It Takes a Village

By Rex HoggardMarch 13, 2009, 4:00 pm
2007 WGC CA ChampionshipDORAL, Fla. ' There is not cut at the WGC-CA Championship, perhaps the only flaw in the WGC concept, but Cut Line had no shortage of material for its inaugural March Madness edition.
 

MADE CUT
 
  • WGC-CA Championship: Some scoffed when the Doral stop was pulled within the World Golf Championship umbrella, fearing a limited field would harm what had become one of the circuits most exciting stops.
     
    Three years into the WGC experiment at Doral, however, its become clear the buzz is back and that has a lot to do with the fields international tilt. The World Baseball Classic may be the international heavyweight in this area, but never before has the golf village felt so small than at the CA.
     
    Posh, on-site accommodations, a classic ballpark and the Monster Grill ' the tented burger stand adjacent the scoring trailer which is a favorite among players, caddies and the media ' easily make Doral the jewel of the WGC crown.
     
  • Youth: Maybe life after Tiger Woods wont be so bleak, at least if the picture of youth painted by Fridays leaderboard at Doral is any indication.
     
    Anthony Kim, 23, bounded out of the scoring trailer this afternoon, iPod earphones pushed deep in his ears and a smile etched into his face following a second-round 69, looking like the same AK who won twice in 08 and fist-pumped the Valhalla galleries into a frenzy at the Ryder Cup.
     
    Dustin Johnson, who has never met a fast car he didnt like or a par-5 he couldnt reach in two shots, pounded his way to a second-day 66 to move into the hunt for his third Tour title at 24.
     
    Rory McIlroy, the 19-year-old Northern Irishman who attended his first NBA game Wednesday night (Heat vs. Celtics) and became an instant hoops fan, continued to impress with an eclectic card (nine pars, six birdies, two bogeys and an eagle) that backs up his managers assessment, He plays like an Irish Seve (Ballesteros), Chubby Chandler smiled.
     
    Not far to the south, or from a regular spot at Doral, Jason Day, 21, is closing in on his first Tour title, pacing the field at the Puerto Rico Open at 10 under after a 66-68 start.
     
    Dont look now, but Generation Z is closing.
     

    MADE CUT' DID NOT FINISH (MDF)
     
  • Phil Mickelson: Yes, hes in the lead and hes starting to look like the Phil of old, which is exactly why hes atop the MDF list. The new version of the Old Phil, is just as exciting as the 1.0 version, and just as venerable to the untimely meltdown.
     
    And while Mickelson would never pen a Drive it like a champion tome because, Nobody would buy it, he smiled, but watching the short-game show Lefty put on Friday his new putting and chipping DVD is a must-see.
     
    The Thrill chipped in at the seventh hole for birdie on Friday to take the lead, needed just eight putts to cover his final nine holes on Thursday ' the Tours third-lowest total ' and is leading the field with a 1.45 putting average.
     
    Win, lose or wince, the man is an A ticket ride between the ropes.
     
  • Dr. Thomas Rosenberg: The Park City, Utah, surgeon who performed Tiger Woods season-ending knee surgery last June may have stitched together a healthier, more stable left knee but it has been a while since his high-profile patient performed like he did Friday at Doral.
     
    It may be a stretch to saddle Dr. Rosenberg with Woods erratic play which included two sloppy bogeys in a five-hole stretch that landed the world No. 1 some 10 shots out of the lead and tied for 35th in his second stroke-play event in 10 months, but somebody has to take the fall if Woods begins his comeback 0-for-2.
     
    Therefore, Woods play must have something to do with Rosenbergs handiwork. Or, maybe hes just a tad rusty and dialing his game in for Augusta National. You decide.
     

    MISSED CUT
     
  • Congress (c/o Rep. Barney Frank): Its become good sport to scold economically stressed companies for honoring their commitments and trying to improve their business.
     
    Northern Trust ' which received funds from the Department of Treasurys $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program ' became the epicenter of the controversy when it fulfilled its commitment to host the Los Angeles stop and held numerous parties and a concert to entertain clients.
     
    Frank and colleagues demanded Northern Trust repay the money spent to host the event. Lost in the political hyperbole was the fact Northern Trust never requested TARP funds. Besides, if TARP companies cant compete with companies that are allowed to market and entertain, they may not be the best investments.
     
  • Prayad Van de Velde, eh . . . Marksaeng: Forgive the transgression, but the native of Thailand made such a mess of the 18th on Friday the confusion is certainly understandable.
     
    Considering how far Marksaeng has come to earn his place at Doral ' during an extended scrum Friday with gathered scribes he talked about earning $3 per loop as a caddie as a kid, losing his only two matches in a short-lived boxing career and the death of three of his siblings ' his closing miscue will probably not keep him up late Friday.
     
    Perspective can make even the most unsightly triple-bogey look like a Rembrandt.
     

     
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  • If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

    By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

    She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

    You don’t believe it, though.

    She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

    Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

    Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

    “In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

    Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

    Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

    Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

    At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

    She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

    She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

    And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.


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    There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

    It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

    Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

    Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

    “I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

    About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

    Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

    “She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

    David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

    “She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

    Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

    Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

    “Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

    Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

    “It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

    Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

    “No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

    Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

    National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

    The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

    Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

    These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon:

    Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience

    By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:36 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.

    This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.

    “I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”


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    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.

    In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.

    If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Web.com Tour finals.

    “He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”

    Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic

    By Associated PressNovember 17, 2017, 10:26 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook made a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic.

    Cook has gone 36 holes without a bogey on the Plantation and Seaside courses at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside - the site of the final two rounds in the last PGA Tour event of the calendar year - on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.

    ''We've just been able to it hit the ball really well,'' Cook said. ''Speed on greens has been really good and getting up-and-down has been great. I've been able to hit it pretty close to the hole to make some pretty stress-free putts. But the couple putts that I have had of some length for par, I've been able to roll them in. Everything's going well.''

    The 26-year-old former Arkansas player was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.

    The 45-year-old Gay won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2013.


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    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    ''I've hit a lot of greens and fairways,'' Gay said. ''I've hit the ball, kept it in front of me. There's a lot of trouble out here, especially with the wind blowing, so I haven't had to make too many saves the first couple days and I putted well.''

    Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. He earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour, and has hired Gay's former caddie, Kip Henley.

    ''With him being out here so long, he knows everybody, so it's not like I'm completely the new kid on the block,'' Cook said. ''He's introduced me to a lot of people, so it's just making me feel comfortable out here. He knows his way around these golf courses. We're working really well together.''

    First-round leader Chris Kirk followed his opening 63 on the Plantation with a 70 on the Seaside to drop into a tie for third at 9 under with C.T. Pan (65) and Vaughn Taylor (66).

    Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back at 8 under.

    ''I was hitting the ball really well coming down here,'' Snedeker said. ''I was anxious to see how I would hold up under pressure. I haven't played a tournament in five months, so it's held up better than I thought it would. Ball-striking's been really good, mental capacity's been unbelievable.

    ''I think being so fresh, excited to be out there and thinking clearly. My short game, which has always been a strength of mine, I didn't know how sharp it was going to be. It's been really good so far.''