Cut Line: Woods remains front and center

By Rex HoggardFebruary 7, 2015, 1:14 am

SAN DIEGO – It’s not always sunny in Southern California, as Tiger Woods learned on Thursday, but the legal clouds certainly parted in the United Kingdom for Rory McIlroy. The game’s top two draws highlight this week’s Cut Line.

Made Cut

Settle-ing in. So maybe it cost Rory McIlroy $20 million, can you put a price tag on clarity of thought when you’re closing in on golf history?

That’s how much it cost the world No. 1 to settle his lawsuit with his former management firm, Horizon Sports, this week.

The trial, which stemmed from a contract McIlroy claimed charged excessive fees, would have been a distraction as the Northern Irishman prepared to win the final leg of the Grand Slam in April at Augusta National.

There is no sugarcoating this – $20 million is a steep price to pay – but if McIlroy slips a green jacket over his shoulders in April it will have been worth every penny.

A legend’s legacy. Charlie Sifford died on Tuesday. He was 92.

Sifford was the first African-American to play on the PGA Tour, earning him the distinction of being dubbed the “Jackie Robinson of golf” when he broke the game’s color barrier in 1961.

The two-time PGA Tour winner was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in November and his impact on the game became even more evident on Wednesday when Woods addressed his passing.

“As I've alluded to in the past, he's like my grandpa that I never had,” Woods said. “It's been a long night and it's going to be a long few days. But he fought, and what he did, the courage it took for him to stick with it and be out here and play, I probably wouldn't be here, my dad would never have picked up the game, who knows if the clause would still exist or not. But he broke it down.”

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Withdrawal. Why an MDF for Woods? Because Cut Line doesn’t dole out incomplete grades.

For all the grassy knoll conspiracy types, know this – Woods was hurting (although in text messages with Golf Channel’s Notah Begay he said it was not an injury that forced him to withdraw, just tightness) at Torrey Pines. From his second tee shot until the moment he climbed the fairway to his 11th green, the pain was evident.

And for those who seem to think Woods withdrew because he was playing poorly – he was 2 over par when he bolted the course – consider that things were much worse last Friday when he posted his highest score on Tour as a professional (82) and yet he finished the round.

“It's frustrating that [his back] started shutting down like that. I was ready to go,” Woods said after his third withdrawal in his last eight official PGA Tour starts. “I had a good warm-up session the first time around. Then we stood out here and I got cold, and everything started deactivating again.” 

Until Woods is healthy and plays something close to a sustained schedule there is no way to accurately assess his game, although it should be pointed out that play stoppages and delays are a part of professional golf and dealing with them is a job requirement.

One thing you can say for Woods, he changed the conversation. On Friday at Torrey Pines no one was talking about the yips.

The task at hand. As well intentioned as the U.S. Ryder Cup task force was following another American loss last September, the 11-member panel may be reaching a point of diminishing returns.

Following multiple meetings, including Monday’s gathering in San Diego, they seem no closer to a solution and one source familiar with the meetings told Cut Line not to expect any announcement until the spring.

“I’d love to do it. Whoever is the next captain I believe they want other players involved who would be the next few captains,” Fred Couples, a consensus favorite to captain the next U.S. team in 2016, told Cut Line this week. “It would be fun.”

There are baffling rumors that the PGA of America is not leaning in Couples’ direction, which would suggest a continuation of the status quo and an indication that the task force’s conversations have taken a wrong turn.

Missed Cut

A bad loop. For the last few months the Tour has met every request from the Association of Professional Tour Caddies with varying degrees of cynicism and outright subterfuge, according to recent legal filings.

Those unproductive meetings have sprung a lawsuit, filed on Tuesday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, that challenges the Tour’s practice of not compensating the caddies for wearing bibs.

While most lawsuits are contentious, this one has all the markings of a particularly nasty episode, with the lead lawyer for the caddies sending a letter to Tour players on Thursday claiming the circuit is “blowing smoke and creating havoc.”

Although the issue is complicated, considering the nuanced relationship between independent contractors (players) hiring independent contractors (caddies), it is worth mentioning that this is the same court that ruled against the NCAA in the O’Bannon vs. NCAA case last year – a suit which argued that upon graduation, a former student athlete should become entitled to financial compensation for NCAA's commercial uses of his or her image.

The Tour, a similarly powerful organization with unlimited resources, may want to stop talking about what this may cost the players and consider what it could cost the Tour.

Tweet of the week:

Too many cooks. There may not be a more lonely man than a struggling golfer, but that only applies during a round.

Otherwise, the Tour is filled with well-intended, would-be helpers who are more than happy to offer advice. Even if the player in need of help is Woods.

Prior to Wednesday’s pro-am, as Woods mulled around the Torrey Pines practice tee, there was no shortage of players who approached the former world No. 1 offering pro bono advice on his chipping woes.

“I don’t know much about the swing. I did notice there was a lot going on.” Couples said. “On the range we stood there in the fog and he had a lot of people try to help him and stuff. I just thought it was kind of funny.”

Misery, it seems, attracts company.

Getty Images

Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome

By Grill Room TeamDecember 18, 2017, 3:22 pm

Sergio and Angela Garcia's super 2017 keeps getting more ... Super ... Dome. (+1 awful blog lede.)

The couple started the year with Sergio's win at the Masters, then embarked on a whirlwind green jacket media tour, then kicked off El Clasico, then attended Wimbledon, then got married, then announced they were expecting their first child ...

2017 Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

And now, they're throwing each other passes on the New Orleans Saints' home turf at the Superdome.

Man, it must be so cool do that at the Silverdome. ... ... ... I'm sorry, it is the Superdome, brothers.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

Article: Thomas (64) rallies to defend CIMB title

Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double

Article: Thomas refuses to let disastrous hole derail TOC win

Article: Worst week ever ends with another title at Sony Open

Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

Take a look: Thomas’ scorecard from his amazing 59

Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

Article: Thomas sets U.S. Open record with 9-under 63

Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row

Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut

Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

Article: Thomas joins the club – the major club

Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

Article: Thomas wins the battle of buddies over Spieth

The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ

Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year

And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season

Article: Thomas caps torrid 12-month run with CJ Cup win

Photo Galleries: Best of ...

Best of: Justin Thomas and Jillian Wisniewski

Best of: Justin Thomas through the years

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 12:30 pm

Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.