Cut Line Straits Shooting - COPIED


As the golf world continues to digest “bunker-gate” and one of the strangest major finishes in history (non-Carnoustie division), Herb Kohler’s Wisconsin wonderland shares the dubious “’Missed Cut” spotlight this week with the PGA Tour, which seems poised to pull the plug on the circuit’s preeminent island getaway in Hilton Head.

Made Cut

Dustin Johnson. It took Roberto De Vicenzo the better part of 40 years to get over his scorecard gaffe at the 1968 Masters, telling “Cut Line” a few years ago, “For 40 years (the mistake) made me cry. Now it makes me smile.”

Our gut tells us it won’t take the hard-swinging Johnson that long, particularly considering how he reacted in the hectic moments following one of the most surreal major finishes since Jean Van de Velde waded into a chilly Scottish burn.

“Obviously I know the Rules of Golf, and I can't ground my club in a bunker, but that was just one situation I guess. Maybe I should have looked to the rule sheet a little harder,” Johnson said. “That's how it goes.”

We also were impressed with the way Johnson’s caddie Bobby Brown handled the heartbreak.

“I've thought long and hard, and I'll have to take a little heat,” Brown told the Myrtle Beach Sun News. “Maybe I should've known. I always read those sheets; I carry them in my yardage book in case there's a question. I've walked by bunkers every day, and I never thought that was a bunker. I thought it was a waste area. It looked like sand off the hill.”

From where “Cut Line” is sitting a week removed from the madness, it looks like golf’s version of a hanging chad.

Sean Foley. Whatever the status of his relationship with the world No. 1, it seems to be providing Tiger Woods with constructive feedback if not glimmers of hope.

Although Woods’ rounds of 71-70-72-73 at Whistling Straits were hardly a reason to celebrate, most Tour observers agree his action is “better,” whatever that means, and his putting (he didn’t take more than 29 putts for any round at the PGA) suggests the Barclays may be more than simply a Playoff cameo for the embattled star.

 If so, Foley would get co-Coach of the Year honors with Buck Showalter, the new Baltimore Orioles skipper who has the Birds inching their way out of the American League basement.
Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Rory McIlroy. We love the kid – crazy game, engaging, mop of black curls spilling out from under the ball cap. Among the twentysomethings he is the most promising prospect both on and off the golf course, but we have to flag the Northern Irish-lad for his comments regarding Woods and the Ryder Cup.

Asked this week if he “fancies his chances (in a match)” against the world No. 1 McIlroy said, “Yeah I would, unless his game rapidly improves over the next few weeks. I think anyone on the European team would fancy their chances against him.”

Although he gets style points for his bravado, someone should remind McIlroy it is European captain Colin Montgomerie’s job to produce bulletin board fodder, and he’s very good at it.

Corey Pavin. Yes, we know, Tiger is on your short list of potential captain’s picks. It just seems Captain America is taking this coy schtick a bit too far.

Remove all the names from the potential picks and this is a non-story. Player W has 14 majors to his credit, has played on a combined 11 Ryder and Presidents Cup teams, has an impressive 3-1-1 Ryder Cup singles’ record and two top-5 finishes in majors this year.

By comparison, Players X, Y and Z (Nos. 9, 10 and 13 on the current points list) have one top-5 in 11 career majors, one top-5 of any kind this season and would be a Ryder Cup rookie, respectively.

You make the call.

Tweet of the week: @ogilviej (Joe Ogilvie) “I don’t know what is scarier, my putting today or the fact that the Federal Reserve will become second largest holder of U.S. dept by October.”
Missed Cut

PGA Tour. Not even “bridge” financing for at least one more year, 42 years of dedicated southern hospitality and one of the coziest setups this side of St. Andrews was enough to save the circuit’s Hilton Head Island, S.C., stop.

The Valero Texas Open will move into Hilton Head’s post-Masters date in 2011, although no commitments have been made beyond next year, and Harbour Town officials are hopeful a spot will open up elsewhere on the schedule but are still eyeing possible dates.

Still, “Cut Line” couldn’t help but revisit chief of operations Rick George’s comments before this year’s Heritage.

“This time of year is right after Augusta and the Masters. It makes a lot of sense, it's been a staple on Tour for the last 42 years, and we hope to be here another 42 years,” George said.

“I wouldn't say there’s other cities trying to take the tournament. Obviously we have every intention of being back here in 2011.”

That’s quite a 180 in less than four months. Either George was being less than forthcoming, or he was speaking completely out of school. You choose.

Herb Kohler and Pete Dye. To be fair, Kohler’s dream was to build America’s greatest golf resort and his slice of Wisconsin heaven certainly puts Whistling Straits and the American Club in the conversation among the nation’s best.

As a Grand Slam venue, however, the Straits Course is something less than ideal. In essence, there are 16 great holes – the par-5 fifth hole is a square peg in a collection of round holes and the 18th is best described as a work in progress – spoiled by a contrived collection of ornamental bunkers and enough hills to break a billy goat.

If the PGA of America is married to Whistling Straits as a venue, may we suggest the occasional PGA Professional National Championship. The club pros deserve a solid course and the fans deserve a break.