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Cut Line: Best byes edition

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No PGA Tour cut this “bye” week, but your correspondent had little trouble filling space thanks to the surgical success of one of the game’s original “bash brothers” and a courtly birthday fit for a King.

Made Cut

J.B. Holmes. It was billed as “non-life threatening,” but anytime an athlete undergoes surgery of the brain or neck it’s concerning, just ask an Indianapolis Colts fan, any Colts fan will do.

But according to his manager, Holmes sailed through a procedure last week to correct an ailment called Chiari malformations, a structural defect on his cerebellum which had been causing dizziness, headaches and problems with his balance and coordination since May.

Holmes left Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Hospital early Monday and tweeted Thursday that he was already back home in Orlando, Fla., recovering.

If Holmes’ rehabilitation goes according to schedule he could be chipping and putting in 30 days and hitting full shots before Thanksgiving which would mean he’d be ready to start the 2012 season in January.

“He’s excited because now he has a definitive answer about what was wrong and he can move forward,” said Terry Reilly, Holmes’ manager with Wasserman Media Group.

We don’t want to rain on the Colts’ 2011-12 parade, but it looks like Holmes will be back on the field before a certain signal caller whose name rhymes with Meyton Panning.

The King. On Saturday, Arnold Palmer will celebrate his 82nd birthday in Atlantic City, N.J., with his “normal foursome” from Latrobe (Pa.) Country Club, what we can only assume is the standard celebration destination for any octogenarian, right?

Before the big day, however, Palmer said he plans to spend some time hitting balls on the practice tee at Latrobe and working on his game. “I still enjoy working at it. I still go out and practice and enjoy playing with friends,” Palmer told Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive” on Friday between stories of previous birthdays with former president Dwight Eisenhower.

With apologies to the Dos Equis man, it would seem the King is the most interesting man in the world.


Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Vivendi Seve Trophy. The matches, which are viewed across the pond as a Ryder Cup dry run, are often compelling and will double this year as a tribute to the late Seve Ballesteros, but the choice of captains did send us tumbling out of our shoebox-sized cubicle.

The GB&I team, which will not include the likes of world Nos. 1 and 4 Luke Donald and Rory McIlroy, respectively, will be captained by Paul McGinley, who many consider a future European Ryder Cup captain, while the team from the Continent will be led by Jean Van de Velde.

OK, the Sept. 15-18 matches are being played in Paris, but sending a group out with the forlorn Frenchman at the helm is akin to hiring soft-hitting former shortstop Mario Mendoza to be a big league batting coach.

We love Van de Velde, who has always been one of the game’s best quotes, but we're just not sure he’s captain material.

FedEx Cup points. At the turn of this year’s playoffs it’s difficult not to concede that the current model is a vast improvement over the pre-2007 version of the Tour’s finale, but if points are going to become the measure of success and relative failure it’s time to end the circuit’s use of earnings as a secondary gauge.

When the playoffs began, the Tour said the points list would differ little from the money list, which is still used to determine who retains their Tour cards. Yet when the postseason began there were seven players who, although inside the top 125 in earnings, were outside of the top 125 on the points list and missed the playoffs.

The most egregious variation was Bobby Gates, who was 117th in earnings through the final regular-season event (Wyndham Championship) but 152nd in FedEx Cup points. It’s a difference of 35 spots largely due to differences in points vs. earnings at various events.

It’s also worth noting that Tiger Woods finished the regular season 113th in earnings but outside the top 125, and outside the playoffs, in points (No. 132).

If points are the new normal, fine. But to avoid fan confusion, and competitive inconsistencies, it’s time to make points the ultimate benchmark, for the FedEx Cup and a player’s future status.

Tweet of the week: @StewartCink “Well a third straight missed cut (at the Deutsche Bank Championship) means my 2011 FedEx Cup season is in the books. Now I think I’ll burn that book.”


Missed Cut

ESPN. As a rule, Cut Line normally avoids taking television types to task because there are usually so many competing programming interests at play it’s difficult to fairly assign blame, but on this the “Mother Ship” whiffed.

Because of a heavy weekend sports schedule – particularly, college football and U.S. Open tennis – ESPN will air the Walker Cup matches on ESPN3.com. There is a scheduled encore telecast on Sunday on ESPN2 (3-5 p.m. ET), but in the meantime one of the year’s most-compelling events, and one of the deepest U.S. teams in recent history, will be relegated to the dot-com hinterlands.

And we thought NCAA champion John Peterson’s Walker Cup snub was going to be the match’s most-glaring faux pas.

Phil Mickelson. On paper Lefty’s experiment with a belly putter last week at TPC Boston was hardly a bust. Despite ranking in the middle of the pack in most statistical categories, Mickelson recorded just two three-putts and his tie for 10th place was his best finish since his runner-up showing at the Open Championship.

Still, more than one Tour type questioned Lefty’s motives with the belly putter, some pointing out that you don’t win 39 career titles and four majors with a pedestrian flat stick.

“I think he’s trying to prove a point like he did with the grooves,” said one player at the Deutsche Bank Championship in reference to Mickelson’s use of non-conforming-but-legal Ping wedges during the 2009 Farmers Insurance Open.

But if Mickelson is trying to prove a point, what did Keegan Bradley do at the PGA Championship?