In honor of Fredrik “The Junkman” Jacobson’s continued flawlessness at TPC-River Highlands, where he is the defending champion and has now posted six consecutive rounds in the 60s, we are going with an all-nickname edition of Cut Line this week – starring Mike “The Enforcer” Davis and Jose Manuel Lara’s caddie Mathias 'The Bagman' Vinson.
Mike Davis. With the exception of perhaps only Jim Furyk, whose title chances at last week’s U.S. Open were virtually decided on Sunday when he arrived at The Olympic Club’s 16th hole unprepared for a tee box that had been moved forward roughly 100 yards, the executive director of the U.S. Golf Association was universally praised for his handiwork on the Lake Course.
Davis’ ability to push a relatively short golf course – after Pebble Beach the Lake Course is the shortest Open venue (7,170 yards) in the last eight years – to the limit without going over the edge is uncanny.
But it wasn’t Davis’ superior setup skills that impressed Cut Line. Instead it was the mild-mannered executive’s split-second takedown of the “Bird Man” during Sunday’s awards ceremony that deserves kudos.
“I just didn’t want it to take away from Webb’s moment. We cannot let this ruin Webb’s big moment,” Davis said on Monday’s “Morning Drive.”
“So without really thinking too much I went out and grabbed him. As I’m dragging him off the green I thought, ‘What am I going to do with him now?’ I escorted him right into the bunker and quickly thereafter the police did get him.”
Given Davis’ “escorting” skills it’s no wonder players have been slow to criticize how he sets up golf courses. Who would want to run into him in a dark locker room?
Webb Simpson. As impressive as his one-stroke victory at the U.S. Open was, it’s what Simpson has done in the days since his victory that may be even more telling.
If major champions are defined by what they do after they win Simpson has already proven to be a quick study, most notably by honoring his decision to play this week’s Travelers Championship and announcing that he will likely miss the British Open so he can be at home with his wife for the birth of the couple’s second child.
Getting on that charter to Connecticut was difficult. Not climbing aboard the flight to Royal Lytham & St. Annes will be equally demanding. But then doing the right thing isn’t always easy.
Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)
Unintended consequences. During Patrick Cantlay’s “hello world” moment on Tuesday at TPC-River Highlands the newly minted professional said the impending changes to the Nationwide Tour/Q-School system did not prompt him to leave UCLA after his sophomore year to test the play-for-pay waters.
Fair enough, but you can bet it was on the mind of Cantlay’s manager Mark Steinberg and Corbin Mills, who recently finished his junior year at Clemson and plans to play this fall’s Q-School as a professional.
Mills recently told Golfweek the changes to the qualifying system were “a huge part” of his decision to turn pro. Expect others to follow his lead.
No one knows what the new qualifying system will look like but this much is certain: This year’s Q-School promises to look much younger because of the change.
U.S. Golf Association. Officials say this isn’t reactionary, but when you say it’s not reactionary it’s always reactionary.
One hundred and fifty years of majors were played without one being won by a player using a non-standard-length putter. Of course the fact that two of the last three Grand Slams have now been won by long-putter wielding players factored into the USGA’s decision to take a long, hard look at anchoring.
Contrary to some reports no move seems imminent, although Davis told Golf Digest this week that “we do owe the golf world some kind of answer before year's end.”
Crime & punishment. Add a new tenet to the caddie credo of “show up, shut up and keep up.” Following a bizarre incident during the first round of this week’s BMW International Open it seems loopers need to be reminded to “own up.”
Jose Manuel Lara was disqualified when officials discovered that the Spaniard’s caddie had inadvertently loaded an extra club in his bag. It was a faux pas complicated by the caddie’s attempt to hide the offending implement in a bush on the second hole.
“They went and asked the chap 'What are you doing?' and he sort of fumbled out an answer saying, ‘I've got this wrong. I've done something bad. I wish it hadn't happened . . .” said European Tour official John Paramor.
“It was clear the club was out of the bag and in the bush at the time. He admitted it straight away and regretted his action.”
Weird, most golfers spend their rounds trying to find wayward tee shots in bushes, but Lara’s man couldn’t lose a single club in the foliage.
Tweet of the week: @WestwoodLee (Lee Westwood) “I can’t find my ball in a tree!”
The Englishman, whose tee shot never dropped out of a tree adjacent the fifth fairway on Sunday at The Olympic Club, was responding to the question, “Have you found any clubs in the bushes lately?” Funny guy that Westwood.
James Morrison. Beware the power of Twitter.
That was the message the European Tour sent this week with news that Morrison had been fined for criticizing Celtic Manor, site of this month’s Wales Open, in a tweet.
Morrison, who tied for 57th at Celtic Manor, tweeted: “Thanks Celtic Manor. Dump! One more round then can't get over that bridge quick enough!” Although he later apologized for his comments, tour officials said he would be fined.
The European circuit, like the PGA Tour, does not allow “offensive, threatening, disparaging, hurtful” comments 'in any public media.” In the United States, however, reasonable, legitimate criticism is permitted.
So, to be clear, had Morrison called TPC San Antonio, for example, a “dump” he would not have been found culpable? There are no reports as to how much Morrison’s fine would be. Best guess is when it comes to infractions on Twitter officials will charge by the character.