Cut Line: Throwing out comparisons

By Rex HoggardMay 25, 2012, 8:23 pm

FORT WORTH, Texas – Jason Dufner is 36 holes away from becoming the first player to score the DFW Slam – victories at the Byron Nelson and Colonial in the same year – since Ben Hogan in 1946. If he’s not careful he will be saddled with a Texas-sized nickname – may we suggest the Lonesome Dufner.

Made Cut

Jason Hogan . . . eh, Dufner. Comparisons to the Hawk are not entirely unfounded. Both were/are all-world ball-strikers, driven to perfection with a serious love-hate relationship with their putters. Both were/have been incorrectly labeled aloof and both seem to have played/play the game sans a pulse.

So it was no surprise then that when Cut Line asked Dufner’s swing coach, Chuck Cook, who his man’s swing resembled the answer was easy.

“He looks a lot like Hogan,” Cook said on Friday from Italy. “Hogan had his arms in front of him all the time just like Jason.”

And just like the Hawk, Dufner seems to be peaking a little later in life, having won two of his last three starts, after beginning his career 0-for-156, and breaking free of the pack on Friday at the Crowne Plaza Inviational with a second-round 64 to take the clubhouse lead at 11 under par.

The comparisons are not lost on Dufner, although he quickly dismissed the notion with an economy of words that would make Hogan proud.

“You can’t copy that (swing),” Dufner said. “You can try, but you can’t copy that.”

Stewart Cink. The cliché “These guys are good” comes to mind when one reviews Cink’s week in Fort Worth.

Almost a year ago a fan won a contest on Facebook to play with Cink in the Colonial pro-am, but when the six-time PGA Tour winner checked his schedule and realized his oldest son’s high school graduation was this week he was confronted with a dilemma.

Davis Love III offered to take Cink’s spot in the pro-am, but he decided to fly to Texas on Tuesday, play the pro-am and withdraw from the Colonial to assure he didn’t miss his son’s big day

“I told him Davis would do it but he said, ‘No, I made a commitment I’m doing it,’” said Mac Barnhardt, Cink’s manager with Crown Sports Management.

In one of those good karma deals, Kyle Reifers, the man who replaced Cink in the field, rounded Colonial in 65 strokes on Thursday and made a leaderboard cameo before slumping on Friday.

Seems these guys are good people and good players.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

The price of pace of play. As distasteful as Morgan Pressel’s run in with an LPGA official’s stopwatch was last week, and it was, there is no ignoring the fact that at least the ladies circuit is trying to do something about the scourge that is slow play.

Pressel was assessed a slow play penalty during her semifinal match at the Sybase Match Play Championship last week, an incident compounded by the fact the match was on the clock because of the languid pace of her opponent Azahara Munoz.

“Pace of play is an issue, but in that situation, I’m not sure it should have been called,” Pressel told’s Randall Mell. “I’m a little upset, and I think I have a right to be. It was an unfortunate situation that could have changed the whole outcome of the tournament.”

Like a healthy diet, this doesn’t taste very good, but it’s still the right thing.

Tweet of the week: @Southpaw444 (Steve Flesch) “Apparently there was a break in a PGA Tour headquarters and all the slow play regulations were stolen out of the vault.”

Missed Cut

7-irons. Or is it the lad who windmills them? Either way, Rory McIlroy deserves a timeout following his outburst on Thursday at this week’s BMW PGA Championship.

At Wentworth’s par-5 12th hole in Round 1, the Ulsterman “double crossed” his second shot and ended up on the wrong side of an out-of-bounds line by a half inch. After a poor provisional shot, McIlroy sent the offending 7-iron sailing.

“It's pretty disappointing,” McIlroy said. “I feel like I'm playing well, I just need to go out there and shoot a score.”

Tour officials said they planned to review the incident and issue the appropriate penalty if one was merited, although if one were to ask the 7-iron, the culpability would be rather clear.

As for those who have turned this into a Tiger vs. Rory debate, comparing the heat Woods took when he kicked his club last month at Augusta National to the relatively gentle treatment McIlroy received this week, this isn’t about picking sides, it’s about deciding what’s acceptable behavior. And neither incident qualifies as acceptable.

Hogan’s (lonely) Alley. To be clear, this is not an indictment against the Crowne Plaza field, just the players who should be in it. Or maybe the blame should go to the PGA Tour schedule makers who have relegated the event to the post-Players, pre-U.S. Open wasteland.

With respect to the players who have braved 30 mph gusts and bottomless plates of Texas brisket this week – a list that includes two of the top 10 players in the Official World Golf Ranking and six of the top 10 on the FedEx Cup points list – a piece of the game’s past seems to be slipping away.

In this the numbers don’t lie. This week’s winner will earn 50 world ranking points, compared to 64 for the winner at this week’s BMW PGA Championship on the European Tour. Although that’s up slightly from last year (46), it’s below what the Colonial champion earned in the four previous outings (2007-’10).

Colonial, one of the Tour’s most well-liked courses, deserves better. Hogan, one of the game’s hardest workers and iconic figures, deserves better.

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.