Cut Line Return of the Thrill and the chill

By Rex HoggardFebruary 4, 2011, 9:45 pm
  • Waste Management Phoenix OpenThere will be no cut, or thaw, it seems, on Friday at TPC Scottsdale, but like the festivities at the boisterous 16th hole, “Cut Line” must go on.

Among this week’s “dos” and “don’ts” is a rookie who learned the hard way not to poke a sleeping Tiger and a veteran who seems to have awoken from a long competitive slumber.

Made Cut

Phil the Thrill. Whether Phil Mickelson is prepared to emerge from his post-Masters abyss remains to be seen, but his runner-up showing last week at Torrey Pines was a good sign for Lefty and for golf.

As for those who mistook Lefty’s 72nd hole histrionics for theatrics, know that there was a method to Mickelson’s madness. “If you know how many times in a year he hits the pin it was a no-brainer,” said his caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay of the duo’s decision to tend the pin from 80 yards at the last. “These guys hit flags and we’d be feeling pretty disgusted if it hit the flag and went in the soup.”

Now if Lefty had gone all Babe Ruth from 260 yards on his second shot at No. 18 on Sunday, that would have been over the top.

Featured groups. Last week the new initiative gave us a Tiger Woods-Rocco Mediate reunion at Torrey Pines and fans at TPC Frost Delay, eh . .. Scottsdale were treated to Mickelson-Bubba Watson II for Rounds 1 and 2.

The move has delivered compelling matchups and increased fan interest with little push back from the Tour’s rank-and-file.

In fact, “Cut Line” would like to suggest a couple pairings we’d like to see: Ben Crane and Rory Sabbatini (because slow play jokes never get old), Woods and Brendan Steele (so the rookie can apologize in person), Watson-Martin Kaymer-Dustin Johnson (because Johnson never got his chance at last year’s PGA Championship) and Anthony Kim-Robert Allenby (so AK can beat the Aussie on a full night’s sleep).

Bend it like Bubba. Watson’s second PGA Tour victory was notable for several reasons, but not the least of which was the golf course on which he won.

Torrey Pines’ South Course, although not exactly up to 2008 U.S. Open standards, was dry and fast, which normally wouldn’t suit Watson’s roping style of play. Yet for the week the lanky left-hander ranked first in the field for greens in regulation despite hitting just half his fairways.

“His game is interesting,” said Jhonattan Vegas, who was paired with Watson on Sunday at Torrey. “But nobody said you have to play this game a certain way.”

Translation: repeatable, not pretty, wins.

Tweet of the week: @jamielovemark “Bets for (number) of holes played (Thursday) due to frost. Playing 18 holes: 35/1. Playing 9-17 holes: 12/1, playing <9: 1/1, iPad fully charged: 1/99.”

Odds the rookie resurfaces on “Cut Line’s” Tweet of the Week? Even money.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

The man of Steele. As lessons go, this one was particularly harsh. But as many before Brendan Steele have realized (see Ames, Stephen, 2006 WGC-Accenture Match Play) anything having to do with Woods is going to be magnified to the extreme.

It’s little surprise then that the rookie is playing spin control after telling Sports Illustrated last Sunday at Torrey, “I don't think (Woods) gave it everything today. Once it started going in the wrong direction, I don’t think it had his full attention.”

Steele later said his comments were “twisted and misconstrued” and sent a letter of apology to Woods.

By all accounts Steele is a solid sort, which should help him weather the self-inflicted storm. As for Woods, “Cut Line” walked a few holes with the world No. 3 on Sunday and didn’t see a man in a hurry to make a flight, just a player who is adrift in the mean middle ground between a swing that works on the range but only sporadically on the golf course.

The Greatest Party on Grass. Whether you love or hate TPC Scottsdale’s raucous 16th hole, the one-off is an interesting diversion from the norm.

As one Tour veteran told us late Sunday on his way out of San Diego, “Me and TPC Scottsdale haven’t been on speaking terms the last few years.”

Think of the par-3 party as pro golf’s version of cabbage on New Year’s Day, once a year is fine, once a week would be grounds for a hunger strike.

Missed Cut

Designated dilemma. Mickelson said all one needs to know about the failed designated tournament proposal, “There isn't one. There isn't a policy.”

Although PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said he was receiving positive feedback from players who are being asked to voluntarily add an event to their schedule they ordinarily wouldn’t play, Mickelson’s curt take on the voluntary “policy” spoke volumes.

Many observers have likened the proposal to revenue sharing Tour style, saying that a top player may add a wanting event but likely at the expense of a tournament they normally would have played.

What’s next, a lockout?

Official World Golf Ranking. “Cut Line” can’t pretend to understand the math or madness behind the ranking, but the two-year rolling window, aggravated by Woods’ competitive freefall, has created a curious lineup.

Current No. 1 Lee Westwood has just two worldwide wins in the last 12 months, while Martin Kaymer, who can overtake Westwood with a win this week in Qatar, has four “Ws” in the last five months, including his PGA triumph.

Top-10 finishes are fine to measure money list success, but when the debate turns to who is the world’s best at a particular moment it is about victories, particularly victories in majors, that matter. Nothing else.

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.

Getty Images

Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

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. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'

President at the Presidents Cup

Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump

Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

Cart on the green

Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green

Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open

Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National

Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

Trump golf properties


Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers

Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up

Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm