Cut Line: Patriots, Presidents, Playoffs


Monday’s finish at the Deutsche Bank Championship means this week’s 36-hole cut on the PGA Tour won’t arrive until Saturday, but we’ve got you covered with a special Round 1 edition of Cut Line.

Made Cut

A true patriot. During an event earlier this year in Tulsa, Okla., Major Dan Rooney announced that for the first time demand would outpace supply in the inspiring nine-year journey of the Folds of Honor.

Rooney, who founded the Folds in 2007 to provide educational support to the spouses and children of America’s fallen and wounded service men and women, wasn’t trying to temper expectations for 2015; that’s not the major’s style.

Instead he was inspiring the crowd and an organization that has already provided more than 7,500 scholarships, including $4.3 million worth in 2012.

This Labor Day weekend, courses across the country are participating in Patriot Golf Day with golfers adding $1 to their green fees to help fund the Folds of Honor.

Rooney closed his speech in May with a simple challenge: Don’t stop working until every request can be met.

Tweet of the week: @ZachJohnsonPGA “I knew he got lucky the first time around ...”

The Open champion was taking a friendly jab at Jordan Spieth, who threw out the first pitch on Tuesday at the Boston Red Sox game.

After tossing a perfect strike last month when he threw out the first pitch at a Texas Rangers game, Spieth’s attempt at Fenway Park was high and wide.

Considering the competition, Cut Line would still pencil in the 22-year-old as our No. 1 starter.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Slam-med shut. The PGA of America announced this week that it would be canceling this year’s Grand Slam of Golf following the association’s decision in July to move the event away from Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles.

The move was prompted by Donald Trump’s controversial comments regarding Mexican immigrants and it appears the PGA was unable to find a suitable replacement.

While a one-year hiatus for the 36-hole exhibition is hardly a cause for concern, it is disappointing considering how entertaining this year’s major championship season was.

As an alternative to an outright cancelation, may we suggest the PGA relocate the event to Dallas National and have Spieth, Jason Day and Johnson – no need for an alternate – play what would be an awesome game of “wolf.”

Presidential hopefuls. Who would have thought that Nick Price, captain of this year’s International Presidents Cup team, would have an easier decision with his captain’s picks than his counterpart Jay Haas?

With the matches being played in South Korea for the first time in October, it seems likely Price will select Byeong-Hun An, who was born in Seoul and is currently 11th on the point list.

While Price’s second option may not be as clear cut, if Sangmoon Bae, who is scheduled to report for mandatory military service at the end of this season in South Korea, can piece together another solid week following his tie for sixth at The Barclays it could make Price's second pick just as straightforward.

Haas, however, will have a much more complicated choice. With both Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson outside the automatic qualifiers, conventional wisdom suggests his first pick would be one of the two veterans (probably Mickelson).

With his son, Bill, currently perched at No. 11 on the points list Haas will find himself in an unenviable position for his second selection, with the decision coming down to Bill Haas, J.B. Holmes, Billy Horschel and Brandt Snedeker.

Missed Cut

Silly math. In recent weeks McIlroy reclaimed his place atop the Official World Golf Ranking from his couch and Day moved to within a confusing round of mathematical musical chairs of the top spot.

This week Spieth, who was overtaken by McIlroy on Monday, said that Day was No. 1 “right now,” which goes to the heart of the current world ranking debate.

The ranking’s two-year rolling cycle may not be a perfect system, as we saw on Monday when McIlroy moved back to No. 1 without hitting a meaningful shot, but it is the best golf has.

While the top spot gets the most attention, the real intrigue with the world ranking isn’t based on who is ranked No. 1 as much as it is the player at No. 51, with the top 50 being the widely held benchmark for entry into the game’s best events.

The top ranking makes for good water-cooler conversations, but since we aren’t hearing a lot of debate whether Brendon Todd (currently No. 50) is .001 average ranking point better than Victor Dubuisson (No. 51) then it seems the OWGR folks are doing something right.

Back to the drawing board. Since the Tour continues to tinker with the FedEx Cup Playoffs, points for this year’s postseason events were reduced from five times those awarded during the regular season to four times as many, it seems an apropos time to improve participation.

McIlroy skipped the first playoff stop to rest his mending ankle, which was a perfectly understandable move, but Sergio Garcia’s decision to sit out the first two playoff stops should set off alarms in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

The Spaniard, who began the postseason 31st on the points list, decided to skip the first two events because, well he could. There is no way to make the independent contractors play, but the Tour could create a format where players are penalized, say 500 points, for skipping events.

The playoff concept may not be a perfect fit for golf, but the idea of a “bye” week certainly doesn’t work either.