Cut Line: Talking Turkey

By Rex HoggardOctober 12, 2012, 8:08 pm

Hard to say whether this week’s Turkish Airlines World Golf Finals will help that country’s bid for the 2020 Olympics, but at least they have a golf course. Officials in Rio are still waiting for their TBD site, while anyone holding out hope John Daly will do the right thing, and play Q-School, should get used to disappointment.

Made Cut

Talking Turkey I. Give credit to organizers for wooing eight of the world’s top players to Antalya resort and delivering large crowds; now comes the hard part.

The Turkish Airlines World Golf Finals – an unsanctioned event that featured Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods, the world’s Nos. 1 and 2 – was billed as a global introduction as the country attempts to gain momentum for its ’20 Olympic bid.

Other than an embarrassing headbutting, by the director of the Turkish Golf Federation, no less, the event delivered, but the real test will be next year’s Turkish Open, the penultimate event on the 2013 European Tour schedule that will feature a proper field.

As for the headbutting, Cut Line will let it slide. Had U.S. Golf Association executive director Mike Davis headbutted “Bird Man” at this year’s U.S. Open we may have been spared his continued foolishness.

Captain America. Tiger Woods acknowledged this week that he would one day look forward to captaining a U.S. Ryder Cup team. In related item, the sun rose in the East.

“One day that would be fantastic,” Woods said. “It would be a huge honor; hopefully it doesn’t happen in the near future. I would like to be able to play for a lot more teams, but certainly one day, when my career is slowing down or it’s over, it would be huge to be part of a Ryder Cup from the captaincy side.”

What’s surprising is the amount of push-back Woods’ seemingly innocent take has caused. A healthy amount of the 133 comments on regarding the news blasted “Red Shirt” for, well, stating the obvious, primarily because of his pedestrian record in the matches (13-17-3).

But if a player’s record were the litmus test for captaincy we may have never gotten Paul Azinger (5-7-3) in the big chair, or America’s only victory in the biennial event in the last decade.

Tweet of the week: @JasonDufner “Don’t ever sit by one of those customer service counters at the airport. People getting hot and angry! Toxic energy.”

Guy doesn’t say much, but when he talks, eh, tweets, it’s gold.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Blame it on Rio. Architect Gil Hanse told Cut Line last month that he expects to break ground on the Olympic golf course in Brazil sometime this month and a PGA Tour official confirmed this week that the project was still on schedule despite a lingering land dispute.

Ty Votaw, the Tour’s executive vice president of communications and international affairs, said the plan is to have a test event at the Olympic course in 2015 and a recent mayoral election in Rio should help the project stay on schedule.

Luckily for Hanse & Co., there are 31 days in October.

European Tour. The circuit’s move to include starts in the Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup and Seve Trophy toward a player’s minimum number of starts seems long overdue, as if European players have a harder week on their schedule every two years than Samuel Ryder’s soiree.

But Cut Line had to wonder why officials stopped short of the team Grand Slam and didn’t dub the Tavistock Cup an official start. Seems like there are more European Tour players living in Orlando, Fla.’s Lake Nona and Isleworth communities than London.

Handle with care. A decision on anchoring and long putters is due this fall from the U.S. Golf Association and Royal & Ancient and news this week that the implement landed one Tour type on the DL likely won’t help matters.

Spencer Levin, who was spotted by Cut Line at TPC Boston last month practicing with a short putter, tore a ligament in his left thumb handling a long putter and had season-ending surgery on Tuesday in Los Angeles.

Levin tweaked his thumb while practicing with the long putter three weeks ago. Although the golf world is still unsure if the long putter will be legal, this latest episode suggests they can be lethal.

Missed Cut

Talking Turkey II. It seems altruism only goes so far, at least when it comes to the PGA Tour and the circuit’s need to protect its sponsors.

All eight players at this week’s Turkish Airlines World Golf Finals had to request “competing-event releases” to play the big-money boondoggle and, according to multiple sources, those releases came with strings that stretch all the way back to California.

The “Turkish Eight” had to agree to play the Open at least once over the next three years, a quid pro quo that is not uncommon for top players looking to take their talents to the four corners of the globe.

So, let’s get this straight. Growing the game and aiding Turkey’s Olympic bid, albeit for a healthy payday, is fine, just not at the expense of a longtime sponsor. Got it.

Daly dose. Bless “JD” and his big-hitting heart. He’s making the Fall Series rounds in his annual dash to earn his Tour card. Just don’t expect him to play Q-School like the rest of the play-for-pay world.

For the seventh consecutive year Daly – who is currently 137th in earnings and has not finished inside the top 125 in cash since 2005 – has not signed up to play the Fall Classic, but it seems he has no problem accepting sponsor exemptions at any Tour stop that will have him, including next week’s McGladrey Classic.

If tournament directors still consider Daly a draw worth burning a coveted exemption, fine, but it’s time for the Tour to step in and require players to make a good-faith attempt at relevancy via Q-School in order to collect those freebies.

Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

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.

Getty Images

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.