Cut Line Black and Blue at Doral


DORAL, Fla. – There’s no cut at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, although after the better part of two rounds there are some in the limited-field event who were pining for a 36-hole axe.

But the real damage this week did not go down on the famed Blue Monster but in cyber world, highlighted by an escalating war of words between Tiger Woods’ swing coaches past and present.

Made Cut

Martin Kaymer. “Excuse me,” the man with the colorful drink adjacent Doral’s 18th hole asked early Friday. “Who is that?” Um, the world No. 1.

Perhaps not since Bernhard Langer became the first world No. 1 has there been so much uncertainty at the top of the pro golf heap. So much so we suggested the German wear a “Hi, my name is Martin and I’m the world’s best golfer” sticker on tournament days to Kaymer’s manager.

While researching a future story on Kaymer we were particularly taken by the golf world’s perception of him and the reality of a thoughtful and engaging man.

“He’s very far away from Bernhard, oddly enough,” Kaymer’s manager Johan Elliot with Sportyard said. “On the golf course they are similar, but, as far as his golf swing, he’s not mechanical in any way. Very un-German-like. He’s a global citizen.”

That’s a much better description, but way too wordy for a “Hi, my name is . . .” tag.

Ben Crane. Although he withdrew from the WGC-Cadillac Championship, Crane scored even more style points this week with another viral-ready video.

Self-deprecation is a rare commodity among the Tour fraternity and no one does it better than Crane, whose most recent production takes a tongue-and-cheek look at his reputation as a slow player.

On that front, “Cut Line” recently asked one longtime Tour official if Crane was still among the circuit’s slowest. “Not at all. He’s really gotten a lot better. He’s not even in the top 5 anymore.”

“Do you like everything about yourself?” Crane jokes in the video, but it is apropos for a man who did what few others can or will – change.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Motor City moves. The final sentence has yet to be penned, but this week’s report that Cadillac is angling to bring the PGA Tour back to Detroit is concerning on two fronts.

According to a story in the Detroit Free Press, Detroit Golf Club is in line to host the event that could be held as early as 2012. Presumably the new event would slide into the vacancy left by the Heritage, which lost its title sponsor last year and has struggled to find a replacement, and would require some schedule adjustment.

Hank Haney and Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods' former swing coach Hank Haney engaged in a war of written words this week with current coach, Sean Foley.

The Heritage is traditionally played the week after the Masters but moved this year to two weeks after the year’s first major. Either date is unworkable in Detroit, which would force some tinkering. It would also mean the end for The Heritage, one of the Tour’s most cherished stops since 1969.

Additionally, there has been speculation that this week’s WGC at Doral could be shifted up north, but that in all likelihood would create even more conflicts with the European Tour schedule, and we’ve all seen how those clashes work out (see Westwood, Lee, 2011 Players Championship).

 Speaking of dueling schedules, Ernie Els was asked this week at Doral if there has been any resolution between the Tour and the European circuit on the playing of this year’s Presidents Cup (Nov. 14-20 in Australia) and the South African Open, where Els will be the defending champion and will be played the same week.

Presidential pardon. “They (Tour commissioner Tim Finchem and European chief George O’Grady) are talking,” Els said. “It's basically in their hands and it's a bit of an issue to resolve. Hopefully they get it resolved. Somebody is going to have to move a date or something.

“It's quite an issue. And not just for me, for the other guys, too; Louis (Oosthuizen), Charl (Schwartzel), Tim (Clark), Rory (Sabbatini) is back in the (Presidents Cup) picture. It could be quite something.”

Finchem and O’Grady are scheduled to speak to the press on Sunday at Doral, so stay tuned.

Missed Cut

Tiger Woods. Of all the lingering questions over the artist formerly known as Tiger Woods, why he seems reluctant to add to his schedule when more “reps” seems to be the tonic for his current troubles is the most curious.

Yet when asked on Wednesday why he won’t add to his schedule Woods lashed back, “Well, because I have a family. I'm divorced. If you've been divorced with kids, then you would understand.”

Tough times indeed, but it’s worth pointing out that 50 percent of all marriages in America end in divorce which means Woods is hardly alone in his troubles. As one Tour brother astutely reasoned, “He’s got a huge jet and can bring a nanny for each child if he needs to. He’s just electing not to play, which is his right. . . . Just because you’re divorced doesn’t mean you can’t play golf.”

Swing coach spats. The landscape has become mean, like South Beach after dark. Maybe it’s the byproduct of increased scrutiny and a golf public that wants answers and they want them now. Either way, it’s uncalled for.

A very public dispute broke out between Woods’ former swing coach Hank Haney and his current set of eyes Sean Foley. At this point the “he said, he said” details of the row are unimportant. Haney should be proud of his work and record with Woods and grateful to have been associated with the greatest player of our generation. Foley is an intensely thoughtful man who defies ego. The rest is just background noise.


Follow Rex Hoggard on Twitter @RexHoggard