Plenty of MCs to Go Around

By Rex HoggardMarch 27, 2009, 4:00 pm
Arnold Palmer InvitationalORLANDO, Fla. ' If the Florida Swing is the golf equivalent to baseballs spring training then the majority of the PGA Tour must feel as if they have been optioned to Triple A ball. Once again the Florida portion of the lineup was fearsome, making missed cuts relative to the bigger picture.
Luckily for all involved, Cut Line is above shifting winds and ankle-deep rough. In this case, the pen is mightier than the 2-iron.

  • Memorial: When D.J. Trahan walked off the 18th green at Muirfield Village last year following his third round not even Jack Nicklaus long shadow could quiet his contempt.
    'I think that's a pretty crappy hole,' Trahan told the Associated Press. 'But nobody wants to hear that, right? Everybody wants to hear that it's a great hole. But I don't think it is. I think it's unfair and it's ridiculous.'
    In Trahans defense, he was hardly the only player bitten by officials handiwork, and to Nicklaus credit he realized his tweaks may have been a tad over the top and in 2009 players will be welcomed by a kinder, gentler Muirfield Village. The rough will cropped at least an inch shorter, the furrow bunkers a distance memory and the greens at Nos. 18 and 11 rebuilt.
    No tournament director wants to see a 25-under-par winning score, but Nicklaus, the ultimate competitor, understands the merits of a fair test better than anyone and gives us all an opportunity to celebrate reason.
  • Jason Gore: The Prince of Pinehurst simply hasnt been himself since that magical summer of 2005. Injuries, to body and mind, have slowed one of the circuits most-liked players.
    The good news is one of the best quotes in the game seems to be slowly working his way back into the best golf shape of his career, and with it his endearing self-deprecating style is back in press rooms.
    After his tee shot at the 17th hole buried nearly in the lip of a greenside bunker, Gore was asked if he was posing over the shot. I was praying, but it looked like a pose probably, he smiled.
    The best style points always come with a smile.
  • Tiger Woods: Weve already established that golf is much better with Woods than without him and his 50-percent driving accuracy and greens in regulation at Bay Hill is reason to pine for the Masters like a second-grader awaits pizza Friday.
    What gives us pause to truly celebrate, however, is his slowly improving putting stroke. Through two rounds at Bay Hill hes tied for third with a 24.5 putts per round average. Suddenly that Nike Golf commercial celebrating the collective success enjoyed during Woods hiatus doesnt seem so funny.

  • Trophies: Weve seen all manner of mana when it comes to champions loot on the PGA Tour. The folks at the Verizon Heritage go with a tartan jacket, fashion sense be damned. Mayakoba Golf Classic officials proudly hand there champion a lizard-shaped sand castle and Tiger Woods seems to regularly collect that hood ornament from the Buick Invitational.
    Its a shame, however, that weve lost one of the most unique victors takes on Tour. A few years back officials at the Arnold Palmer Invitational ditched the traditional champions sword for a silver chalice. The chalice is nice, regal by Tour standards in fact, and, in all honesty, winning anything associated with Arnold Palmers name is a reason to brag to the grandkids, but why nix such a unique award?
    Australias Rod Pampling was the last champion to hoist the sword in 2006, an interesting item to try and slip through TSA which, we can only assume, accelerated the swords demise.

  • Florida Swing: When did every venue in the Sunshine State have to become Shinnecock South? Where in the rule book does it say a Bob Hope mentality, that is to say a birdie-first philosophy, is a sign of inferiority?
    So far the Florida Slog, um, make that Swing, has produced a collective scoring average over par and a breezy Bay Hill is proving one of the toughest, with just 22 players under par through two windy rounds.
  • Unknown pro-am partner: During his Wednesday pro-am at the Nationwide Tours Louisiana Open one of Gavin Coles amateur partners innocently asked the Australian if this was his first visit to Le Triomphe Country Club.
    The good-natured Coles took it easy on the club member, Im the defending champion.
  • Michelle Wie: Yes, the teen queen barely made the cut at the J Golf Phoenix LPGA International after rounds of 73-76, but it was the news that Wies parents were working a deal with a sports-drink company while she was still with the William Morris Agency that lands her an early trip home in Cut Line.
    According to a report, WMA discovered the Wies were maneuvering independently for the endorsement and ended their relationship with one of the LPGA Tours top draw.
    A fresh start seemed in the making when Wie signed with management giant IMG, but it seems some things never change.

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    Watch: Fathauer dunks one off flagstick for eagle

    By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 17, 2018, 7:45 pm

    The NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest will take place Saturday night in Los Angeles, but Derek Fathauer kicked things off a little early with this eagle in the third round of the Genesis Open.

    Playing his second shot on the par-4 third hole at Riviera Country Club, Fathauer dunked one off the flagstick and into the hole for an eagle-2:

    The shot got the the 32-year-old, in search of his first PGA Tour victory, under par for the round and into the mix early on Moving Day.

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    Luiten in three-way tie at Oman Open

    By Associated PressFebruary 17, 2018, 4:17 pm

    MUSCAT, Oman - Joost Luiten showed a return to form after a mediocre 2017 as he moved into a three-way tie for the lead in the Oman Open on Saturday.

    The Dutchman shot a second straight 6-under 66 - the joint best score of the day - to move to 12-under 204. He was joined at the top by Matthew Southgate (69) and Frenchman Julien Guerrier (66) after the third round at the Greg Norman-designed Al Mouj Golf Club.

    England's Chris Wood (69), another man on the comeback trail, was in fourth place at 11 under, but it could have been a lot better if not for a bogey-bogey finish. Adrian Otaegui (66) was a shot behind Wood while pre-tournament favorite, France's Alexander Levy (67), was at 9 under.

    The 90th-ranked Luiten credited some hot iron play for his success after a cracked driver set him back last year when he had just two top-10 finishes the whole season.

    Full-field scores from the NBO Oman Golf Classic

    ''I cracked my driver in my first tournament of the year in Abu Dhabi and it took me almost six months to get another one that I really liked. Once you are not driving the ball well, it puts pressure on other parts of your game,'' said the 32-year-old Luiten. ''My iron play did not get me into trouble at all today.''

    Southgate was quick off the block with three birdies in his first three holes. But the Englishman then made two bogeys and a double bogey in his next four holes, and a birdie on the ninth saw him make the turn at even-par.

    That forced him to think differently for the back nine and he was rewarded with three birdies.

    ''It was quite funny really,'' Southgate said. ''We birdied the ninth and I walked off and said to my caddie Gary ... 'We've just shot level par, so let's just pretend that we've made nine solid pars and that we haven't holed a putt and haven't made a birdie. Let's just start again on the 10th'.''

    The 32-year-old Guerrier started his round with a monster 48-foot birdie putt and had an eagle, six birdies and two bogeys.

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    J.Y. Ko increases lead; Lydia focuses on positives

    By Associated PressFebruary 17, 2018, 3:33 pm

    ADELAIDE, Australia - Jin Young Ko continued her domination of the Women's Australian Open, shooting a 1-under 71 Saturday to increase her lead to four strokes after three rounds.

    The South Korean, who led after each of the opening two rounds of the LPGA tournament, had a three-round total of 11-under 205 at Kooyonga Golf Club.

    Australian golfer Hannah Green moved into second place after the round of the day, a 66.

    Green, 21, is seeking to become the first Australian to claim her national crown since Karrie Webb won the last of her five titles in 2014. Webb, who is playing a part-time schedule in 2018, missed the cut Friday by one stroke.

    Green birdied her first three holes on Saturday and then added two more on the eighth and ninth. Two more birdies followed on the back nine with her only dropped shot a bogey on the 17th.

    Full-field scores from the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open

    "I was very pleased with my ball striking," Green said. "I have put myself in contention so I'm very happy with how things are panning out.

    "It was a real shame about Karrie missing the cut, but I know she has got different plans."

    South Korea's Hyejin Choi (70), was tied for third, five strokes behind. Australia's top-ranked golfer Minjee Lee was tied for fifth after a 69, six off the lead.

    Former No. 1 Lydia Ko shot a 71 and was eight strokes behind.

    "It's always nice to be able to start the season on a good note, and I've obviously got tomorrow," Lydia Ko said. "Hopefully, I'll be able to finish off on a high note."

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    Cantlay, McDowell, Saunders share lead at Riviera

    By Doug FergusonFebruary 17, 2018, 3:51 am

    LOS ANGELES - Tiger Woods waited 12 years to get back to Riviera and lasted only two days.

    Woods had three straight bogeys early on the back nine Friday and didn't play well enough to make up for his misses. He had a 5-over 76 and missed the cut in the Genesis Open for the first time in nine appearances as a pro.

    He was at 6-over 148, one shot worse than his PGA Tour debut as a 16-year-old at Riviera.

    ''I missed every tee shot left and I did not putt well, didn't feel very good on the greens,'' Woods said. ''And consequently, never made a run. I knew I had to make a run on that back nine, and I went the other way.''

    Patrick Cantlay ran off three straight birdies toward the end of his morning round, starting with a tap-in on the par-3 sixth when he missed a hole-in-one by a fraction of an inch, and shot a 69. He was tied with Graeme McDowell (66), the former U.S. Open champion who is trying to work his way back from a two-year slump.

    They were at 7-under 135.

    Sam Saunders also was at 7 under, making back-to-back birdies until it was too dark to continue. He had three holes remaining in his second round. Ryan Moore bogeyed his final hole for a 68 and was one shot behind at 136.

    Rory McIlroy overcame a few short misses on the front nine for a 69 and was at 2-under 140.

    Full-field scores from the Genesis Open

    Genesis Open: Articles, photos and videos

    Cantlay was coming off a three-putt bogey when his tee shot at the par-3 sixth - the hole with a bunker in the middle of the green - landed above the flag and to the right, and then rolled back down the slope just over the right edge of the cup.

    ''I actually missed a little to the right, but it's a bowl back there so as long as you get the number right, it should be pretty close,'' Cantlay said.

    He followed with a short iron into 5 feet for birdie, a 15-foot birdie on the next hole and then a wild drive that led to a bogey on his final hole.

    McDowell has gone 59 starts worldwide since his last victory and has fallen out of the top 200 in the world. He had missed four straight cuts dating to late last year, though he felt he was hitting it well in practice. What helped was seeing some good scores.

    ''All I'm missing is a couple little numbers and a little bit of confidence,'' McDowell said.

    Defending champion Dustin Johnson shot a 69 and gets to stick around for the weekend. He was at 1-over 143. Bubba Watson, who won in 2014 and 2016, has fallen out of the top 200 in the world after a two-year drought. He shot a 70 and was at 4-under 138, and then headed for the NBA All-Star weekend to play in the celebrity game.