Cut Line Trash-Talk Tour Style

By Rex HoggardNovember 13, 2010, 5:21 am

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The marketing minds who dubbed this slice of central Florida “imagineering” the happiest place on earth never had to cajole a downhill, down grain 15-footer into the hole for birdie to keep their jobs.

Had they faced such a harsh reality Walt Disney World Resort may have gone with something closer to “It’s better than Sheboygan.” Still, Disney provides the perfectly apropos backdrop to the season finale and the year’s ultimate “Cut Line.”

Made Cut

Trash-talk. “Cut Line” is digging on the smack talk between Rickie Fowler, Aaron Baddeley and Troy Merritt – even if it’s mostly of the Twitter variety and relatively tame compared to, say, the venom spewed by the NBA’s Kevin Garnett.

Baddeley had his picture taken with the 2010 Kodak trophy, which was won by Kevin Streelman, and texted it to Merritt, while Fowler, who tied for the Kodak lead with a 6 footer on the Magnolia Course’s 17th hole on Friday, Tweeted, “And we’re tied at the top thanks to (Aaron Baddeley)! Nice birdie Badds!”

Fine, it may be on the soft side of Garnett’s on-court histrionics, but for golf that ranks right up there with “Your momma is so ugly . . .”

Shaun Micheel. The Children’s Miracle Network Classic is Micheel’s first event since his mother died and the soft-spoken former PGA Championship winner was predictably reticent at an event that normally fixates on the insular notion that a lost Tour card is reason to crawl into a pot bunker for an impromptu pity party.

“I had to help carry my mom’s body out of her house,” Micheel said on Wednesday. “The sun was coming up and people were going on with their everyday lives and I’m thinking they don’t know what just happened. It showed me that life goes on.”

Kind of puts things in perspective for the guy who finishes 126th in earnings on Sunday.

Sid Wilson. One of the good guys got his gold watch this week.

Wilson’s name has never showed up on a leaderboard or even a Tour tee sheet, but the circuit’s vice president of player relations has left his mark on a tour that had an earnings average of $104,000, or about $1 million less than it is now, when he set up shop in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

Wilson started his Tour career in 1987 in the public relations department, moved to player relations in 1993 and has handled the sometimes unenviable job of kid gloving Tour types with the patience and tact of an U.N. negotiator.

Predictably, after 23 years Wilson’s golden plan is simple – play golf.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Michelle Wie. We’ve watched and wondered, through bad wrist injuries and even worst blows to a developing psyche, if the Hawaiian phenom would, or could, live up to all the expectations.

In recent years she’s rallied, won and, more importantly, developed. But Thursday’s news that Wie withdrew from the Lorena Ochoa Invitational with an ailing back may be the most concerning of all her setbacks.

In retrospect, shaken confidence and a shaky wrist seem trite compared to a 21 year old with a balky back.

Kodak Challenge. It’s hard to get jazzed about a season-long race at say, the John Deere Classic but we have to admit the $1 million free-for-all has added a measure of intrigue to the season finale.

Three lively contenders in Fowler, Baddeley and Merritt and the winner-take-all intensity of it all has created a compelling undercard, but that was until Merritt’s group inched in nearly two holes behind Fowler on Friday.

They teed off 10 minutes apart. Does Kodak not make a stopwatch?

Missed Cut

European Tour. Lost amid the hyperbole of this week’s announcement that Rory McIlroy was done with his American experiment is a move this year by the European circuit to increase the minimum number of tournaments its players must play in 2011.

Starting next season European members will need at least 13 starts to maintain status, up one from this season. The move was a not-so-veiled attempt to keep its talent at home, but it may never be put into practice.

One longtime European insider told “Cut Line” this week there has been plenty of pushback over the new minimum and it may be repealed before it does any more harm.

Corey Pavin. Captain America inched closer to Captain Curmudgeon status this week, lashing back at Sun Mountain, the embattled rain-gear provider at this year’s Ryder Cup.

“I’ve tried to go high road,” Pavin told Golf World’s Tim Rosaforte last week at Harding Park. “But Sun Mountain kind of threw us under the bus (in an interview with the Associated Press), and that’s what bothers me.”

At worst Sun Mountain was protecting its brand, which took a beating in the wake of waterproof-gate. At best Pavin is trying to rewrite history.

Tweet of the week: @PaulAzinger “For those of you that keep asking, I will not be Ryder Cup captain in 2012 here in the United States. Thanks for your support. Go USA!”

Sorry to hear that, but it does clear the deck for a 2013 Presidents Cup captains gig, no?

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

Masters victory

Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative

Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket

Man of the people

Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief

Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together

Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018

Departure from TaylorMade

Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'

Victory at Valderrama

Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
Getty Images

Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

Well, this is a one new one.

According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.

PGA Tour suspends Hensby for anti-doping violation

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 8:02 pm

Mark Hensby has been suspended for one year by the PGA Tour for violating the Tour’s anti-doping policy by failing to provide a sample after notification.

The Tour made the announcement Monday, reporting that Hensby will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

The statement reads:

The PGA Tour announced today that Mark Hensby has violated the Tour Anti-Doping Policy for failing to provide a drug testing sample after notification and has been suspended for a period of one year. He will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

Hensby, 46, won the John Deere Classic in 2004. He played the Tour this past year, playing just 14 events. He finished 142nd on the money list. He once ranked among the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking but ranks No. 1,623 today.

The Sunshine Tour recently suspended player Etienne Bond for one year for failing a drug test. Players previously suspended by the PGA Tour for violating the anti-doping policy include Scott Stallings and Doug Barron.

The PGA Tour implemented revisions to its anti-doping program with the start of the 2017-18 season. The revisions include blood testing and the supplementation of the Tour’s prohibited list to include all of the substances and methods on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list. As part of this season’s revisions, the Tour announced it would also begin reporting suspensions due to recreational drug use.

The Tour said it would not issue further comment on Hensby's suspension.