Cut Line: Travelers reaches out to Newtown

By Rex HoggardJune 21, 2013, 8:57 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Thoughts and therapy on the road from Merion to TPC River Highlands.

Made Cut

The little tournament that could. The Tour doesn’t dole out “most improved” awards to tournaments, but if it did the Travelers Championship would be a perennial contender.

The “small market” stop regularly draws record crowds – in 2012 the Travelers gate was the second-best on Tour behind only the Waste Management Phoenix Open – via a collection of creative campaigns and programs, including a chatter flight from the U.S. Open to Hartford, Conn.

This week, however, the tournament once again exceeded expectations.

Following the horrific shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School last December in Newtown, Conn., about 48 miles from TPC River Highlands, tournament officials reached out to the community and asked what they could do to help.

“We met with a few families and the town and said, ‘What could we possibly do for you?’” said tournament director Nathan Grube. “Some of it is completely off the radar that they have asked to keep private, but there are other parts of it that are great.”

The tournament has pledged to indefinitely fund a First Tee program in Newtown and summer camps beginning this summer.

“We are going to stay in touch with them for years and years and years. We want to be a part of the recovery,” Grube said.

Justin Rose. On Tuesday the U.S. Open champion delivered the iconic “Top 10” list on the 'Late Show with David Letterman' (as an aside, that list wasn’t Dave’s best work).

Two days later Rose picked up where he left off at the Travelers Championship and had some trying to come up with a “Top 10” list of their own as to why he couldn’t become the first player since Ernie Els in 1997 to win the week after hoisting the Open trophy.

Even three bogeys through his first six holes on Thursday couldn’t slow Rose’s momentum. He finished with an opening 67 and has quickly proven himself adept at sidestepping the pitfalls that come with a maiden major.

Even Rose’s curious move to Excel Sports Management from 4 Sports & Entertainment this week was mitigated by the Englishman’s honesty.

“The timing is kind of ironic, I suppose, with everything that's happened,” Rose told Cut Line. “But it’s a decision I made quite some time ago and things take some time to figure themselves out.”

The best players are not always the best people, but in Rose’s case he seems as adept with a microphone as he is with a putter.

Sean Foley. The introspective swing coach knew when he signed on to work with Tiger Woods the fishbowl would be intense, and he has taken the nonstop analysis in stride.

What is lost in many reviews of Foley’s work, however, has been his ability to help a diverse group of players improve. Consider Rose and Hunter Mahan, who teed off in the last group on Sunday at Merion and opened his week at the Travelers with a 62.

“It’s a testament to Sean that what Justin is doing and what I’m doing and what Tiger is doing are completely different things,” Mahan said Thursday. “We all do different things and Sean has been able to help all of us.”

Lost in all the analysis is the only thing those three have in common – winning.


Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Merion. Maybe the setup wasn’t perfect, the logistics were less than accommodating and the bottom line not exactly what the USGA would prefer, but from a pure competitive point of view the long awaited return of the U.S. Open to the East Course was a success.

Just ask Zach Johnson, one of the more outspoken critics of the USGA’s setup last week. “Oh, I hope so,” he said when asked if the Open should return to Merion.

The East Course may not be a perfect fit for a regular spot in the U.S. Open rotation, but let’s hope it’s not another 32 years before the national championship returns to Merion.

Slow play. While reporting a story this week on the PGA Tour’s pace-of-policy it occurred to Cut Line that the circuit and its players don’t seem to be having the same conversation.

Officials will tell you it’s a math problem, that 26 groups (with a 156-player field) on an 18-hole golf course adds up to only one thing – slow rounds. But many players contend it’s a policy and implementation problem.

“A guy comes in, makes the cut on the number. An official is standing there and says, ‘You know what, actually you shot 1 over today not even. You had a bad time on (No.) 14 and you missed the cut.’” Lucas Glover said. “He would probably play faster next time.”

We don’t know the answer to the circuit’s slow-play problem but this much is clear, until the Tour and its players start having the same conversation the perception will remain that the pace-of-play problem in golf starts at the top.

Tweet of the week: @PaulGoydosPGA “We’ve been plagued by slow play for years, and it turns out it was a 14 year old that was the problem.”

Goydos actually tweeted that missive in April after Chinese amateur Guan Tianlang was assessed a stroke penalty for slow play at the Masters, but it seems apropos given the ongoing debate on how to speed up play on the PGA Tour.


Missed Cut

Small print. While Cut Line is not litigious, the Tour’s move on June 12 to nix Vijay Singh’s lawsuit following his dust-up with the circuit’s anti-doping policy sets a curious precedent.

Singh sued the Tour in May claiming the circuit “(violated) its duty of care and good faith” after he admitted to using the Ultimate Spray, which contained IGF-1, a growth factor like human growth hormone that is on the circuit’s banned substances list. Although Singh was later absolved of any doping violation, he filed the lawsuit on the eve of this year’s Players Championship.

The Tour moved this month to dismiss the suit in New York Supreme Court, claiming that when players sign their membership application they agree not to sue the Tour and adhere to all aspects of the Tour’s anti-doping policy, which doesn’t have a provision for outside legal action within its appeal guidelines.

The Tour declined to comment on the motion, and a quick survey of players on the TPC River Highlands practice tee on Friday suggests that if the circuit is legally protected from its members that is news to them.

Here’s a line we never thought we’d pen: It may be time to consider a union in golf.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

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. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


Playing with the pros

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Rory faces criticism

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President at the Presidents Cup


Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

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Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


Cart on the green


Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green


Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

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Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


Trump golf properties

Vandalism

Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

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Finances


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers


Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up


Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

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Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm