The Sweet-and-Sour Edition

By Rex HoggardFebruary 13, 2009, 5:00 pm
Pro-Am week is one of the more curious cuts of the year. Pebble Beach is the ultimate love/hate deal for those whose professional fortunes ebb and flow to the tune of serenading sea lions and the pounding panorama of the Pacific Ocean.
 
On one hand, a wanting scorecard, Crosby weather, and glacial rounds can weigh on even the best attitudes, but if one needs a reason to bust out of their mental prison the most-mesmerizing views in all golf are normally little more than a head turn away.
 
Missing, or making, the cut at the Clambake is relative.
 

MADE CUT
 
  • Democracy: Two names emerged from last weeks initial meeting of the Players Advisory Council as possible heirs to the PACs chairmanship, and the Tour wont go wrong with either option.
     
    Word is PAC and Policy Board staple Davis Love III has been listed as a candidate for this years PAC chairmanship alongside modern sophist Paul Goydos. This years PAC chair ascends to the Policy Board in 2010.
     
    The Cut Line will stay clear of any endorsements, but will objectively point out that DLIII has done his time on the Policy Board. Its also worth noting that the nine-member board could use an independent, and alternative voice like Goydos as the Tour begins to struggle with economic headwinds.
     
    Any Tour player who sports a Dirtbags hat and maintains his mens club membership at his local muni must know how to stretch a dollar.
     
  • LPGA: No, were not referring to the new 10-year deal the circuit penned with Golf Channel, but the wave of potential that has engulfed the season opener in Hawaii.
     
    Michelle Wie putted like a 13-year-old (24 putts), hit the ball like a 23-year-old (nine fairways and 12 greens in regulation) and managed her game like a 33-year-old. It all added up to a 6-under 66 and the best opening act any Hollywood screen writer would be proud of.
     
  • Arnold Palmer: If anyone would have an inside track on when Tiger Woods will emerge from his surgery-induced slumber it would be The King, right?
     
    We spotted a billboard on Interstate 4 in Orlando, Fla., on Thursday advertising next months Arnold Palmer Invitational adorned with a larger-than-life picture of the defending champion.
     
    Now, putting the defending champ on tournament marketing is SOP, and it could just be wishful thinking. But with 62 Tour victories its impossible to bet against The King.
     

    MADE CUT ' DID NOT FINISH (MDF)
     
  • Dustin Johnson: Little surprise one of the circuits longest hitters swung for the fences on one the circuits shortest layouts (Pebble Beach, 6,874 yards). What may surprise some is how the athletic swingman prepared for 2009.
     
    The world may dig the long ball, but its Johnsons iron and bunker play that has separated him from the sophomore pack this season.
     
    On Tuesday, Johnsons swing coach Allen Terrell texted his star student, Look at the good job youre doing (on ShotLink).
     
    Specifically, Johnson has jumped almost 100 spots in greens in regulation (from 129th last year to 39th) and 150 spots in sand saves (178th in 2008 to 28th). His share of the first-round lead at Pebble Beach was a testament to Johnsons improvement, but it also cast a glaring light on the World Golf Ranking.
     
    Because the second-year player only has played 36 sanctioned events and the ranking requires a 40-tournament minimum there is no way for him to qualify for the WGC-Match Play or the WGC-CA Championship. College football has the BCS, presidential elections have the electoral college, and the Tour has the World Ranking.
     
  • Spyglass Hill Golf Club: The wallflower dwarfed by Pebble Beachs lengthy shadow never gets its due.
     
    Sure, Pebble Beach is the pride of the Pacific and has more history than a seventh-grade text book, but its cross-peninsula stepbrother isnt too shabby. Quiz ten off-the-shelf Tour players, who dont get taken in by sweeping vistas or $450 tee times, and chances are half would rather play Spyglass.
     
  • Tim Finchem: For the first time in 15 years the commish put a peg in the ground and joined his constituents inside the ropes for this weeks Pro-Am.
     
    David Toms joked that after a few days of Crosby weather it could help move the Pro-Am to a dryer spot on the calendar, say ... October. After a few five-hour-plus rounds were also hoping Finchem will be moved to put some teeth into the Tours pace-of-play policy.
     
    Finchem, a 5 handicap, admitted to being nervous but played solid on Day 1. Hes like most players who come to play in the AT&T, said Finchems pro Davis Love III, he doesnt get enough strokes.
     
    The Cut Line has never felt closer to the commish.
     

    MISSED CUT
     
  • Major League Baseball: With apologies to those who tune in for golf topics, and with kudos to Tour decision makers whose preemptive action has spared the circuit a similar fate, Cut Line laments more sordid steroids news from the boys of summer.
     
    Were no fan of Alex Rodriguez, but in fairness to the tarnished slugger, and for the sake of expediency, the ML B powers that be should publish the 103 other names that reported positive during the 2003 testing for performance enhancing drugs.
     
    Ask any 8-year-old, the Band Aid is best removed in one, quick motion.
     
  • Bill Murray: Its impossible not to love Murrays on-course shtick, but after watching some file footage from the bygone days of the Clambake one realizes the funnyman is a poor replacement for the tournaments former crooning namesake.
     
    Bing Crosby was cool, think Tommy Armour III without the goth wardrobe, and the truth is Murray & Co. just cant bring the same heat. Exploding golf balls are wanting stand-ins for a stirring rendition of Danny Boy.
     
    Email your thoughts to Rex Hoggard
     
    Related Links:
  • Leaderboard ' AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
  • Full Coverage ' AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
  • Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

    By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

    Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

    Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

    What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.


    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


    Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

    Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

    Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

    Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

    Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

    Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

    In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

    "It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’


    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


    Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

    “Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

    “That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

    Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.

    The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

    Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

    Lexi Thompson:

    Baking time!!

    A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

    David Feherty:

    Jack Nicklaus:

    GC Tiger Tracker:

    Steve Stricker:

    Golf Channel:

    Frank Nobilo:

    Ian Poulter:

    Tyrone Van Aswegen:

    Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

    By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

    Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.