Cut Line: Azinger's RC plan; Tiger's appearance fees


The PGA of America’s Ryder Cup task force can start moving and shaking behind closed doors, another blue-ribbon panel emerged from its own conclave to announce the 2015 World Golf Hall of Fame class, while the metaphorical door may be closing on the PGA Grand Slam of Golf.

Made Cut

O captain. Whatever Paul Azinger’s plan for the PGA of America may be, know that the 2008 U.S. Ryder Cup captain only has a singular motivation – winning.

’Zinger, who declined a spot on the PGA’s task force, told this week that his blueprint for Ryder Cup success is “ready to go,” and he plans to present his ideas to officials early next month.

Although he declined to address specific points of his plan, it’s clear his vision for future Ryder Cup teams goes well beyond the use of pods and captain’s picks. It’s also clear that whether he is named the 2016 captain isn’t as important to Azinger as creating a winning environment.

The alternative is a continued slow march to irrelevance, which Azinger acknowledged is a possibility.

“It could, yeah. America needs to win one,” he said. “It’s really interesting irony that you can’t focus on winning and you certainly can’t focus on losing. You want to focus on process. It’s razor thin and the future is bright for the Ryder Cup and the American team can still play well and win these matches.”

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Class of 2015. The World Golf Hall of Fame’s new selection committee named its first induction class, a list that included a long overdue nod to the likes of David Graham and A.W. Tillinghast.

Laura Davies and Mark O’Meara also earned their tickets to the Hall to round out a class that largely defies scrutiny, although O’Meara’s inclusion (16 PGA Tour victories and two major championships) has certainly provided a level of debate.

But it’s the committee’s lack of transparency and inclusiveness that overshadows the ’15 class. Last year the Hall went to a 16-member committee to select its inductees, removing hundreds of golf writers and administrators from the process.

Nor did the Hall do itself any favors by failing to release the vote totals, saying only that each member received the required 75 percent of the vote. The new committee’s inaugural class is solid, but we are still not sold on the process.

The task at hand. The PGA released the list of players that will sit on the Ryder Cup task force this week to mixed reviews.

The 11-man panel includes Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker and Rickie Fowler along with former captains Raymond Floyd, Tom Lehman and Davis Love III.

Some pointed out that many of the current players on the task force have losing Ryder Cup records, and that Fowler has never won a match, but that ignores the statistical reality that the U.S. team has lost eight of the last 10 matches. The few active American players with winning records in the event either have limited experience (Keegan Bradley) or can’t be found (Anthony Kim).

Some have also argued that the task force is reactionary following another U.S. loss last month in Scotland. But the alternative is to do nothing and expect better results, and that, by definition, is insane.

Tweet of the week:

The Englishman was responding to a tweet from Associated Press golf writer Doug Ferguson who suggested the secret password for the Ryder Cup task force was “hindsight.” Poults’ clever response is a nod to the U.S. team’s Ryder Cup record the last 10 matches.

Missed Cut

Lost in the desert. According to a report in this week’s Telegraph, the seemingly bottomless pit of gold and goodwill held for Tiger Woods by officials in Dubai and Abu Dhabi has run dry.

The report claims that officials are finished paying Woods appearance fees estimated to range from $2 million to $3 million and will turn their resources to other players.

Woods has played one of the two European Tour stops in the United Arab Emirates eight times since 2001, but now seems poised to miss the Gulf swing.

At those prices, it’s certainly understandable that officials would go bargain shopping. Lost in this move, however, is the impact it will have on a player who is becoming increasingly insular with his schedule.

Woods has never been the type of world traveller that say, Ernie Els has been, but his annual trip to the Middle East was a chance to be a global ambassador, regardless of his motivations.

No one is to blame for the apparent split between the UAE and Team Tiger, but there is certainly no shortage of losers.

Grand Slam-med. Martin Kaymer won this week’s PGA Grand Slam of Golf sandwiched between two particularly devastating hurricanes that battered Bermuda.

This appears to be the final Grand Slam played in Bermuda, which began hosting the event in 2008, and creates an uncertain future for the game’s most exclusive event.

The Grand Slam appears in danger of becoming a victim of golf’s success. Consider that last year’s winner, Adam Scott, won $600,000, an enormous amount for most but well below the going rate a major winner could charge for a two-day corporate outing.

Without an inspiring new venue and a healthy influx of prize money, Kaymer’s victory may end up being a bittersweet walk-off.