Cut Line: Spieth starts strong; Mickelson 'hopeful'

By Rex HoggardJanuary 15, 2016, 7:20 pm

Jordan Spieth highlights this week’s edition following a victory on Sunday at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and an even bigger haul on Wednesday in the boardroom.

Made Cut

A Coke and a smile. The debate over whether golf is entering the Jordan Spieth era is a trail that, at least right now, has no end, but there was no denying the 22-year-old’s influence following an eventful week both on and off the golf course.

Spieth began his season with an eight-stroke victory in Maui last week to quiet the concerns over a possible fall off from last year’s brilliant performance, and on Wednesday he announced he had signed a multi-year endorsement deal with Coca-Cola.

In the same news cycle, Golf Digest released its list of top earners for 2015 with Spieth unseating Tiger Woods atop the heap with $53 million in on- and off-course earnings.

Woods, who had been No. 1 on the annual list since it began in 2002, slipped to third behind No. 2 Phil Mickelson, who had a reported $52.3 million in earnings despite a relatively pedestrian year on the course.

Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Rickie Fowler, to name a few, may eventually overtake Spieth, but until then it’s Jordan’s world.

A new beginning. As Tim Clark completed his week at the RSM Classic late last year he was approached by a pair of reporters who were looking for reaction to his final Tour round with an anchored putter.

“I don’t care,” he sighed.

The South African was resigned to the impending ban on the anchored stroke, which began last week at the Tournament of Champions, and despite his early objections to the new rule he seemed to look forward to the long debate ending.

“Honestly, I’ve been putting so bad no matter what I’ve used,” he said in October at Sea Island (Ga.) Resort. “Once it’s done I can move on and get to work on something and stick with it.”

With that fresh perspective came some positive results on Thursday at the Sony Open, where he opened with a 66 thanks in large part to a strokes gained-putting average of 2.63.

If Clark continues to trend in this direction he may end up thanking the U.S. Golf Association and Royal & Ancient for the rule change ... or not.

Requited Love. For the better part of three decades Davis Love III has been what scribes would consider a “go to” player when it came to all things golf.

After multiple stints on the PGA Tour policy board, a turn as the U.S. Ryder Cup captain (with a second chance looming later this year) and a lifetime between the ropes, Love can handle a delicate policy question with the same ease as a 2-iron off a hanging lie.

This week the Golf Writers Association of America recognized that commitment to cooperation when the organization named Love the recipient of the Jim Murray Award, which is given annually to the player who “demonstrates cooperation and accommodation to the media.”

In a time when the relationship between player and press has grown increasingly strained, Love is a beacon of accommodation regardless of how ridiculous the question may be (and we’ve asked some dreadful questions in our time).

As Love explained last fall after a lengthy Q&A regarding Tiger Woods’ upcoming 40th birthday, “It’s fine. It’s my job ... I’m the captain.”

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

What will Phil do next? Speaking of Mickelson, the southpaw was on Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive” on Wednesday and painted an interesting picture of his future.

Mickelson described his outlook for 2016 as “optimistic, but I’m also nervous.” He left swing coach Butch Harmon last year and has reportedly started a rather dramatic swing overhaul under the watchful eye of Australian instructor Andrew Getson.

After failing to advance to the Tour Championship for the second consecutive year in 2015, Mickelson plans to get his season underway at next week’s CareerBuilder Challenge.

“I’m hopeful that this off-season, the work I've put in, will get my swing back on the plane that it has been in the past, and allow me to hit the shots I've been able to hit as I did in the past,” Lefty said.

Tweet of the week: @TigerWoods “Had fun teaming up with [Michelle Wie] today for @TWFoundation. Thanks for the assist. #GoStanford

The goods news: Woods was at a golf course. The bad news: he didn’t appear to be hitting golf balls. #Progress.

Rose (62) sets blistering pace in Indonesia

By Associated PressDecember 14, 2017, 3:06 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Justin Rose shot a 10-under 62 Thursday to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, starting on the back nine at Royale Jakarta Golf Club, had five birdies to go out in 31, then birdied four of five holes midway through his final nine and another birdie on his last hole in the $750,000 tournament.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Gunn Charoenkul (64) was in second place and Kim Giwhan and Phachara Khongwatmai (both 65) were tied for third.

Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Ranked 51st in the world, the American is aiming for a strong finish in Jakarta 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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LaCava: Woods wouldn't talk after H.O.R.S.E. match

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 2:27 pm

The competitive streak within Tiger Woods knows no bounds - even on the basketball court, according to caddie Joe LaCava.

LaCava has been on Woods' bag since 2011, and he recently shared a story on "Inside the Ropes" on Sirius/XM PGA Tour Radio about a clash between the two men over a seemingly friendly game of H.O.R.S.E. Actually, it turned into nine straight games (and nine straight wins) for LaCava, who exploited a weakness in Woods' on-court strategy while leaning on a mid-length jumper of his own:

"The thing with him was if I missed a shot, which I missed plenty of shots, but if I missed the shot he'd go back down to the 3 (point line) because he liked to make the 3," LaCava said. "But it's harder obviously to make a 3, and I'd go right back to the baseline 12-footer, and he couldn't make it."

It's a short list of people who have beaten Woods nine times in any athletic pursuit, let alone in a row. But for LaCava, the fallout from his afternoon of on-court dominance was less than subtle.

"He did not talk to me the rest of the day," LaCava explained. "I didn't even get the old text, 'Dinner is ready,' because I stay across at the beach house. I didn't even get that text that night. I had to get take-out. He didn't announce he wasn't (talking), he just did it. I'm telling you, nine games in a row. Like I said, he's so competitive, even at something like that."

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 3, Tiger Woods

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 12:45 pm

After returning to competition at the Hero World Challenge in December 2016, Woods started the new year with an ambitious slate of tournament starts as he eyed his first full season since 2013. But he made it only three rounds, looking rusty en route to a missed cut at Torrey Pines before withdrawing abruptly in Dubai.

The “spasms” that led to that withdrawal turned out to be something far more serious, as Woods underwent his fourth and most invasive back surgery in April, a lumbar fusion. It brought with it an extensive rehabilitation, and at the Presidents Cup in September Woods humored the prospect that he might never again play competitive golf.

At Liberty National he also faced some scrutiny for an off-course incident from months prior. In May he was arrested for suspicion of DUI, an incident that produced a startling roadside video of an intoxicated Woods struggling to follow instructions from the arresting officer after driving erratically.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

While he was not drinking at the time, Woods was found to have a mix of several prescription medications in his system, including multiple painkillers. He checked himself into a private drug treatment program in July to address his dependency issues, and in October he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of reckless driving.

But the incident was barely a memory when Woods again made a return to competition in the Bahamas at the tournament he hosts. This time around he exceeded nearly every expectation, twice shooting 4-under 68 while tying for ninth among the 18-man field. Having re-tooled his swing following fusion surgery, Woods appeared relaxed, happy and healthy while briefly taking the lead during the tournament’s second round.

What lies ahead for Woods in 2018 remains uncertain, as the stop-and-start nature of this past season serves as a cautionary tale. But after a harrowing arrest and another serious surgery, he seems once again focused on his game, intent on chasing down a new crop of elite talent, some of whom are barely more than half his age.

Woods' initial comeback short-lived, leads to another back surgery

Article: Woods undergoes "successful" fourth back surgery

Article: Woods (back spasm) withdraws from Dubai

Article: Players disappointed Woods withdraws from Dubai

Really, again: Tiger undergoes fourth back surgery

Begay on Tiger: Future is 'extremely uncertain'

Woods arrested for DUI, enters diversion program after getting "professional help"

Article: Woods arrested for DUI in May

Article: Police say Woods had 5 drugs in system when arrested

Article: DUI affidavit states Tiger asleep in parked car

Dashcam video released of Tiger's DUI arrest

Begay, Rolfing: Tiger's arrest needs to be wakeup call

Photos: Tiger Woods' car during DUI arrest

Tiger Woods at his 2017 DUI court hearing.

Photos: Tiger Woods in court for DUI hearing

Article: Tiger gets 'professional help' for prescription meds

Tiger Woods at his 2017 DUI court hearing.

Article: Woods pleads in court guilty to reckless driving

Woods goes from unsure of his pro golf future to resuming full golf activities

Article: Doctor clears Woods for full golf activity six months after back surgery

Article: Tiger doesn't know what future holds

Article: Woods back to making full swings

Woods admits he might never return to competition

Making progress: Breaking down Tiger's driver swing

Woods returns to competition for first time since February at Hero World Challenge

Article: Hero comeback a success for healthy Woods

Article: Woods discusses his back: 'No issues at all, none'

Tiger Tracker: Woods finished T-9 in return to competition

Chamblee: 'I was wrong' about some of my Woods skepticism

Tiger, if you were hurting, would you tell us? 'Yeah, I'd tell you'

Woods out and about in 2017

Article: Video, images of Tiger's round with Trump

Article: Woods posts photo as 'Mac Daddy Santa'

Article: Tiger at U.S. Open sitting in Nadal's box

Article: Shirtless Tiger holds up a massive lobster

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 12:30 pm