Davis Love III appears poised to get a second chance for Ryder Cup glory as a captain, Vijay Singh and Retief Goosen are looking to spark the second half of their careers and Riviera is proving to be second to none in this week’s edition of Cut Line.
Throwback Thursday. As the top of the game continues to trend younger and younger – think Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – it was refreshing to see a pair of veterans atop the Northern Trust Open leaderboard Thursday.
Vijay Singh and Retief Goosen shared the first-round lead following opening rounds of 66. Combined, the two front-runners are 97 years old and Singh won his first Tour title (1993) the same year Spieth was born.
The face of golf is getting younger every week, but on the right golf courses and on the right week it’s encouraging that it’s not always a young man’s game.
Tweet of the week: @GrahamDeLaet (Graham DeLaet) “If I were doing a bucket list for someone, my top 5 non-major courses on Tour: Riviera, Colonial, Muirfield Village, Innisbrook, Harbour Town.”
Personally, we would trade Muirfield Village for, say, Sea Island or Quail Hollow, but a solid list nonetheless.
Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)
Tough task. The 11-member U.S. Ryder Cup task force was charged with coming up with something new, something that would end America’s ills in the biennial matches and give the event a much needed boost of parity.
Whether Davis Love III, who ias expected to be named the 2016 U.S. captain on Tuesday, will be that new beginning remains to be seen, but without any further details it’s hard not to consider the move an opportunity lost.
Love was a solid captain in 2012 – he did, after all, build a four-point lead heading into Sunday singles play – but it remains unclear why Fred Couples didn’t get a closer look.
On Feb. 4, Couples told GolfChannel.com that he spoke with PGA of America chief executive Pete Bevacqua in December, planned to talk with president Derek Sprague soon and was excited about the opportunity to captain a Ryder Cup team.
That was two days after the last task force meeting. Maybe Couples did get a fair look, but the timing would suggest otherwise.
Fair play. Attorneys for a group of caddies who filed a lawsuit against the PGA Tour earlier this month in U.S. District Court in San Francisco on Thursday withdrew a motion for an injunction to protect the caddies.
Lawyers originally filed the motion for injunctive relief after hearing “rumblings” that the Tour was asking players to dismiss caddies who were involved in a potential lawsuit, but Thursday’s filing indicated the circuit has taken a softer stance.
“[The Tour] has informed the players on the PGA Tour, Champions Tour, and Web.com Tour that the Tour is in no way suggesting or requiring that any member take any action against any caddie solely as a result of the lawsuit,” Thursday’s filing read.
It’s encouraging that the Tour caddies don’t need the courts to protect them, but it’s also an indication of how contentious this lawsuit could get.
Short but not sweet. Each year the Tour arrives at Riviera and the golf world marvels at the meanest short hole in tournament golf.
At just 315 yards, Riv’s 10th hole provokes a disproportionate level of anxiety among the game’s best and brightest.
“I'm so scared to death of the hole,” Bubba Watson said Thursday. “It just looks worse and worse, as I get older, it looks worse. It's very difficult.”
No. 10’s advantage seems to be largely psychological considering that it ranked 439th last year on Tour in difficulty, playing to a 4.025 average. It’s a perception that will only grow given this year’s hard and fast conditions.
The 10th may be the best short par 4 on Tour, but players have long, and unpleasant, memories when it comes to one of the circuit’s most confined holes.
Tweet of the week II: @BenCraneGolf (Ben Crane) “Scariest short Par 4 on Tour. Borderline unfair when firm.”
Straight from the “middle of the now,” Crane delivered a perfectly measured assessment of Riviera ‘s10th hole after a ShotLink snapshot of Scott Piercy’s misadventure on the par 4 (he made a double-bogey-6) went viral on Thursday.
Worlds away. It was hardly surprising that Tiger Woods won’t play the Honda Classic. The former world No. 1 announced last week that he wouldn’t return to the Tour until his “game is tournament-ready,” and expecting him to turn things around so quickly was unrealistic.
Still, by skipping the Honda Classic, Woods was guaranteed not to move back into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking, which meant he would not qualify for the WGC-Cadillac Championship.
Getting his game back in shape is a priority, but it’s no less shocking when Woods – who has built a Hall of Fame career on his play in the WGC's alone (he has 18 WGC victories) – isn’t in the deepest field of the new year.