In this week’s esoteric edition, we ask the metaphysical question, “If Inbee Park wins the single-season Grand Slam, will anyone notice?” and wonder if the PGA Tour will get credit for the right execution of the wrong idea next week when it tackles the anchoring debate.
InBee-lievable. If a player on the PGA Tour – pick a player, any player will do – was vying for the third leg of the single-season Grand Slam there would be Twitter accounts to track what that player had for breakfast, yet the phenomenal Park toils in relative obscurity on her march to history.
Perhaps she prefers it that way, but her bashfulness doesn’t diminish the depth of her accomplishments. Park has won five of her 12 starts this season, including victories at the season’s first two majors (Kraft Nabisco Championship and Wegmans LPGA Championship) and is back in the mix at the U.S. Women’s Open after an opening 68.
To consider Park’s season Tigeresque may be low-balling her accomplishments. Consider that just once in his career (2002) Woods began his year with victories at the season’s first two majors.
If the two best words in sports are “Game 7,” Cut Line would humbly submit that the second-best phrase in sporting lexicon is “Grand Slam.”
Open audition. Cut Line can’t be the only one captivated this week by views of Sebonack Golf Club and the play at the U.S. Women’s Open.
The Jack Nicklaus-Tom Doak design is a must-see for architecture fans and the USGA seems to have gone with a more user-friendly setup – evidenced by a host of red numbers on the leaderboard following Day 1.
Although Cut Line is no fan of the Long Island Expressway, and with Shinnecock Hills returning to the U.S. Open rotation in 2018 there doesn’t seem to be a market for another New York-area venue, Sebonack should join the short list of “Best courses to never host an Open.”
Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)
Rory McIlroy. It is the Ulsterman’s honesty that has made him so endearing to fans and media, but that doesn’t make his comments this week at The Irish Open any less concerning.
The world No. 2 referred to himself as “lost” and “suffocated” following an opening 2-over 74, which he followed with a 72 to miss the cut at Carton House, and although he’s been here before, the current slump seems to be taking a more profound toll.
“At the moment, no aspects of my game are strong and I’m just feeling a bit lost at the moment,” he told reporters this week. “It feels good on the range and I can hit all the shots but when I get out on the course it really does not seem to be there.”
McIlroy will play his way out of his current slide; he’s too talented to think otherwise. But at 24 years old we have to worry how many more of these peaks and valleys his psyche can endure.
May we suggest a session with pop psychologist Stuart Smalley of SNL fame: “Rory you are good enough, smart enough, and, doggonit, people like you.”
Ban-ing together. The powers at the PGA of America indicated this week that the association would follow the PGA Tour’s lead on the anchoring ban which was adopted earlier this year by the USGA and R&A, although PGA president Ted Bishop left the door open for a more contentious outcome.
“As we have seen over the past few months, the Rules of Golf can affect recreational golf in addition to play at the elite level,” Bishop told Golf Digest. “The PGA of America will continue to confer with the PGA Tour on the subject ... and the PGA of America will reserve any public comments on this matter until after the PGA Tour policy board meets.”
The Tour’s policy board is scheduled to meet next Monday and Tuesday at The Greenbrier and sources have told Cut Line the circuit will accept the ban and deal with the inevitable legal fallout.
Nine Tour players who currently use anchored putters – including Adam Scott, Tim Clark and Carl Pettersson – have already retained Boston-area attorney Harry Manion and one should expect a legal challenge in the coming weeks, but in this case the circuit seems destined to accept the lesser of two evils.
Going against the ban, as some have suggested, would create a confusing bifurcation of the Rules of Golf where players are allowed to anchor for most of the season but would be forced to switch for the U.S. Open, Open Championship and probably the Masters.
The USGA and R&A made a principled stand against anchoring, but it will be the Tour that will be left to pay the price.
Nick Faldo. With all due respect to the Englishman, his claim this week that Tiger Woods is “not in a good mental place” and that’s he’s “woken up and realized this is a hard sport and he is a mere mortal, after all,” makes Cut Line question what tour the erstwhile world beater has been watching?
While Woods wasn’t at his best at the Memorial (T-65) or the U.S. Open (T-32), he still has four victories this season, more than double anyone else, and has finished outside the top 10 just seven times in his last 19 stroke-play events on the PGA Tour.
The elbow injury is concerning and maybe former swing coach Hank Haney was onto to something when he recently suggested that the world No. 1 doesn’t prepare for majors with the intensity that he once did (priorities change, it’s natural), but to contend that Woods is not as mentally tough as he once was ignores his body of work – both past and present.
Si Woo Kim. Congrats to the PGA Tour rookie who turned 18 Friday and officially was awarded his Tour card. Now he has six events, more or less, to keep it.
Kim tied for 20th at last year’s Q-School to earn his spot on Tour, but because of regulations he couldn’t become a member until he turned 18. So far this season he’s missed one cut (AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am) and withdrew from the Puerto Rico Open.
That leaves him six open events to play his way into the top 125 in FedEx Cup points (or earnings) to avoid another trip through the qualifying process.
Yeah ... happy birthday.