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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McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger

By Associated PressJanuary 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.

The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.

McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.

McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.

''Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn't. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,'' McIlroy said. ''But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.''

Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.

''After that 3-plus months of a re-set, I'm very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I've been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.''

McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.

''I've only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he's had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is ... he's a totally different person,'' McIlroy said. ''Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It's just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.''

The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.

''I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I'm at,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I'll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.''

The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.

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Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel

By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 3:29 pm

If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days of engaging in pre-tournament hijinks at HSBC-sponsored events were over, then you don't know the Swedish Superman.

Ahead of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the 2016 champion golfer of the year decided to have some fun riding (and pretend-spanking) a camel:

If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGC-HSBC Champions back in October, when Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li and Hideki Matsuyama took place in this hire-wire act:

Two weeks later, Stenson revealed a rib injury, and a report from the U.K.'s Telegraph stated "that not only was the Shanghai caper to blame, but that Stenson is annoyed about being persuaded to do it in the first place."

Stenson brushed back at that report in this Instagram post, saying that his "comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal."

I’m disappointed to have to pre-emptively withdraw from the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, I was looking forward to this important year-end event on the European Tour. At this point I am back home in Orlando waiting to do a scan on my ribs and get the necessary rest. I am still hoping for a quick recovery and have not ruled out playing in Dubai next week at this point. My comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal. The plan as of now will be to participate in the DP World Championship if my body is back to 100%. H

A post shared by Henrik Stenson (@henrikstenson) on

And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.

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Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

“I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

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Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.