Cut Line The WD edition

By Rex HoggardJune 12, 2010, 12:39 am

A week seemingly defined by withdrawals was dominated by one player (Erik Compton) who refused to take a knee and 18 others who rewarded St. Jude Classic officials with a metaphorical knee to the gut.

Made Cut

Erik Compton. When we spotted the two-time heart transplant recipient on the Muirfield Village practice tee just before dusk last Sunday he didn’t have the look of a man bound for the U.S. Open. Fresh from a final-round 82 and exhausted, if he made it back to his hotel room we would have considered it a victory of sorts.

But on Monday afternoon, following 36 holes of Open qualifying and a three-hole playoff, Compton beat the odds, again, and will play in his first national championship.

Compton’s tale got even better on Wednesday when we called him and were greeted with the following message, “My phone is at the bottom of the ocean. Leave your name and number so I can call you back.”

Compton’s phone fell overboard during a recent fishing trip in south Florida. Seems about right for a pro who plays his best golf when he appears in over his head.

Tiger Woods. OK, the world No. 1 may be getting a hefty appearance fee to go back Down Under to defend his Australian Masters title, although chances are not as many zeros as he got pre-No. 27, but his impact on the game is undeniable.

Dale Lynch, swing coach for the likes of Aaron Baddeley and Geoff Ogilvy who is also involved in a golf course project in Australia, said Woods’ appearance last year spiked interest across the country, and his early commitment to this year’s championship will give organizers that much more time to market his appearance.

His current issues aside, Woods is good for the game and his early commitment is worth a kudo.

U.S. Golf Association. During a recent conversation with USGA executive David Fay about the association’s shift toward public access venues for the U.S. Open, he pointed out the importance of holding the national championship at publically-owned facilities like Bethpage, Torrey Pines and Chambers Bay in 2015. He also made it clear the expansion was not complete.

“The only missing component would be a privately owned stand-alone golf course and that may be resolved very quickly,” Fay said.

Cog Hill outside Chicago and Erin Hills in Wisconsin both fit that description and have been rumored as possible sites for a future U.S. Open. Expect an announcement on this as early as next week.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Revisionist. We like Justin Rose, hard not to, but the Englishman had months to punch his ticket into next week’s Open, to say nothing of 36 holes on Monday in Columbus, Ohio, and those who used Rose’s Open miss as a chance to question the USGA’s entry policies are revisionist, at best, and opportunist, at worst.

“I keep saying this until I'm blue in the face,' Fay told the Associated Press. 'It's not the best field in golf. It never pretended to be. It's the most democratic championship. In a perfect world, we wouldn't have special exemptions. But if you can keep half the field open to qualifiers ... that's why we have 9,000 entries.”

Haven’t had a chance yet, but when we ask Rose, we bet he will agree.

Missed Cut

Withdrawals. Some took umbrage with the smattering of withdrawals following Monday morning’s opening round of U.S. Open qualifying, but we have less of a concern with Pat Perez bolting central Ohio after his a.m. 73 than with the 18 players who opted out of playing this week’s St. Jude Classic at the last minute.

The timing and uncertainty of Open qualifying – not to mention the logistics of a West Coast Open – can make committing to the Memphis stop a challenge, but when the list of available alternates dips all the way to Jay Delsing, a journeyman who hasn’t played more than eight events in a season since 2007, it might be time for the Tour to step in. As one long-time Tour manager put it, “The Tour, tournament organizers, volunteers and charities deserve better than this.”

Odds makers. “Cut Line” is no stranger to the Ladbrokes betting house tucked just down North Street from the Old Course in St. Andrews but we won’t be making any bets this year if this is the best the odds makers can do.

Ladbrokes has Woods and Phil Mickelson listed as co-favorites for next week’s U.S. Open, 8-to-1. OK, Woods won convincingly the last time the Open was played adjacent Carmel Bay and Lefty may currently be the best player in golf, if not World Ranking math, but we have to wonder if our friends across the pond have been out of pocket for the last seven months.

The big left-hander is a five-time Open bridesmaid and Woods is not looking exactly like the guy who lapped the field in 2000. At 26-to-1 we have two words for you – Dustin Johnson.

John Daly. According to court documents obtained by the Palm Beach (Fla.) Post the big man has filed a lawsuit against PGA National, the PGA Tour and the Children’s Healthcare Charity, the non-profit organization and primary charity of the Honda Classic.

According to the lawsuit Daly suffered a rib injury when a woman walked in front of him while he was swinging to take a picture of him during the 2007 Honda Classic. According to the report Daly is seeking $100 million in damages.

This from the same man who just days ago Tweeted: “Headed toward Memphis this weekend. Ready to get settled and get ready for a great tournament and for some great children – St. Judes.”

But please, no pictures.

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Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.

Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

“I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

“The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

He's making his first start in the event.

''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

How rare is his missing the cut there?

The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.