Cut Line Tiger in 140 Characters


Tiger Woods’ arrival in Tweet-dom caused a tectonic stir this week, with 235,000 followers and counting, signing on to hear from a suddenly media-friendly world No. 2. Among the Tweets followers should not expect from @TigerWoods:

“See you in Kapalua.”

“Anyone want a Ryder Cup rain jacket?”

“Suddenly, second doesn’t suck that bad.”

“It is what it isn’t.”

“Phil for 2012 Ryder Cup captain.”

“It wasn’t my swing or personal life that cost me in ’10. It was the new grooves.”

“Did Jim Furyk really kiss the FedEx Cup?”

“I’m going to become a vegetarian.”

“The major venues really didn’t suit my game this year.”

You get the idea.

Made Cut

Scottish Open. They don’t play Augusta National’s Par-3 course for the Masters Tournament, you don’t settle for a game at U.S. Cellular Field if seats at Wrigley Field are available, and you don’t schlep all the way to Scotland to play a parkland course – or at least you don’t anymore.

Word last week that Scottish Open officials finally planned to play the event on a links-style course was good news. That Castle Stuart, a northern layout that recently opened to rave reviews, is on the hook for the 2011 event was like Christmas in November.

“Cut Line” made a scouting trip to Castle Stuart earlier this season and offers the best accolade one can afford a Scottish links – it looks like it’s been there for 100 years.

In-Kyung Kim. A lot of tour types are charitable. Many go well beyond the normal bounds of generosity. What Kim did last week at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational was something else altogether.

Following Kim’s final-round 64 and three-shot victory in Mexico she donated her entire winner’s check of $220,000 – nearly 20 percent of her total winnings in 2010 – to charity. Half of Kim’s haul went to Ochoa’s educational fund and the other half to a charity in the United States.

“I went to Lorena's party, and I saw the kids, how she is helping kids with her foundation, and I [decided] if I win, I will be giving all the money to the people who need help,” Kim said.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Designated denial. The designated tournament proposal had all the markings of a rain-maker. The plan was simple – pick two or three wanting events and rope the top 30 players (read Woods and Mickelson) into playing at least one each year.

Why then did the perfect plan get nixed by devilish details?

Although the details of this week’s Tour Policy Board meeting in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., remain unclear, the demise of the designated tournament proposal likely rested on two factors – the perceived stigma of being labeled a “designated event” and the reluctance of top players (read Woods and Mickelson) to have their schedules mandated.

Word is the Tour is going to ask top players to add a struggling event to their schedules. Isn’t that like making a speed limit voluntary?

Tiger Woods. Call it preemptive, call it an epiphany, whatever coaxed Woods out of his media shell in recent days is as good a sign as any that the world No. 2 is settling into his new life.

From his appearance on ESPN’s “Mike & Mike in the Morning” show to a column in Newsweek, Woods has opted to tackle the one-year anniversary of the Nov. 27 accident that set off revelations of his serial infidelity head on, even if much of the inventory seemed a bit overly familiar.

“It's amazing how much better I feel internally each and every day. How thankful I am to have the connection to my kids,' Woods said during the Mike & Mike interview. “I feel so much better and everything is in much better perspective now.”

Given the timing, the media offensive is understandable. We just wonder where all that media savvy was last year when he could have really used it?

Tweet of the Week: @TigerWoods “Yep, it’s me. I think I like this Twitter thing. You guys are awesome. Thanks for all the love.”

It’s a perfect medium for Woods, who rarely gives an answer over 140 characters.

Missed Cut

Ryo Ishikawa. Lee Westwood was the first to jump ship, bypassing the green fairways of the PGA Tour for the comfort of the home tour, followed by Rory McIlroy and now Ishikawa . . . wait, what?

The 19-year-old told reporters last week, “I have no interest (in changing tours). I want to do what I did this year.”

Westwood and McIlroy are established stars with Tour victories and a home circuit in Europe that is much stronger than it gets credit for on this side of the pond. Ishikawa has a grand total of 16 Tour starts, half of which are missed cuts, and a single top-10.

Or maybe the “missed cut” should go to the Official World Golf Ranking, which awards far too many points to Japan Golf Tour events. Ishikawa’s recent victory in the Mitsui Sumitomo Visa Taiheiyo was worth just four fewer world ranking points than Robert Garrigus’ win at Disney last week.

Westwood and McIlroy have nothing to prove. Ishikawa has proven nothing.

New grooves. The new rule cost manufacturers millions in research and retooling, forced the Tour into the unsavory, and legally awkward, position of implementing enforcement and cost Mickelson a few style points when he “proved a point” earlier this year with an old Ping wedge.

And for what? Bubkas, at least according to the frat brothers.

Driving accuracy – which, in theory, was supposed to improve as Tour types sought out short grass to compensate for less spin – remained on par with previous years. This year’s Tour average was 63.51 percent compared with 62.91 percent in 2009 and 63.16 percent in 2008. Ditto for proximity to the hole, with this year’s average approach shot 7 feet, 4 inches from the hole compared to 7 feet, 3 inches in 2009 and 7 feet, 5 inches in 2008.

“I don’t think there is any correlation between total driving and the money list,” said Joe Durant, who finished second in driving accuracy but 124th on the money list. “Total driving is a thing of the past.”

Unfortunately for the rest of us, aggressive grooves are now a thing of the past. And for what?