Cut Line Tiger in 140 Characters

By Rex HoggardNovember 20, 2010, 3:35 am

Tiger Woods’ arrival in Tweet-dom caused a tectonic stir this week, with 235,000 followers and counting, signing on to hear from a suddenly media-friendly world No. 2. Among the Tweets followers should not expect from @TigerWoods:

“See you in Kapalua.”

“Anyone want a Ryder Cup rain jacket?”

“Suddenly, second doesn’t suck that bad.”

“It is what it isn’t.”

“Phil for 2012 Ryder Cup captain.”

“It wasn’t my swing or personal life that cost me in ’10. It was the new grooves.”

“Did Jim Furyk really kiss the FedEx Cup?”

“I’m going to become a vegetarian.”

“The major venues really didn’t suit my game this year.”

You get the idea.

Made Cut

Scottish Open. They don’t play Augusta National’s Par-3 course for the Masters Tournament, you don’t settle for a game at U.S. Cellular Field if seats at Wrigley Field are available, and you don’t schlep all the way to Scotland to play a parkland course – or at least you don’t anymore.

Word last week that Scottish Open officials finally planned to play the event on a links-style course was good news. That Castle Stuart, a northern layout that recently opened to rave reviews, is on the hook for the 2011 event was like Christmas in November.

“Cut Line” made a scouting trip to Castle Stuart earlier this season and offers the best accolade one can afford a Scottish links – it looks like it’s been there for 100 years.

In-Kyung Kim. A lot of tour types are charitable. Many go well beyond the normal bounds of generosity. What Kim did last week at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational was something else altogether.

Following Kim’s final-round 64 and three-shot victory in Mexico she donated her entire winner’s check of $220,000 – nearly 20 percent of her total winnings in 2010 – to charity. Half of Kim’s haul went to Ochoa’s educational fund and the other half to a charity in the United States.

“I went to Lorena's party, and I saw the kids, how she is helping kids with her foundation, and I [decided] if I win, I will be giving all the money to the people who need help,” Kim said.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Designated denial. The designated tournament proposal had all the markings of a rain-maker. The plan was simple – pick two or three wanting events and rope the top 30 players (read Woods and Mickelson) into playing at least one each year.

Why then did the perfect plan get nixed by devilish details?

Although the details of this week’s Tour Policy Board meeting in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., remain unclear, the demise of the designated tournament proposal likely rested on two factors – the perceived stigma of being labeled a “designated event” and the reluctance of top players (read Woods and Mickelson) to have their schedules mandated.

Word is the Tour is going to ask top players to add a struggling event to their schedules. Isn’t that like making a speed limit voluntary?

Tiger Woods. Call it preemptive, call it an epiphany, whatever coaxed Woods out of his media shell in recent days is as good a sign as any that the world No. 2 is settling into his new life.

From his appearance on ESPN’s “Mike & Mike in the Morning” show to a column in Newsweek, Woods has opted to tackle the one-year anniversary of the Nov. 27 accident that set off revelations of his serial infidelity head on, even if much of the inventory seemed a bit overly familiar.

“It's amazing how much better I feel internally each and every day. How thankful I am to have the connection to my kids,' Woods said during the Mike & Mike interview. “I feel so much better and everything is in much better perspective now.”

Given the timing, the media offensive is understandable. We just wonder where all that media savvy was last year when he could have really used it?

Tweet of the Week: @TigerWoods “Yep, it’s me. I think I like this Twitter thing. You guys are awesome. Thanks for all the love.”

It’s a perfect medium for Woods, who rarely gives an answer over 140 characters.

Missed Cut

Ryo Ishikawa. Lee Westwood was the first to jump ship, bypassing the green fairways of the PGA Tour for the comfort of the home tour, followed by Rory McIlroy and now Ishikawa . . . wait, what?

The 19-year-old told reporters last week, “I have no interest (in changing tours). I want to do what I did this year.”

Westwood and McIlroy are established stars with Tour victories and a home circuit in Europe that is much stronger than it gets credit for on this side of the pond. Ishikawa has a grand total of 16 Tour starts, half of which are missed cuts, and a single top-10.

Or maybe the “missed cut” should go to the Official World Golf Ranking, which awards far too many points to Japan Golf Tour events. Ishikawa’s recent victory in the Mitsui Sumitomo Visa Taiheiyo was worth just four fewer world ranking points than Robert Garrigus’ win at Disney last week.

Westwood and McIlroy have nothing to prove. Ishikawa has proven nothing.

New grooves. The new rule cost manufacturers millions in research and retooling, forced the Tour into the unsavory, and legally awkward, position of implementing enforcement and cost Mickelson a few style points when he “proved a point” earlier this year with an old Ping wedge.

And for what? Bubkas, at least according to the frat brothers.

Driving accuracy – which, in theory, was supposed to improve as Tour types sought out short grass to compensate for less spin – remained on par with previous years. This year’s Tour average was 63.51 percent compared with 62.91 percent in 2009 and 63.16 percent in 2008. Ditto for proximity to the hole, with this year’s average approach shot 7 feet, 4 inches from the hole compared to 7 feet, 3 inches in 2009 and 7 feet, 5 inches in 2008.

“I don’t think there is any correlation between total driving and the money list,” said Joe Durant, who finished second in driving accuracy but 124th on the money list. “Total driving is a thing of the past.”

Unfortunately for the rest of us, aggressive grooves are now a thing of the past. And for what?

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.