Cut Line Aloha Means Goodbye


The Sony Open may be the easiest cut to miss all year. Let’s face it, when the wind blows, Waialae is not exactly the easiest place to dust off the rust and a few days in paradise is hardly a reason to get worked up.

However, “Cut Line’s” weekly lineup is not so kind, particularly for those with short memories or short attention spans.

Made Cut

Dave Stockton Sr. If the putter whisperer is not careful the PGA Tour will put him on its lengthy list of performance-enhancing elements.

Stockton’s work with Phil Mickelson and Michelle Wie was well-documented last season and according to GolfWorld’s Tim Rosaforte the senior plans to start working with the likes of Anthony Kim and Hunter Mahan.

He’s even trading Christmas cards with Sergio Garcia, who must have confused Stockton with that other elderly gentleman who lives at the North Pole when he was sending out his 2010 “wish list.”

Mark McGwire. No, we have no love for the disgraced slugger or his grossly misguided belief that he would have put up the same numbers whether he was doping or not.

There is, however, a lesson to be learned in McGwire’s well-scripted mea culpa. Faced with the certainty of a media circus when he returns to the big leagues this year as a hitting coach for the St. Louis Cardinals, “Big Mac” hired Ari Fleischer, a former White House press secretary who runs a crisis-communications firm.

McGwire’s first televised interview occurred on the league-owned MLB Network, as sympathetic an outlet as there could be, and the preemptive move was an obvious attempt to clear the air before the start of spring training. You may not care for the message, but you have to respect the method.

Note to Tiger Woods’ manager Mark Steinberg: Call Fleischer.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish

Buick. Detroit has enough issues without the golf world hammering what turned out to be a broken business model, and Buick’s 2009 bankruptcy didn’t leave a lot of room for corporate entertainment, but it just seems the company’s split with Torrey Pines had a “Jon and Kate” feel to it.

Buick pulled the plug on the San Diego Tour stop a year early in 2009, yet by all accounts Century Club officials were slowed in their search for a replacement sponsor. Whatever the reason for the slow play, the Tour now must cobble together a plan to pay the bills in 2010.

“It’s in the Tour’s hands,” Century Club chairman Tom Wornham told the Union-Tribune. “This is a very special arrangement that they’ve done with us and they’re not going to want to replicate it.”

May we suggest a “want ad” on eBay: Tour staple seeks deep pockets. Two seaside golf courses, solid field that includes Phil Mickelson and sometimes Tiger Woods. Seven-million to $10 million per year, OBO.

Aloha also means goodbye. Those eight players who began their year last week at the SBS Championship in Maui but skipped this week’s Sony Open in Honolulu missed the point, if not a few extra days in paradise.

OK, it is a long season and most of the game’s top draw are thinking marathon not sprint, but the circuit is sailing through rough economic waters and the commissioner could use all the help he can get when he heads to corporate America with hat in hand.

What’s the rush to get home? The driveway will still need to be shoveled next week.

Missed Cut

Anthony Kim. Speaking of independent contractors, AK’s decision to skip next week’s Bob Hope Classic – played at, among other venues, PGA West, where Kim spent much of his high school years – is a curious move.

Kim, like every other Tour player, has the right to roll up where and whenever he wants, but this is a bit different. Hope officials gave the fourth-year player a sponsor exemption his rookie season and the one-time jewel of the West Coast Swing could use a little star power ever since Phil Mickelson pulled the plug on the Coachella Valley.

Instead, Kim – who also missed last year’s Hope with an injury – will play the Abu Dhabi Championship on the European Tour. Similarly, he skipped last year’s Northern Trust Open, which also gave him an exemption his rookie year, to play overseas. He must need the frequent flyer miles.

Frank Lickliter. “Frankie the Blade” has never failed to entertain. Asked a few years ago after taking medalist honors at Q-School why he declined to talk to the press for the first five days of the tournament Lickliter hissed, “Hogan didn’t talk to the press.” Nor did Hogan ever go to Q-School, but that’s another story.

This one is even better. According to Golfweek magazine Lickliter commissioned an artist to paint a 5-foot-by-7-foot canvas portraying his own victory at this year’s U.S. Open complete with a leaderboard in the background and a vision of Tiger Woods, reflected in Lickliter’s signature wraparounds, dropping to his knees in anguish.

Never mind, of course, that Lickliter has never finished better than 18th at the national championship, or that he failed to keep his Tour card in 2009 (finishing 191st in earnings), or – wait for it – that he is not even qualified for this year’s championship at Pebble Beach.

The power of positive thinking or delusions of grandeur? You make the call.