Hold Your Ground

By Rex HoggardApril 3, 2009, 4:00 pm
Winds blew the field off the golf course Thursday at the Shell Houston Open and may delay this weeks cut on the PGA Tour until Saturday, but here at Cut Line we wait for no weather.

  • Arnold Palmer: It was a sight almost as grand as the walk-off moment going on just a few feet away on Bay Hills shadowy 18th green late last Sunday.
    At 79-years-young the King ' hosting his 30th Arnold Palmer Invitational ' looked more like a charged-up college student than the stoic host as he watched Tiger Woods make more magic on his final green.
    Few can appreciate Woods accomplishments better than Palmer and Jack Nicklaus and it was a telling moment to watch Palmer celebrate Woods heroics for the second consecutive year. Perhaps only a true artist can appreciate a singular masterpiece.
  • LPGA: The economic landscape has been tough on the circuit of late, as it has been on every sports organization. All of which makes this weeks Kraft Nabisco Championship that much more important.
    And if officials needed a reason to be optimistic, the seasons first major championship delivered. Lumped within the top 20 through 1 rounds was Paula Creamer, Natalie Gulbis and Michelle Wie. The only thing missing was Lorena Ochoa, but she still had 18 holes to join the fun.
  • Shell Houston Open: Check the tee sheet, the SHO has eight of the top 10 in the world and 15 of the top 20, and last we looked there wasnt even a WGC logo atop the marquee.
    Give officials credit for making the most of a tough spot on the schedule with an intense golf course maintenance program that simulates, as best any course can, conditions at Augusta National, and give players kudos for adding the event to busy schedules.

  • Microphones on caddies: We certainly understand the reluctance of some players and caddies to allow the world into their inner circle, but we were reminded of one of the greatest caddie/player stories ever a few days ago and couldnt help but wonder how it would play on live TV.
    During the Nationwide Tour event in Wichita, Kan., a few years ago John Maginnes teed off on No. 10 and birdied his first two holes, both from inside 10 feet using yardages from his caddie Donald Weasel Irvings yardage book.
    Irving at the par-3 12th: You got 186 (yards) front, 194 hole.
    Maginnes: That sprinkler head says 148.
    Irving as he pulls his yardage book from its protective case: Are we up a tee?
    Maginnes: No.
    Irving: Where we at?
    Maginnes: No. 12
    Irving: No, no where we at?
    Maginnes: Wichita.
    Irving: Well, this book is from Springfield.
    After a few moments the laughter subsided and Irving offered the coup de grace: Well hell, we aint been 2 under in a while. Lets just go with this one.
    Now thats good TV.
  • Phil Mickelson: Still too early to call Leftys week at the Shell Houston Open a flop, although his 3-over start before the weather whistle blew couldnt have been what he was hoping for.
    Were more concerned about the finished product that shows up on Monday at Augusta National then the slightly rough-around-the-edges model that stumbles its way around Redstone.
    Bottom line: the golf world needs a Tiger/Phil Sunday finale at the Masters like Penn needs Teller. Not once have the two set off in the same group on a Sunday of a major championship. Historical truth of the matter is theyve only been paired together in a final round just four times, the last being that memorable shootout at the 2007 Deutsche Bank Championship.

  • Dustin Johnson: We met the lanky, hard-hitting kid a few years back at the Western Amateur. Quiet, good sense of humor, a workhorse on the practice range and after his victory this year at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am we envisioned a breakthrough year.
    Lets hope last weeks DUI in South Carolina doesnt change things and that DJ takes his lumps and moves on. We all make mistakes. The sign of a better person is learning from them.
  • Golf course rankings: Two separate national golf magazine recently released two curious lists ranking the nations top courses. One ranking, Golf Digests Americas 100 Greatest Golf Courses began its list as one would imagine: 1. Augusta National, 2. Pine Valley, 3. Shinnecock Hills, 4. Cypress Point, 5. Oakmont.
    The other, Golfweeks Top 100 Classic Courses had a different spin. Now, weve never played Michigans Crystal Downs, and were sure its a wonderful place to spend an afternoon, but at eighth on the list Crystal Downs is two spots ahead of Augusta National. In the name of full disclosure, it must be noted that your correspondent served as a Golfweek rater for nearly 10 years before joining GolfChannel.com.
    Just a hunch, but if you polled 1,000 American golfers and asked if theyd rather play Augusta National or Crystal Downs, 999 are going to go with The National. We could be wrong.

    Email your thoughts to Rex Hoggard
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    Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

    Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

    Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

    As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

    "That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

    Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

    Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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    Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

    If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

    Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

    But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

    Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

    Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

    Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

    Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

    Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

    Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

    Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

    Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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    Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

    Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

    “It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

    Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

    “What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

    Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

    “When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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    Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

    SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

    Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

    Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

    Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.