As the PGA Tour arrives in Florida to begin the official run up to the Masters, we take one final look back at the eventful finale at last week’s WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship and an otherwise languid Left Coast.
Good Day. The knock on Jason Day throughout much of his young career is that the Australian, while a fine player, lacked the intensity to close out tournaments under pressure.
Last week at Dove Mountain, Day may have finally put that rap to bed with his overtime victory against Victor Dubuisson. Because of the win-or-go-home nature of match play, each of Day’s six matches were a litmus test for a player who’d managed just one victory in six seasons on Tour.
“In golf you have to choke some and hopefully you win more than choke some,” Day said on Sunday. “But these experiences, these wins, and especially playing match play like this, it's so similar to playing Sunday rounds that it's a good experience to play in match play events because it just gets those juices flowing, what you're going to feel on Sundays at big events.”
Maybe Day’s Match Play marathon doesn’t translate to bigger and better things, but it did prove that he can close out rounds under pressure, and more pressure, and more pressure ...
Filling that Hollow feeling. It has been a season of change for Quail Hollow Club, the tony Charlotte, N.C., layout that has hosted the Wells Fargo Championship since it joined the PGA Tour line up in 2003.
The club recently underwent a dramatic redesign to prepare to host the 2017 PGA Championship. According to various sources, players should ready themselves for the new look when the event is played in early May.
The event also seems to have found a home away from home for 2017 when the Tour stop will have to move out of Quail Hollow to prepare for the year’s final major. Word on the practice tee last week at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship was that the Wells Fargo will be played at the Tom Fazio-designed Eagle Point Golf Club in Wilmington, N.C., for one year.
The folks at the Wells Fargo have proven themselves adept at putting on a quality event and can now add another line to their resume – have PGA Tour event, will travel.
Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)
Woeful West. As the PGA Tour breaks camp and heads east it’s worth taking one last look at what turned out to be a wanting West Coast swing.
Perhaps the weak West Coast fields were a byproduct of the new wraparound schedule or simply changing priorities for the top players. But the ability to quantify how far the Left Coast has fallen is not up for debate.
This week’s Honda Classic, once a vagabond stop adrift in the Florida swing, will award 60 points to the champion. Only the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship (72 points to the winner) – which was missing the world’s Nos. 1, 2 and 4 – received more points.
To make matters worse, the absence of a title sponsor and future venue for the Match Play means the event may move to greener pastures perhaps in Florida or even overseas, further weakening the West Coast.
Of course, Tour officials did have one bit of good news this year from the West Coast – it didn’t snow.
A helping hand. The financial axe that was falling on the men’s golf program at Furman has been stayed, at least for now.
In a letter sent from a group of former Furman players, including Brad Faxon, and obtained by GolfChannel.com’s Ryan Lavner, the school will consider keeping the men’s team beyond this spring if the program can raise $285,000 to cover its operating cost for the next two years.
Beyond that, the program would have to establish an endowment of “no less” than $2 million by the end of 2015 to continue operations.
While the move was good news to anyone associated with the program, particularly the current players, the $285,000 needed to keep the doors open for two years is part of an effort by the university to stem a $6.3 million operating deficit in fiscal year 2014-15.
Considering the economics of scale, it seems cutting the men’s golf program would qualify as a penny wise and pound foolish decision.
Tweet of the week
Uihlein tweeted that after an opening 73 at the Honda Classic on Thursday, but it’s funny because Cut Line has that same line tattooed on his forearm.
Social stupidity. Former PGA champion Steve Elkington has once again run afoul of common sense and socially accepted behavior on Twitter, this time with what appears to be a poor attempt at humor directed Michael Sam.
“ESPN reporting Michael Sam is leading the handbag throw at NFL combine ... No one else expected to throw today,” he tweeted.
Sam is the NFL hopeful who recently announced he has gay, while Elkington is the insensitive clown who continues to offend and astound with his blatant abuses of his right to free speech.
Elk has become the poster child for what is wrong with social media – just because you can say something doesn’t mean you should.
PGA Tour. Not surprisingly, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., clung to the company line when it came to Elkington’s faux pas this week, declining, as they always do, to talk about the crime or the punishment.
“Under our regulations, conduct unbecoming a professional includes public commentary that is clearly inappropriate or offensive. With respect to this matter, and consistent with our longstanding policy, we do not comment on player disciplinary matters,” a Tour statement read.
While Cut Line understands, although utterly disagrees, with the Tour’s policy of “go ahead and ask, we won’t tell” when it comes to punishments, how does that dovetail with ignoring the obvious?
Fine, don’t announce Elk’s punishment, which should be substantial, but at least have the common sense to take a stand against ignorant and offensive comments.