Cut Line: USGA's hi-tech rule good news for everyone

By Rex HoggardNovember 22, 2013, 11:07 pm

Golf’s rule makers headline this week’s list by digging a line in the high-tech sand, while Olympic officials continue to scramble in an attempt to turn sand into a golf course that will be ready in time for the 2016 Olympics.

Made Cut

HiDef do-over. The recently announced tweaks by golf’s ruling bodies to end super-slow motion rule violations is good news to everyone, even Tiger Woods.

While USGA officials avoided an arm-chair decision on Woods’ violation during this year’s BMW Championship, which was prompted by a slow-motion breakdown of the infraction, the common sense notion that an infraction is not warranted if it wouldn’t be evident without the aid of technology seems logical.

The rule change, however, emboldened some to call for an end to viewer call-ins, which seems extreme and counterproductive. Viewers call in possible violations all the time, but most are dismissed after a review of the tape by an official. Sometimes those call-ins result in an uncomfortable conversation with the player, but invariably protect the entire field.

And isn’t that what the Rules of Golf are supposed to do?

The Icemon cometh. With an ailing wrist and a tank not even close to being full, Henrik Stenson completed a historic double last Sunday with his victory at the DP World Tour Championship.

Stenson claimed the Race to Dubai trophy less than two months after winning the Tour Championship in Atlanta and the FedEx Cup.

The Swede’s transatlantic tear – which includes three victories in his last seven starts and seven top-3 finishes since July – has made him flush with prize money and bonus cash and propelled him to third in the World Golf Ranking.

Not bad for a guy who was ranked 113th at this point last year. He also endured what appeared at the time a financial haymaker with the collapse of Stanford Financial.

Tweet of the week: @jarrodlylepga (Jarrod Lyle) “Now everything has settled down, I want to send a big thank you to everybody for your support at the Aussie Masters.”

Lyle made the cut at the Australian Masters in his first event back since beating leukemia for the second time. After watching the emotional return it is worth pointing out that it would take a lot more than 140 characters to explain how thankful Lyle really is.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

A coup and a comeback. According to various reports this week, including a lengthy story on, current USGA president Glen Nager attempted to realign the association’s management structure by proposing a long-term chief executive and block Tom O’Toole from becoming president.

Both attempts failed and by most indications Nager will cut ties with the USGA after his term expires this year.

That the “golf guys,” a term used for O’Toole and executive director Mike Davis, prevailed is good news considering the duo’s impact on the association in recent years and their no-nonsense management styles.

That Nager felt compelled to reinvent the USGA is concerning. Maybe the association needs to be run more like a business, but running a business is not now, nor should it ever be, the association’s primary goal.

Blame it on Rio. While 2016 may seem like a lifetime away, when organizers of the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil start putting together flow charts for the construction of the host golf course it is, as Yogi Berra once figured, getting late early.

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said this week that the irrigation system for the new course, which is being designed by Gil Hanse, should arrive soon, but he did acknowledge that things haven’t gone as smoothly as he would have liked.

“Actually the progress is reasonably good. We think the timeline is in order. We were really concerned there, as you know, for a good period of time,” Finchem said. “But I am going to go down there in the spring and look at it.”

The plan was to host an event at TPC Timetable sometime next year to test the new venue, but at this rate competitors may be asked to bring buckets of water with them to irrigate the parched turf.

Missed Cut

Cup confusion. During a World Cup press conference this week at Royal Melbourne, PGA of Australia CEO Brian Thorburn began with an interesting take on the history of the event.

“Australia is very proud of its involvement, and I haven’t told Tim (Finchem) this but I have got a photograph in my office of Kel Nagle and Peter Thomson signed by each of them from the Canada Cup in 1955 or whichever year it was. I think they were the inaugural winners,” Thorburn said.

“That is right,” Finchem replied.

Only problem, Roberto De Vicenzo and Tony Cerda won the first Canada Cup in 1953, which was the precursor to the World Cup. Nagle and Thomson won in 1954.

Revisionist history aside, this week’s World Cup was supposed to be a tune up for the 2016 Games, but it still has the look of a “silly season” outing.

Officials altered the format to mirror how the Games will be played in ’16 and figured Royal Melbourne would woo the game’s best and brightest, but if this week’s field is any indication golf in the Olympics may need some more selling.

Matt Kuchar and Kevin Streelman are playing for the U.S., Nos. 7 and 46 in the World Ranking.

Four days at Royal Melbourne may not exactly be the “thrill of victory,” but one would have expected better.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

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.

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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.