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.

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 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.

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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.