Cut Line Something Old Something New

By Rex HoggardSeptember 4, 2009, 9:00 pm

The axe doesn’t drop officially until Saturday at the Deutsche Bank Championship, but “Cut Line” is a labor of love and, besides, Round 1 of the Playoffs gave us plenty of material to work with, so why wait?

Made Cut

Something old. Venerable is suddenly in vogue, and when it comes to golf courses that’s a good thing. More times than not the Tour plays the second – or, in the case of Liberty National, 89th– best course in town, a truth that may make economic sense but leaves one wanting for a little Donald Ross charm or A.W. Tillinghast subtlety.

All of which makes The Barclays return to Ridgwood Country Club next year and venerable Plainfield Country Club in 2011 all the more praiseworthy. Conventional wisdom suggests old classic like Merion (site of this month’s Walker Cup and the 2013 U.S. Open) or The Country Club (2013 U.S. Amateur) are too short for today’s pros. Don’t tell that to Geoff Ogilvy, who slipped over to quirky cool Wannamoisett Country Club in Rhode Island before heading to TPC Boston this  week.

“Most enjoyable. I wish we played a few like this more often,” Tweeted Ogilvy, who, for the record, carded a 1-over 70. “It may be a hair short, but it’s as much course as I need.”

LPGA resurrection. First Wegmans returned to the fold, now Owens Corning is back at the corporate table with a one-year extension to sponsor the Jamie Farr Classic.

After a tough year, some good economic news and a dramatic Solheim Cup was exactly what the tour needed and much of the credit should go to that “Group of 15” that united against former commissioner Carolyn Bivens. Even this week’s announcement was a not-so-subtle jab at the former commish.

“I just want to commend (LPGA acting commissioner) Marty Evans and her team for their willingness to pursue a livable business model for us,” said Judd Silverman, Jamie Farr Classic executive director.


Made Cut-Did Not Finish
Kenny Perry. At 49 years of age, the pride of Franklin, Ky., certainly has earned the right to have whoever he wants on his bag for his final years on the PGA Tour. It is the execution, not the edict, which caught “Cut Line” off guard.

According to the Associated Press, Perry’s long-time caddie Fred Sanders learned via the veteran’s manager he was being replaced on the bag by Perry’s son, Justin, after six years and 11 of Perry’s 14 Tour titles, not to mention clutch weeks at the last two Ryder and Presidents Cups.

Perry is an easy man to like, puts family and friends above all else, even majors. But Freddie, a friend as well as an employee, deserved better.
An Olympic odyssey. With less than a month to go before the International Olympic Committee makes a final decision on golf’s inclusion in the 2016 Games and picks a host city, the game’s bid took a bit of a logistical hit last week.

The IOC released a 98-page report evaluating each city’s bid for the Games and Chicago’s push seemed to take a blow while Rio de Janeiro appears to be the leader in the clubhouse. We’re not saying golf’s Olympic bid is tied to Chicago, but the logistics of moving the game’s top players to Rio and back in the middle of the major championship season may be a tougher sell.

Among the concerns pointed out in the IOC report was the lack of full financing for Chicago’s Olympic bid, the distance athletes would have to travel to equestrian, shooting, road cycling and mountain biking venues; and transportation concerns on the city’s Metra commuter rail service.

What, no problem with that century-long slump in Wrigleyville and the price of a walk-up in Lincoln Park?

Missed Cut
PGA Tour. There are no guaranteed contracts in golf, a truth every bit as marketable as “These Guys Are Good,” but it would be nice if the game didn’t always eat its own.

Two years ago Brett Wetterich was on top of the game, ranked 32nd in the world and fresh off his first Ryder Cup. But since then a series of injuries have left the former rising star on the outside looking in for 2010.

After missing much of 2008 with a left shoulder injury, Wetterich returned in May but was quickly sent back to the DL with a wrist ailment he sustained at Torrey Pines in June. He hasn’t played at all this year and has been granted a major medical exemption for 2010, 17 starts to earn $731,077, but all of the perks he earned during his breakthrough ’07 campaign, starts in all the majors and WGCs, dried up on the rehab bench.

Wetterich, who celebrated the birth of his first child, Mia Elizabeth, on Aug. 28, is virtually starting over in ’10. So much so that he will likely play the final stage of Q-School to try and improve his status.

There are no freebies in golf, nor should there be, but there seems to be plenty of room for a little fairness.

Captain’s picks. Paul Azinger spent two years thinking outside the box and produced a dramatic American victory at Valhalla, while his U.S. Presidents Cup counterpart Fred Couples seems curiously content with the status quo.

Couples locked himself into his picks at the PGA, telling he planned to go with Lucas Glover and Hunter Mahan. Both are solid picks, but what kind of debate will we have on Tuesday if Heath Slocum wins this week’s Deutsche Bank Championship?

As for international skipper Greg Norman, he’s been more guarded with his choices. We’ve got two words for The Shark: Michael Sim. Yes, he spent his year making quick work of the Nationwide Tour, but he’s the hottest player you’ve got regardless of league.

There are seven players ahead of Sim on the international points list including Adam Scott. Adam Scott. Enough said.

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

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Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

 There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.

It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.

Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.

Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.

Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.

After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.

Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

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Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.