Cut Line Oh Captains


You know it’s a Ryder Cup year when the United States and European captains make more headlines than any of their potential players ... in May.

Colin Montgomerie and Corey Pavin promise to make Wales interesting this year, while John Daly makes a “Cut Line” cameo for all the right reasons.

Made Cut

“Designated Tournaments.” The PGA Tour’s most recent alternative to the one-and-four concept and “flex scheduling” will be introduced to players during next week’s Player Advisory Council meeting at Muirfield Village.

PAC member Paul Goydos told Golfweek the discussions are “preliminary,” but the example given was to designate five events each year and require a top player participate in at least one of those tournaments.

The idea looks good on paper, but the toughest part of that discussion, after convincing the game’s marquee players to sign on, will be coming up with just five events that need a field upgrade each year. The game’s top two players, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, have not played in more than 22 events since 2003. That’s roughly half the number of FedEx Cup events (41) on this year’s schedule.

John Daly. The big man seems to have a homestead exemption on the wrong side of the “Cut Line” axe, but rounds of 66-69 to start the week at Colonial and a surprisingly upbeat outlook during a recent Golf Channel interview have made those “Loud Mouth” paints seem less offensive.

Besides, the Open Championship returns to St Andrews this summer. Imagine the possibilities if Daly returns to the Auld Grey Toon on form some 15 years and 50 pounds after his emotional breakthrough in 1995?
Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

New York/New Jersey Super Bowl. Because nothing says good times like wind chills in the single digits, frozen tundra and three-hours stuck in traffic on the Jersey Turnpike.

On this, golf seems to have the market cornered on common sense. You don’t play the Masters in Manitoba in March, the U.S. Open in Anchorage in February or the PGA Championship in Buffalo in January, although if “Glory’s Last Shot” ever ventures back to Southern Hills it may be a desirable option. And you don’t play a Super Bowl in New York ... or New Jersey.

Colin Montgomerie. Captain frumpy was back at again this week, this time taking it to the U.S. Golf Association for not doling out a freebie invitation to Simon Khan after his victory at last week’s BMW PGA Championship.

“You feel that after his win, the USGA might have invited him to play and not made him try to qualify,” captain Monty said. “Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. He did well to come out that morning and shoot 67. It was a great effort and unfortunately he missed the playoff because to get into the Ryder Cup team playing in the majors is a definite advantage.”

The BMW PGA is a fine event, the real “fifth major” depending on who you ask, but it’s hardly the ultimate major championship litmus test for a player who was 471st in the world at this time last week.
Missed Cut

The rest of the fraternity. OK, the rank and file doesn’t like Ernie Els’ handiwork at Wentworth, site of last week’s BMW PGA, but backlash reached a crescendo and the Big Easy countered with some big talk.

“There is going to be criticism with any new design but I really wasn't expecting the backlash I got. I don't think anybody deserved it,' the South African said. 'If they had criticisms they could've handled it differently. That's the sad part of the week – a lot of the guys I've known for a long time came out and basically put the knife in. I don't really appreciate that.'

It’s become good fun to pile on when a Jones or a Fazio gets a tad too creative, but when it’s one of your own, when it’s a friend, perhaps it’s best to follow mom’s advice – when you don’t have anything nice to say, talk about the new groove rule.

Tweet of the week. @natalie_gulbis: “At oakmont (Country Club, site of this year’s U.S. Women’s Open) with carol simple Thompson.” That would be Carol Semple Thompson, the grand dame of women’s amateur golf.

Corey Pavin. First captain Corey was called out by Jack Nicklaus, who said the U.S. skipper should have a “brain scan” for saying that Woods would get no special consideration if he doesn’t make this year’s team on points, and then by Captain America, 2008 skipper Paul Azinger.

In an interview with, Azinger said he was surprised Pavin hasn’t reached out to him for any advice and even suggested “it’s getting a little late” for the two to talk now.

Maybe Pavin plans to read Azinger’s new book about the ’08 matches (“Cracking the Code”), but it just seems he will need all the help he can get later this year in Wales. For starters, which “pod” will Ben Crane (currently No. 9 on the U.S. points list) go into? Certainly not the one that tees off first.