ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – They call it “island time” in this slice of the Golden Isles, a gentle, languid pace that moves with all the urgency of swaying moss – and the golf seems to have taken a cue from the laidback landscape this week.
From McGladrey Classic host Davis Love III’s measured return to normalcy, to the U.S. Golf Association’s slow slide toward a resolution on the long putter debate, Cut Line goes off the clock for this week’s edition.
More than a caddie. There are no caddies in the World Golf Hall of Fame but let Cut Line be the first, or 10th, to unofficially nominate looping legend Fanny Sunesson for induction.
No, Sunesson never hit a shot that mattered, never holed a winning putt, never held a lead at a major championship, but as news surfaced this week that she has retired from the caddie yard because of an ailing back Henrik Stenson, her boss until late last year, put her worth in context.
“Her knowledge, her preparation, the way she carried herself on the golf course, you knew that if you didn’t have a piece of information, no one else in the field had it,” Stenson said. “When she was with me I always felt comfortable and she stayed with me the whole time, even when I wasn’t playing well. We were always a team.”
Sunesson’s resume would certainly be St. Augustine, Fla., ready, with four major championship victories with Nick Faldo along with the 2009 Players Championship and 2007 WGC-Accenture Match Play with Stenson.
And if all that wasn’t enough, imagine the induction party. Caddies always throw the best parties.
Tweet of the week: @NickFaldo006 (Nick Faldo) “As we strode down the 14th fairway (at the) Open in 1990 two (shots) ahead, to break the tension Fanny asks, ‘Are you thinking of getting a dog?’”
Moving on from Medinah. Late Thursday night, hours after he’d signed for a first-round 65 at The McGladrey Classic, Davis Love III was putting the finishing touches on a party for Tour players and their families at his home when someone asked his plans for Friday morning?
“Paddle boarding,” he smiled, however wearily.
It would have been easy, and perfectly understandable, for Love to go “underground” in the wake of last month’s Ryder Cup loss (there is still an APB out for Hal Sutton), but that’s not really his style.
Instead Love played the next two events after Medinah and arrived home to St. Simons Island this week with a full plate of hosting duties, including his final policy board meeting as a player director during Monday and Tuesday’s pairings party at his house.
The full slate was probably helpful considering America’s Sunday collapse at Medinah. “(Zach Johnson) asked if I was over the Ryder Cup yet and I said, ‘No, I don’t think I’ll ever get over it.’ It was so much fun to be part of that team,” Love said on Thursday.
Love will always be “that captain” to middle America, but to so many others he is much more than the sum of his Medinah parts.
Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)
A true farm system. The PGA Tour seemed to inch closer to a more detailed development system this week with news that the Canadian Tour would become the PGA Tour Canada, complete with access to the Web.com Tour for the circuit’s top players.
Like the PGA Tour Latinoamérica, which debuted this year, the top 5 players from the Canada circuit’s money list will graduate to the Web.com Tour and the next five will receive exemptions to the final stage of Q-School.
It is curious, however, that an organization that once seemed void of an atlas, (considering that three of the four World Golf Championships are played within the confines of the Lower 48) has forgotten that charity starts at home.
The global development of the game is encouraging, but what of the thousands of young American golfers who would welcome the same chance as their colleagues in South America and Canada?
For American college players who don’t ace their first Q-School test, the alternative is a year north or south of the border. Give the Tour credit for growing the game, but it just seems like they missed a step along the way.
The long journey for long putters.The U.S. Golf Association and Royal & Ancient Golf Club seem to be inching toward a resolution on long putters, and anchoring.
On Monday USGA executive director Mike Davis made a presentation to the Tour’s Policy Board at Sea Island. Although an official statement from the USGA suggests that the ruling bodies are still deliberating on the issue, one source who attended Monday’s meeting told Cut Line that “they’ve made up their mind (to ban) and just want someone to agree with them.”
An announcement is still expected before the end of the year, but we’d like to offer a little advice – when removing Band-Aids it’s best to be quick about it.
Left field. During a conference call earlier this week, officials for the Tiger Woods World Challenge noted that this year’s field would feature 13 Ryder Cup players, which prompted one golf scribe to ask, “You couldn’t talk Phil (Mickelson) into playing?”
Without pause Woods deadpanned, “It was his decision.” Rarely does Tiger offer so much insight with such an economy of words.
Earlier this year Woods raised some media eyebrows when word spread that Mickelson tried to arrange a pre-Masters practice round at Augusta National with the world No. 2 but Woods declined.
Some viewed the invitation as a peace offering to thaw what is widely considered an icy relationship, but if Lefty really wanted to make nice he would make the drive up the SoCal coast and play the World Challenge for the first time since 2002.
A Mickey Mouse moment. According to one source who has seen the tentative 2013-2014 schedule, the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic is not on next year’s calendar.
Although there is still time, and according to tournament officials a desire, to round up a new sponsor for next season, removing Disney from its status as the final regular-season event removes a level of prestige that came along with it. Not to mention an added expense with the former fall series events forced to increase their purses to FedEx Cup levels ($6 million), all making the “Happiest Place on Earth” a much more difficult sell.
“We’ve decided the best thing is to put all of our focus on the 2012 event, and after that we will look to the future,” Disney tournament director Kevin Weickel said this week.
Perhaps this is no more than economic Darwinism, but losing a Tour stop that’s been around since 1971 would be like, well, standing in line at Space Mountain for an hour.
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