Second Chances

By Rex HoggardMay 22, 2009, 4:00 pm
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As we inch closer to the dog days, its getting harder and harder to make the weekend. Cut Lines rigid weekend standards, however, prove to be more of a sliding scale as we commend and condemn the PGA of America, European Tour and Adam Scott.
Made Cut
  • PGA of America: Check the lineup for the Senior PGA Championship and it reads like a whos who of American classics.
    In recent years the Senior PGA has made stops at venerable venues like Aronimink (Philadelphia), Laurel Valley (Pennsylvania) and Oak Hill (New York). This weeks stop at Canterberry is another gem.
    In baseball, there is no going back to Ebbets Field, and the current Soldier Field in Chicago appears as if it ate the original version, but in golf these classics can be spruced up for the modern game with little heavy lifting and are a direct link to the games past.
  • Zach Johnson: Two weeks ago in the confines of TPC Sawgrass mens grill Johnson was still searching for answers behind his final-round meltdown at the Quail Hollow Championship.
    Im going to put it behind me, he sighed. I didnt dwell on it, and thats a good thing.
    A week later in San Antonio he closed the Quail Hollow chapter for the rest of us with a third-round 60, his second 60 on Tour, and his sixth Tour title. Since 2007, only Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have more victories and consider this, among the games elite players Johnson is the best at hitting fairways. Dialed back grooves in 2010 are going to make the kid from Cedar Rapids a perennial contender.

    Missed Cut ' Did not finish (MDF)
  • PGA of America: Its a Cut Line first, an organization makes it through the first two rounds for a spot in the weekend only to fall on the 54-hole axe. Happens to Tour players all the time, just ask the 12 who were sent packing after three rounds at The Players.
    Ryo Ishikawa may have crafted himself a handy resume on the Japan Golf Tour, but how does three missed cuts and a 71st-place finish on the PGA Tour qualify anyone for a special exemption into this years PGA Championship?
    Ishikawa may go on to be the world-beater everyone claims he is, but right now there is much more style than substance to the young mans game and the PGAs freebie has a bottom-line feel to it. Glorys Last Shot seems to have taken a shot to the kidneys with this one.
  • Shane Lowry: Easy to like the cherubic Irish lad and until we walk a mile in his soft-spikes its impossible to say whether he made the right decision to turn pro.
    The Walker Cup, however, is a different animal, particularly for a player who cut his competitive teeth on Irelands Home International squad. We once asked Jason Gore the highlight of his golf career and the big man didnt hesitate ' the 1997 Walker Cup. I could hardly get the tee in the ground I was so nervous, he smiled.
    There is also evidence that an intense Walker Cup bout is the best way to prepare for life as a pro. In 2005 when J.B. Holmes blew away the Q-School field he said his play was the direct result of the confidence he gained in that years match. Two years later hard-swinging Dustin Johnson made a similar connection.
    The point? Playing for glory and country trumps even the largest purses?
  • Corning Classic: Our colleague Randall Mell wrote it best, Norman Rockwell didnt paint Corning (N.Y.) to life. It just feels that way.
    Its hard to blame the economy or LPGA Tour or Corning for pulling the plug on the little tournament that could, but that doesnt change the fact that golf will lose something special without small-market stops like Corning.
    Maybe the game has outgrown the likes of Corning (pop. 10,321), and thats too bad.

    Missed Cut
  • European Tour: In the Irish twilight and amid the glow of the Europeans crushing victory over the U.S. side at the 2006 Ryder Cup, Sergio Garcia used his bully pulpit to take a back-handed swipe at the Nationwide Tour.
    Hopefully we won't get asked if the Nationwide Tour is the second-best tour in the world anymore, El Nino said in a not-so-subtle shot at all of those who argued the Nationwide circuit was deeper than the European Tour.
    But Lowrys victory at last weeks Irish Open begs the question: How is it possible a relatively unheralded amateur can clip the best on the worlds second-best circuit?
    Lowry is the third amateur in recent years to win on the Euro circuit. By comparison, Daniel Summerhays is the only amateur to ever win a Nationwide Tour event in 2007 (for the record, Phil Mickelson was the last amateur to win on the PGA Tour in 91 in Tucson).
    Second best, indeed.
  • PGA Tour: Seems there is no instant in instant replay on the games biggest stage. The video of Kenny Perry during a playoff at this years FBR Open is inconclusive, at best, and officials were rightfully quick to absolve him of any wrongdoing.
    Why this came up more than three months after the fact boggles the mind.
    And they think they have problems with the video review process at the new Yankee Stadium, which takes a mere eight minutes because of the location of the review booth. Were guessing Tour rules chief Mark Russell has never heard of YouTube
  • Adam Scott: As if things werent bad enough for the struggling Aussie. But five consecutive missed cuts, a two-way miss and a cold putter were just the tip of Scotts emotional baggage last week.
    According to reports, Kate Hudson, whom Scott was linked with earlier this year in Hawaii, is reportedly seeing Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez. Whats next, a flat tire on the G4?

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  • Battling mono, Kaufman tied for lead at CME

    By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 2:05 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – Kim Kaufman’s bout with mononucleosis might leave fellow tour pros wanting to catch the fever, too.

    A couple months after Anna Nordqvist battled her way into contention at the Women’s British Open playing with mono, and then thrived at the Solheim Cup with it, Kaufman is following suit.

    In her first start since being diagnosed, Kaufman posted an 8-under-par 64 Saturday to move into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. It was the low round of the day. She’s bidding to win her first LPGA title.

    “I’ve been resting at home for two weeks,” Kaufman said. “Didn’t do anything.”

    Well, she did slip on a flight of stairs while recuperating, hurting her left wrist. She had it wrapped Saturday but said that’s mostly precautionary. It didn’t bother her during the round.

    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

    “I’m the only person who can take two weeks off and get injured,” Kaufman joked.

    Kaufman, 26, left the Asian swing after playing the Sime Darby Malaysia, returning to her home in South Dakota, to see her doctor there. She is from Clark. She was told bed rest was the best thing for her, but she felt good enough to make the trip to Florida for the season-ending event.

    “We had some really cold days,” Kaufman said. “We had some snow. I was done with it. I was coming down here.”

    How does she feel?

    “I feel great,” she said. “I’m a little bit shaky, which isn’t great out there, but it’s great to be here doing something. I was going a little bit stir crazy [at home], just kind of fighting through it.”

    Kaufman made eight birdies in her bogey-free round.

    New-look Wie eyes CME Group Tour Championship title

    By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:32 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – Michelle Wie is sporting a new look that even has fellow players doing double takes.

    Bored during her six-week recovery from an emergency appendectomy late this summer, Wie decided to cut and die her hair.

    She went for golden locks, and a shorter style.

    “I kind of went crazy after being in bed that long,” Wie said. “I just told my mom to grab the kitchen scissors and just cut all my hair off.”

    Wie will get to sport her new look on a big stage Sunday after playing herself into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. With a 6-under-par 66, she is in contention to win her fifth LPGA title, her first since winning the U.S. Women’s Open three years ago.

    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

    Wie, 28, fought her way back this year after two of the most disappointing years of her career. Her rebound, however, was derailed in late August, when she withdrew from the final round of the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open to undergo an emergency appendectomy. She was out for six weeks.

    Before the surgery, Wie enjoyed getting back into contention regularly, with six finishes of T-4 or better this season. She returned to the tour on the Asian swing in October.

    Fellow tour pros were surprised when she came back with the new look.

    “Definitely, walk by people and they didn’t recognize me,” Wie said.

    Wie is looking to continue to build on her resurgence.

    “I gained a lot of confidence this year,” she said. “I had a really tough year last year, the last couple years. Just really feeling like my old self. Really feeling comfortable out there and having fun, and that's when I play my best.”

    You Oughta Know: LPGA's Sunday scenarios

    By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:17 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – The CME Group Tour Championship is loaded with pressure-packed subplots Sunday at Tiburon Golf Club.

    Here’s what You Oughta Know about the prizes at stake:

    Race to the CME Globe

    Lexi Thompson and Sung Hyun Park are 1-2 in CME Globe points. They are best positioned Sunday to take home the $1 million jackpot in the season-long competition.

    Thompson and Park are tied for fifth in the tournament, one shot off the lead. If either of them wins, she will take home the jackpot.

    The way it’s unfolding Thompson is a good bet to take home the jackpot by merely finishing ahead of Park, unless they both stumble badly on Sunday.

    Ariya Jutanugarn is tied for the lead. She must win to take home the jackpot, but she would also need Thompson to finish ninth or worse and Park to finish eighth or worse and nobody else among the top 12 in points to make a bold Sunday charge.

    Stacy Lewis is one shot off the lead with a longshot chance at the jackpot. She must win the tournament while Thompson finishes 26th or worse, Park finishes 12th or worse and nobody else among the top 12 in points makes a bold Sunday charge.

    So Yeon Ryu, Shanshan Feng and Brooke Henderson are among others who still have a shot at the $1 million prize, but they have fallen back in the pack and need bold Sunday charges to take home the jackpot.

    Rolex Player of the Year

    The Rolex Player of the Year Award remains a four-player race.

    Ryu (162), Feng (159), Park (157) and Thompson (147) all have a chance to win the award.

    Park and Thompson are best positioned to make Sunday moves to overtake Ryu.

    Park needs to finish sixth or better to win the award outright; Thompson needs to win the tournament to win the award.

    It’s simple math.

    The top 10 in the tournament will be awarded points.

    1st - 30 points

    2nd – 12 points

    3rd – 9 points

    4th – 7 points

    5th – 6 points

    6th – 5 points

    7rd – 4 points

    8th – 3 points

    9th – 2 points

    10th – 1 point

    Vare Trophy

    Thompson took a 69.147 scoring average to Naples. Park needs to finish nine shots ahead of Thompson to have a shot at the trophy.

    Money-winning title

    Park leads the tour in money winnings with $2,262,472. Ryu is the only player who can pass her Sunday, and Ryu must win the tournament to do so. Ryu is tied for 32nd, five shots off the lead. If Ryu wins the tournament, she also needs Park to finish worse than solo second.

    Rolex world No. 1 ranking

    World No. 1 Feng, No. 2 Park and No. 3 Ryu are separated by just three hundredths of a point.

    Because they are so close, the scenarios for overtaking Feng are head spinning.

    At No. 4, Thompson is a full average ranking point behind Feng, but she could become the sixth different player this season to move to No. 1. Thompson, however, has to win Sunday to have a chance to do so, and then it will depend on what Feng, Park and Ryu do. Again, the scenarios are complex.

    Cook leads RSM Classic by three at Sea Island

    By Associated PressNovember 19, 2017, 12:28 am

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook shot a 4-under 66 on Saturday to increase his lead to three strokes in the RSM Classic.

    Cook, a shot ahead after a second-round 62, had five birdies and a bogey - his first of the week - to reach 18-under 194 with a round left at Sea Island Golf Club's Seaside Course.

    ''Putting is key right now,'' Cook said. ''Been able to make a lot of clutch putts for the pars to save no bogeys. Hitting the ball pretty much where we're looking and giving ourselves good opportunities on every hole.''

    Former University of Georgia player Chris Kirk was second after a 64.

    ''I'm really comfortable here,'' Kirk said. ''I love Sea Island. I lived here for 6 1/2 years, so I played the golf course a lot, SEC Championships and come down here for the RSM Classic. My family and I, we come down here a few other times a year as well.''

    Brian Gay was another stroke back at 14 under after a 69.

    ''I love the course,'' Gay said. ''We keep getting different wind directions so it's keeping us on our toes. Supposed to be another completely different wind direction tomorrow, so we're getting a new course every day.''

    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic

    J.J. Spaun had a 62 to get to 13 under.

    ''I just kind of played stress-free golf out there and kept the golf ball in front of me,'' Spaun said. ''I had a lot of looks and scrambled pretty well, even though it was only a handful of times, but pretty overall pleased with how I played today.''

    Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player earned his PGA Tour card through the Tour.

    ''I think with an extra year on the Web this past year, I really grew mentally and with my game, just kind of more confidence,'' Cook said. ''I was able to put myself in contention on the more this year than I have in the past. I think I've just, you know, learned from experiences on the Web to help me grow out here.''

    He planned to keep it simple Saturday night.

    ''I've got my parents here and my in-laws are both here as well as my wife,'' Cook said. ''Go home and just have a good home-cooked meal and just kind of enjoy the time and embrace the moment.''

    Kirk won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2015 at Colonial.

    ''It's nice to be back in contention again,'' Kirk said. ''It's been a little while for me. But I felt great out there today, I felt really comfortable, and so hopefully it will be the same way tomorrow and I'll keep my foot on the pedal and stay aggressive, try to make some birdies.''