Riding Out the Storm

By Rex HoggardJune 5, 2009, 4:00 pm
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DUBLIN, Ohio ' Thirty-six holes on the next best thing to a U.S. Open venue can be a grind. Tack on 36 holes of Open qualifying on Monday, which await many in this weeks field, and its hard to distinguish between the winners and losers Memorial week. Much like this weeks edition of Cut Line, rarely does the line between the top 70 and ties seem so blurred.
Made Cut
  • Mickelsons: Its good news for golf that Phil Mickelson plans to play next weeks St. Jude Championship and the U.S. Open. Its better news for those rocked by the news that Amy Mickelson had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
    The battle ahead is still daunting, but Lefty would not be packing his bags if things were as bad as originally feared. This, we all recall, is the same papa-to-be who picked his way around Pinehurst at the 1999 U.S. Open with a golf club in one hand and a beeper in the other vowing he would leave the national championship if his wife went into labor.
    If youre looking for signs, this would be a good one.
  • Erik Compton: The two-time heart transplant patient never stops amazing. Playing on a sponsor exemption at Memorial, Compton said he will honor the man he received his second heart from this week.
    Comptons second heart came from a man named Isaac, a 28-year-old who was from the Columbus, Ohio, area who died in a motorcycle crash in Florida a little over a year ago.
    Compton, who made the cut with rounds of 72-75, said hes been e-mailing Isaacs family and will meet them when the time is right. I wrote them a letter and said that Id be honoring him and making this memorable.
    He already has.

    Made Cut ' Did not finish (MDF)
  • Morgan Stanley: The embattled financial firm pulled its name from the marquee, its executives from the corporate tents, its clients from the pro-am, everything, it seems, except for its funding, because of the delicate position golf finds itself in during these troubled economic times.
    Yet from this curious chaos came the years best golf that didnt include an oversized check and trophy presentation. Wednesdays skin match between Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus was the most memorable exhibition since last years Ryder Cup.
    It may also be the last time the two greatest players to ever overlap a grip find themselves between the same ropes. If you didnt TiVo it, find it on YouTube. Its the closest thing to must-keep golf.
  • Caddie Slam: Wonder-jockey Calvin Borel will set out on Mine that Bird this Saturday looking to complete this years Triple Crown: Jockey Edition on two different rides. Remember Borel won the Kentucky Derby on Bird before going on to win the Preakness Stakes astride Rachel Alexandra.
    All of which begs an interesting question. Could a Tour caddie bounce between players and win all four of the seasons Grand Slam events. As best we can tell the Caddie Slam has never happened, but may we suggest Masters champion Angel Cabreras man, Ruben Yorio, take a 3-iron to Stevie Williams knee and slide into that AT&T bag for the next leg of the Grand Slam
  • Under six-foot tour: A caddie suggested this concept earlier this week and Cut Line was torn between the simple beauty of the idea and the utter lack of it ever happening.
    If your average golf fan wants to relate to a Tour player, forget Ernie Els long, athletic action or Tiger Woods barrel-chested motion and go straight to the diminutive likes of Luke Donald (5-foot-9) and Mike Weir (5-foot-9), both of whom are in the hunt this week at Muirfield Village but would never be early favorites in a pick-up basketball game.
    Look at a guy like Mark Wilson (5-foot-8), no one does more with less, said the caddie.
    Cut Line would like to nominate Corey Pavin commissioner and Ian Woosnam director of player relations.

    Missed Cut
  • Colin Montgomerie: Manny will be Manny, and Monty will be Monty ' sans the performance-enhancing drugs.
    Maybe the European selection committee picked the Scot to skipper the 2010 Ryder Cup team because hes never going to bore. Consider the news last week that Monty begged out of a pairing with American counterpart Corey Pavin at this weeks Wales Open at Celtic Manor, site of next years Ryder Cup.
    It all seems a little too gamey this early in the game and, besides, if Monty was so concerned about being shown up by his counterpart in front of his potential charges he neednt worry. Most of the European team was playing the Memorial.
  • Tim Clark: We like the South African. Hes overcome a birth defect that doesnt allow him to use a short-handled putter, an assortment of neck and back ailments and a game that often favors the chest-thumper over the chess player, but his behavior on Sunday at Colonial was OB.
    We understand that during the pitch of competition it is hard to gracious, particularly in defeat, but sidestepping the media after his playoff loss in Fort Worth, Texas, will be remembered long after that missed 7 footer fades from sight.
    The adage is that you learn more about a person in defeat than in victory, and Kenny Perrys behavior following his emotional loss at this years Masters is a perfect example of how far humble goes in the court of public opinion.
    Clark will win on Tour. Hes too good not to. But even if that payoff never comes, we hope he learns his actions matter either way.

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  • Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

    Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

    With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

    Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

    The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

    Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

    In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

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    Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

    By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

    After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

     There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.

    It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

    It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

    “The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

    In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.

    Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

    Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

    “You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

    Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.

    Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

    If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

    For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

    Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.

    Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

    While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

    When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

    Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.

    After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

    The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

    That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

    The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

    While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.

    Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

    Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

    “We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

    The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

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    Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

    John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

    That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

    Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

    Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

    By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

    Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

    Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

    Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

    Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

    World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

    Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.