The PGA of America makes history with the election of a new secretary, the LPGA ends a historic year and Tiger Woods resumes his historic march with a new “swing consultant.”
The right person. Suzy Whaley didn’t set out to make history. The Connecticut club professional never intended to be a trailblazer, but then pioneers rarely do.
Whaley’s sweeping election to secretary of the PGA of America last Saturday made her the first female elected to serve as an officer for the association and puts her in line to become president in four years.
For Whaley, however, her decision to run for office was a chance to take what she does every day at TPC River Highlands – everything from player development to her creative junior programs – to a national level.
“For me it wasn’t about making history. For me it was about being a candidate that felt we could be a part of a team and part of a plan that could truly help us move forward,” Whaley told Cut Line.
Regardless of gender, the PGA is better prepared to move forward then they were a week ago.
That’s a wrap. Fitting that a day after Whaley broke through the PGA’s grass ceiling the LPGA wrapped up what many consider its best season.
What already qualified as an embarrassment of riches for commissioner Michael Whan ended with a roar when rookie of the year Lydia Ko won the CME Group Tour Championship and Stacy Lewis claimed the Player of the Year title.
Along the way Michelle Wie (U.S. Women’s Open) and Lexi Thompson (Kraft Nabisco Championship) joined the major championship club and Lewis and Inbee Park traded the top spot in the Rolex ranking with compelling regularity.
It was a best-case scenario for Whan and Co. with equal parts parity and star power. The challenge now? Doing it all again in 2015.
Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)
No. 5 for Tiger. News late last week that Tiger Woods had teamed with a new set of eyes – in this case “swing consultant” Chris Como – was as surprising as it was sensational.
While the jury is still out on Como, by most accounts the Texas-based coach is an intellectual and an idyllic fit for the former world No. 1.
“He speaks Tiger’s language and his biomechanics background fits perfectly with what he is interested in,” said one longtime PGA Tour swing coach.
But there was some concern that Como, who was virtually unknown in general golf circles before last week, may be a tad too technical for a player who has, by some accounts, become too technical in recent years.
Still, the 37-year-old swing coach was saying all the right things and if he can keep Woods off the “DL” – he’s played a full season just three times in the last seven years – Tiger’s fifth different swing as a professional will be viewed as at least a step in the right direction.
“The idea of having a person rely on a teacher is bad,” Como told Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte. “You have to know about yourself, rely on yourself.”
Tweet of the week:
There is only 1 coach Tiger could have hired that wouldn't cause such scrutiny, Butch Harmon. TW is a different player now. More technical.— Steve Flesch (@Steve_Flesch) November 26, 2014
When a rookie is not a rookie. Brooks Koepka completed a memorable season on the European Tour by winning that circuit’s Rookie of the Year Award.
Koepka, who won this month’s Turkish Airlines Open, now moves on to the PGA Tour where he begins his first full season in the United States, just not as a rookie year.
Because of the Tour’s small print the young American will not be a rookie in 2015, a technicality that will keep him from sweeping the rookie of the year awards on both sides of the pond.
It likely doesn’t matter to Koepka, but it is a shame when convoluted rules get in the way of a good story.
Monday morning quarterback. PGA of America officials raised a few eyebrows last week when they revealed that had this year’s PGA Championship gone to a Monday finish it would have cost the association an estimated $750,000.
Instead, officials rushed things along in diminishing light and the threat of poor weather by making the final two groups essentially play the final hole as a foursome.
“It’s all about the competition first and foremost. If it goes into Monday, so be it,” PGA CEO Pete Bevacqua told Cut Line. “There’s always a possibility you are going to be playing into Monday. Was it rushed? Certainly. [But] we were happy with the ending.”
Judging by Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler’s reaction to the finish, it’s likely they were even less pleased with the “rushed” finish.
Cut Line is a fan of any move that speeds up play, but considering what was on the line at Valhalla the impromptu two-minute drill may have been a tad much.