Cut Line Silence golden for the PGA Tour

By Rex HoggardMarch 18, 2011, 10:08 pm

If transparency is the ultimate judge of any organization, consider the PGA Tour a long-overdue holdout to the sunshine rule. Like Las Vegas, what happens in Ponte Vedra Beach stays in Ponte Vedra Beach, at least as it applies to the circuit’s handling of disciplinary matters.

Silence may be golden, but it lands the Tour on the wrong side of this week’s cut, while Butch Harmon and Sean Foley advance to the weekend for taking the high road in a swing coach saga that has become far too personal.

Made Cut

Butch Harmon. There is no shortage of reasons to applaud the swing sage recently, not the least of which was a win -show finish for his crew at Doral (Nick Watney won followed by Dustin Johnson). But Harmon highlights this week’s “Made Cut” list because he’s entrenched himself well above the fray in the ongoing swing coach spat.

Nick Watney and Butch Harmon
Butch Harmon chats with Nick Watney, one of his many high-profile students. (Getty Images)

Hank Haney, who followed Harmon as Tiger Woods’ swing coach in 2003, has become very public in his critique of Woods' current swing via Twitter and Foley, who followed Haney, probably placed too much trust in some members of the media.

On Sunday at Doral before Watney and Johnson teed off, we asked Harmon if he had a Twitter account. “No,” he smiled. “Wouldn’t even know how to start one.” Nice to know.

Sean Foley. Speaking of Foley, we have to give the Canadian credit for recognizing his role in the current row.

In an interview this week he said: “I’ve read some of the things I’ve said in the past and I said after, ‘You know what? I wouldn’t want my son to read that I said that.’ I realized that things unconsciously come out. It shows me I have a lot to learn about being grateful, about being compassionate, being empathetic and just focusing on myself.”

Whether you agree with Foley’s swing philosophies doesn’t matter, time will be the ultimate arbiter of that, but his lack of ego and sense of self can only be a positive influence on Woods, that much is certain.

Mike Whan. And finally we salute the game’s ultimate consensus builder. Under pressure from his membership to come up with more mainland America events, the commissioner concocted the LPGA’s Founders Cup.

When the Monopoly Money Open drew the ire of the rank and file, Whan scrambled to find the middle ground. The result was this week’s event, which is not perfect but is better than another “bye” week.

If Whan’s not busy the next few weeks, he may want to stop by New York City to see how things are going between the NFL and the players union. That room could always use an extra cool head.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Tavistock Cup. The made-for-television event raises millions of dollars for charity and is the cream of the silly season crop, just don’t expect other tournaments to entirely embrace the early-week cash grab.

Of the 24 players who participated in the two-day event at Isleworth, just eight made it over to Innisbrook for the week’s only official-money event. Not exactly a ringing endorsement of the product.

A few years ago, one tournament director suggested Tavistock could play their event Tuesday and Wednesday of his tournament week, “Just pay me what I’d lose in pro-am fees.”

Tweet of the week: @TigerWoods “First win of the year, unfortunately it was against @jimmyfallon.”

Glad to see the former world No. 1 showing a softer side. Unfortunately his victory came while playing his new video game against the late-night host, and we don’t think it came with many World Golf Ranking points.

Missed Cut

John Smoltz. Loved the guy on the mound, he was a machine who mowed down opponents with power and precision – a rare combination for a modern pitcher – but we’ve seen this act before.

Seems the former Atlanta hurler plans to play the Nationwide Tour’s South Georgia Classic in April, which may do wonders at the gate but does little for the event’s competitive integrity.

Among Smoltz’s career highlights: he’s the only pitcher in MLB history to win 200 games and have 150 saves and he’s attempted to qualify for the U.S. Open – which is great if an impromptu baseball game breaks out at Kinderlou Forest Golf Club. If not, he should leave the sponsor exemptions to the real professionals.

Secrecy. Last week PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem was put on the spot for the circuit’s policy not to disclose fines, or as we like to call it, the skull and crossed putters society.

Finchem offered a familiar lament, “The biggest reason is that 90 percent-plus of the disciplinary matters we deal with, the public is not aware of them. We see no reason to advise the public of when one of our players does something silly. Why should we do that?”

That other sports embrace transparency over secrecy seems of little interest to Finchem.

“We are in a little different situation; that if a fight breaks out in the NBA between a couple of players and some fans, the commissioner pretty much needs to say, this is what I did to protect that from not happening again.”

But then if the Tour’s rules, like all laws, are aimed at prevention, then what harm would come from, say, publishing the complete list of “slow play” fines? A notice in Monday’s sports section would do more to speed up the circuit’s habitual snails than a private fine, and it would show the Tour is dedicated to stopping slow play.

Follow Rex Hoggard on Twitter @RexHoggard

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.