Cut Line: Scott mending, Lefty ripping

By Rex HoggardAugust 3, 2012, 9:13 pm

Cut Line was sent back to school, or at least reaching for a slide rule, for this week’s edition complete with a confounding breakdown of Reno’s modified Stableford scoring system and a glimpse at the 2013 PGA Tour math, which seems to be a lesson in subtraction.

Made Cut

Great Scott. In his first event since his Lytham letdown Adam Scott was surprisingly forthcoming when he faced reporters this week at Firestone.

Scott, who has never seemed entirely at ease in front of a room full of reporters, said he spent the week since the Open Championship picking apart his finish in search of learning opportunities, not stewing over what could have been.

“I certainly didn't beat myself up and have to curl up in a corner,” Scott said. “The next few days were quiet, but they were just the same as after any other major. I pretty much find myself on the couch for about 48 hours after a major.”

Funny, Cut Line normally finds himself on the couch for 48 hours during a major.

The long and short of Turkey. Still no official word on whether Tiger Woods will play the unofficial-but-lucrative Turkish Airways World Golf Finals in October, but one paper in the United Kingdom has reported that players in the $5.3 million event will be allowed to wear shorts.

Although there have been multiple reports that Woods would play the match-play event that will feature an eight-man field, his manager Mark Steinberg said the deal has not been finalized.

The event is an attempt to improve Turkey’s bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics and will award $1.5 million to the winner. As for the move to allow shorts, Cut Line has forwarded the item to PGA of America officials just in time for next week’s championship in South Carolina, where daytime temperatures are expected to hover above 90 degrees.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Filling a Jones. The Tour is inching toward this fall’s playoffs which means it must be time to take some shots at oft-criticized architect Rees Jones, although with the BMW Championship moving to Crooked Stick from Cog Hill it doesn’t seem worth the effort.

In fact, only East Lake, which Jones restored in 1994, is on the Tour dance card this fall, but that didn’t stop Phil Mickelson from taking a jab seemingly in Jones’ direction this week when Lefty was asked about some of the changes officials have planned for Bethpage’s Black Course which will host The Barclays, the first playoff event.

“I've always been a fan of the original designer's interests in how a golf hole is designed to play from its inception, as opposed to somebody else who comes in and tries to alter it for their own benefit or ego,” Mickelson smiled.

Was it just Cut Line or does Mickelson’s “somebody” sound vaguely familiar?

Making a point. For the first time since the 2006 International, Tour types will play a modified Stableford scoring format at this week’s Reno-Tahoe Open.

The system awards points – 8 for a double eagle, 5 for an eagle, 2 for a birdie, zero for a par, minus-1 for a bogey and minus-3 for a double bogey or worse. Give credit to the opposite-field stop for trying to stand out on a crowded calendar but the contrived scoring could present an interesting dilemma late Sunday as Padraig Harrington pointed out.

“If you’ve got an 8-point lead, you could pick your ball up going down the last and just wave at the crowd,” the Irishman mused. “That would be an interesting one, wouldn't it?  I've done enough, guys. Seventy-one holes is all I have to play this week.”

And you thought the world golf ranking math could get a little crazy.

Tweet of the week: @JustinRose99 “Beautiful day here at Firestone. Little fact for ya. After the rubber workers were laid off the Firestone family used them to hand dig the great South Course to give them work.”

Um, that’s cool . . . I guess.

Missed Cut

When less is less. Give the Tour credit for trying to conjure some lemonade from the lemon that may be the abbreviated 2013 season, but as the circuit transitions to a split-year calendar next year one of the unintended consequences will be fewer playing opportunities for this year’s Tour and Q-School graduates.

The 2013 season will end at the Tour Championship in September followed almost immediately by the 2013-14 campaign that will kick off with what was the fall series, which means four fewer events for players to earn their Tour cards in ’13.

Officials are trying to mitigate the impact of the transition by expanding field sizes in as many as nine events according to The Associated Press. Some spring events are being asked to increase their field size from 144 to 156 and at least three invitational events – the Arnold Palmer Invitational, AT&T National and Colonial – will increase from 120 players to 132.

The move is expected to add an additional 90 spots, but that will do little to make up the difference. All told the Tour will lose 657 playing opportunities because of the transition (132-player field at the Justin Timberlake; 132, Open;132, McGladrey Classic and 128, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic), which means it’s a net loss of 567 playing opportunities in ’13.

Such a reduction made Cut Line curious if the Tour planned a “make good,” maybe a reduced rate for this year’s Q-School? Nope, according to this year’s application players starting at first stage will pay between $4,500 and $6,000, the same as last year.

Seems the Tour is not familiar with the word “prorate.”

Battling mono, Kaufman tied for lead at CME

By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 2:05 am

NAPLES, Fla. – Kim Kaufman’s bout with mononucleosis might leave fellow tour pros wanting to catch the fever, too.

A couple months after Anna Nordqvist battled her way into contention at the Women’s British Open playing with mono, and then thrived at the Solheim Cup with it, Kaufman is following suit.

In her first start since being diagnosed, Kaufman posted an 8-under-par 64 Saturday to move into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. It was the low round of the day. She’s bidding to win her first LPGA title.

“I’ve been resting at home for two weeks,” Kaufman said. “Didn’t do anything.”

Well, she did slip on a flight of stairs while recuperating, hurting her left wrist. She had it wrapped Saturday but said that’s mostly precautionary. It didn’t bother her during the round.

CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

“I’m the only person who can take two weeks off and get injured,” Kaufman joked.

Kaufman, 26, left the Asian swing after playing the Sime Darby Malaysia, returning to her home in South Dakota, to see her doctor there. She is from Clark. She was told bed rest was the best thing for her, but she felt good enough to make the trip to Florida for the season-ending event.

“We had some really cold days,” Kaufman said. “We had some snow. I was done with it. I was coming down here.”

How does she feel?

“I feel great,” she said. “I’m a little bit shaky, which isn’t great out there, but it’s great to be here doing something. I was going a little bit stir crazy [at home], just kind of fighting through it.”

Kaufman made eight birdies in her bogey-free round.

New-look Wie eyes CME Group Tour Championship title

By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:32 am

NAPLES, Fla. – Michelle Wie is sporting a new look that even has fellow players doing double takes.

Bored during her six-week recovery from an emergency appendectomy late this summer, Wie decided to cut and die her hair.

She went for golden locks, and a shorter style.

“I kind of went crazy after being in bed that long,” Wie said. “I just told my mom to grab the kitchen scissors and just cut all my hair off.”

Wie will get to sport her new look on a big stage Sunday after playing herself into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. With a 6-under-par 66, she is in contention to win her fifth LPGA title, her first since winning the U.S. Women’s Open three years ago.

CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

Wie, 28, fought her way back this year after two of the most disappointing years of her career. Her rebound, however, was derailed in late August, when she withdrew from the final round of the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open to undergo an emergency appendectomy. She was out for six weeks.

Before the surgery, Wie enjoyed getting back into contention regularly, with six finishes of T-4 or better this season. She returned to the tour on the Asian swing in October.

Fellow tour pros were surprised when she came back with the new look.

“Definitely, walk by people and they didn’t recognize me,” Wie said.

Wie is looking to continue to build on her resurgence.

“I gained a lot of confidence this year,” she said. “I had a really tough year last year, the last couple years. Just really feeling like my old self. Really feeling comfortable out there and having fun, and that's when I play my best.”

You Oughta Know: LPGA's Sunday scenarios

By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:17 am

NAPLES, Fla. – The CME Group Tour Championship is loaded with pressure-packed subplots Sunday at Tiburon Golf Club.

Here’s what You Oughta Know about the prizes at stake:

Race to the CME Globe

Lexi Thompson and Sung Hyun Park are 1-2 in CME Globe points. They are best positioned Sunday to take home the $1 million jackpot in the season-long competition.

Thompson and Park are tied for fifth in the tournament, one shot off the lead. If either of them wins, she will take home the jackpot.

The way it’s unfolding Thompson is a good bet to take home the jackpot by merely finishing ahead of Park, unless they both stumble badly on Sunday.

Ariya Jutanugarn is tied for the lead. She must win to take home the jackpot, but she would also need Thompson to finish ninth or worse and Park to finish eighth or worse and nobody else among the top 12 in points to make a bold Sunday charge.

Stacy Lewis is one shot off the lead with a longshot chance at the jackpot. She must win the tournament while Thompson finishes 26th or worse, Park finishes 12th or worse and nobody else among the top 12 in points makes a bold Sunday charge.

So Yeon Ryu, Shanshan Feng and Brooke Henderson are among others who still have a shot at the $1 million prize, but they have fallen back in the pack and need bold Sunday charges to take home the jackpot.

Rolex Player of the Year

The Rolex Player of the Year Award remains a four-player race.

Ryu (162), Feng (159), Park (157) and Thompson (147) all have a chance to win the award.

Park and Thompson are best positioned to make Sunday moves to overtake Ryu.

Park needs to finish sixth or better to win the award outright; Thompson needs to win the tournament to win the award.

It’s simple math.

The top 10 in the tournament will be awarded points.

1st - 30 points

2nd – 12 points

3rd – 9 points

4th – 7 points

5th – 6 points

6th – 5 points

7rd – 4 points

8th – 3 points

9th – 2 points

10th – 1 point

Vare Trophy

Thompson took a 69.147 scoring average to Naples. Park needs to finish nine shots ahead of Thompson to have a shot at the trophy.

Money-winning title

Park leads the tour in money winnings with $2,262,472. Ryu is the only player who can pass her Sunday, and Ryu must win the tournament to do so. Ryu is tied for 32nd, five shots off the lead. If Ryu wins the tournament, she also needs Park to finish worse than solo second.

Rolex world No. 1 ranking

World No. 1 Feng, No. 2 Park and No. 3 Ryu are separated by just three hundredths of a point.

Because they are so close, the scenarios for overtaking Feng are head spinning.

At No. 4, Thompson is a full average ranking point behind Feng, but she could become the sixth different player this season to move to No. 1. Thompson, however, has to win Sunday to have a chance to do so, and then it will depend on what Feng, Park and Ryu do. Again, the scenarios are complex.

Cook leads RSM Classic by three at Sea Island

By Associated PressNovember 19, 2017, 12:28 am

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook shot a 4-under 66 on Saturday to increase his lead to three strokes in the RSM Classic.

Cook, a shot ahead after a second-round 62, had five birdies and a bogey - his first of the week - to reach 18-under 194 with a round left at Sea Island Golf Club's Seaside Course.

''Putting is key right now,'' Cook said. ''Been able to make a lot of clutch putts for the pars to save no bogeys. Hitting the ball pretty much where we're looking and giving ourselves good opportunities on every hole.''

Former University of Georgia player Chris Kirk was second after a 64.

''I'm really comfortable here,'' Kirk said. ''I love Sea Island. I lived here for 6 1/2 years, so I played the golf course a lot, SEC Championships and come down here for the RSM Classic. My family and I, we come down here a few other times a year as well.''

Brian Gay was another stroke back at 14 under after a 69.

''I love the course,'' Gay said. ''We keep getting different wind directions so it's keeping us on our toes. Supposed to be another completely different wind direction tomorrow, so we're getting a new course every day.''

RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the RSM Classic

J.J. Spaun had a 62 to get to 13 under.

''I just kind of played stress-free golf out there and kept the golf ball in front of me,'' Spaun said. ''I had a lot of looks and scrambled pretty well, even though it was only a handful of times, but pretty overall pleased with how I played today.''

Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player earned his PGA Tour card through the Tour.

''I think with an extra year on the Web this past year, I really grew mentally and with my game, just kind of more confidence,'' Cook said. ''I was able to put myself in contention on the more this year than I have in the past. I think I've just, you know, learned from experiences on the Web to help me grow out here.''

He planned to keep it simple Saturday night.

''I've got my parents here and my in-laws are both here as well as my wife,'' Cook said. ''Go home and just have a good home-cooked meal and just kind of enjoy the time and embrace the moment.''

Kirk won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2015 at Colonial.

''It's nice to be back in contention again,'' Kirk said. ''It's been a little while for me. But I felt great out there today, I felt really comfortable, and so hopefully it will be the same way tomorrow and I'll keep my foot on the pedal and stay aggressive, try to make some birdies.''