem solving

By Rex HoggardJanuary 8, 2011, 1:55 am

It’s tough, if not impossible, to dig too deep for winners and losers this week. Seventy-two holes without a cut in paradise with a limited field and only the Kona trades to contend with. Life is good.

Instead, “Cut Line” will take the long view with some predictions and unsolicited problem solving.

Made Cut

International incident. For the first time since 1998, the International Presidents Cup team will hoist the big gold trophy and remain perfect in the Southern Hemisphere.

Much like Paul Azinger at Valhalla, team captain Greg Norman will inspire his crew at Royal Melbourne, site of the International side’s only victory in the biennial match (the teams tied in South Africa in 2003).

As an aside, Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker will lose a match but just one, dropping the super tandem to a pedestrian 7-1 in Presidents Cup team play.

A big one for Westie. Enough of the comparisons to Colin Montgomerie and questions about his health, Lee Westwood will win his maiden major at Royal St. George’s in July.

The Englishman is one of the fittest players in the game and his Open Championship record is rather clear on this. In his last two starts in the game’s oldest member-member he’s finished T-3 (2009) and runner-up (2010). And, contrary to popular opinion, he didn’t assume the top spot in the world ranking by default or accident.

In a groove. Not a single player will be asked about the new conforming grooves in irons, and no one will care.

The golf ball, however, will continue to be blamed for out-of-control distance gains, and no one will listen.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Hype and hyperbole. The next big thing will be all at once introduced and anointed by a media far too quick to hand out greatness.

Greatness is achieved over time and measured in victories, particularly at major championships. Nothing else. But in the rush to fill the void left by Tiger Woods last year the media machine labeled Rickie Fowler, an infinitely talented player with an unlimited future if given the space to develop naturally, the “Man.”

Pop quiz: Fowler, Jim Furyk and Matt Kuchar adorn the cover of this year’s Tour media guide. When was the last time a non-Tour winner made it on the cover? Answer: Never.

Mathematical madness. At last year’s Tour Championship, as computers struggled to digest the dizzying array of FedEx Cup possibilities, a curious contender emerged from the fray.

Paul Casey, who’d stormed to the first-round lead at East Lake, could, at least mathematically, claim the cup and the $10 million lottery ticket if he won the finale and got some help from the likes of Furyk and Kuchar. Never mind that the Englishman was winless on Tour in 2010.

There were no changes to the FedEx formula for 2011. “I think it's in a good place,” commissioner Tim Finchem said last month, which means a Casey-like scenario could be revisited in September. And the BCS thinks they have problems.

Missed Cut

Conflicted events. Observers will be incensed and tournament directors speechless when a handful of high-profile members are granted conflicting-event releases opposite a Tour event wanting for marquee players.

In fact, expect this scenario sooner rather than later. Phil Mickelson said he will start his 2011 campaign at the European Tour’s Abu Dhabi Championship the same week as this month’s Bob Hope Classic, one of a handful of events on Tour still searching for a title sponsor.

Major meltdown. No, not on a scorecard, we’re talking about an actual meltdown and it will be at this year’s PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club in August.

Daytime highs the second week of August last year in the Atlanta area were around 104 degrees. That’s spontaneous combustion time for some, just ask England’s Anthony Wall who walked off midway through a round at sweltering Southern Hills in Tulsa, Okla., during the 2007 PGA Championship.

“I’ve never quit anything in my life, but I can’t go on,” an exhausted Wall said at the time.

More rulings, more eye rolling. Although it may not reach the fevered pitch of Dustin Johnson’s gaffe at the PGA, but sometime in 2011 a player will run afoul the Rules of Golf in a high-profile incident and . . . oh, wait.

Hate to go revisionist but it took Camilo Villegas exactly 15 holes to get on the ruling board this season. What’s baffling to “Cut Line” is that some bristle because Villegas was called out by a viewer who saw the violation on the Golf Channel telecast.

Golf is a game of honor, where competitors routinely call fouls on themselves and it doesn’t matter if a violation is reported by a rules official, caddie, fellow competitor or Jimmy Lunchbox on the couch back in Michigan – it’s a violation.

Consider it golf’s version of instant replay. And for those who claim the “call in” scenario only impacts those players shown on TV, consider the alternative – don’t play well enough to earn a spot on the telecast or, better yet, learn the Rules of Golf.

Tweet of the week: @ArronOberholser “I know why I don’t like viewers calling in. I don’t like a chop on a couch inferring that I don’t know the rules to a game I’m an expert at.”

With all respect to AO, who does know the rules and is a breath of straightforward fresh air on an all-to-vanilla Tour, if Villegas knew the rules he would be playing the second round at Kapalua, not volleyball on a beach in Hawaii.

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.

Getty Images

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 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.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Getty Images

Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.