This week’s Cut Line is quintessential West Coast, from the celebrated (Phil Mickelson’s Clambake Slam) to the ubiquitous gridlock (slow-and-go progress to solidify future venues for the BMW Championship), the Left Coast never felt so familiar.
Something Lefty. News earlier this week that NFL legend Randy Moss was coming out of retirement seemed strangely apropos considering that a day earlier Phil Mickelson had emerged from his own retirement-like state at Pebble Beach.
It at least partially explains the golf world’s affinity for Lefty that he could wrest himself free of a prolonged slump at just the right moment on Sunday paired with Tiger Woods, who he lapped by 11 strokes on his way to his fourth Clambake title.
At 41 years young Mickelson, who held the lead in Los Angeles through 18 holes, may not be the marathon man he once was, but for majors and major matchups he is still one of the best who ever played the game.
A perfect 10. The more-is-more crowd may want to look away the next few days or face the reality that the architectural solution to lower scores is not more tee boxes and additional real-estate.
At 315 yards, Riviera Country Club’s 10th hole was the fifth shortest par 4 on Tour last year yet played to an over-par average (4.025). Bomb and gouge types should note that of the 190 players who attempted to drive the small, tilted putting surface just three succeeded in 2011.
“(No.) 10 is the easiest par 5 we play all year,” Steve Flesch told Cut Line, only half jokingly.
In short, sometimes shorter is better.
Anti-tweet of the week: Patrick Cantlay “I don't really like it, to be perfectly honest. I just like doing my own thing. I'm fine if no one knows what I'm thinking or no one knows what I'm doing on Friday afternoon at 1:57. I'm just cool with being myself and kind of doing my own thing.”
Cantlay was responding to a question about why he doesn’t use any type of social media. We’d give the amateur a “hashtag high-five (#Hi5)” for his honesty but . . . well, just forget it.
Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)
Belly up. If Cut Line is reading the smoke signals correctly, longer than standard length putters are headed the way of the Dodo bird as early as next year if the alarmists are to be believed.
The U.S. Golf Association and Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews are tasked with maintaining the integrity of the game, hardly an easy gig, but this move seems a tad reactionary.
“My thought is they've picked the wrong thing to fight against and they've done it about 15 years too late,” Tom Lehman told Golfweek magazine. “To make an issue about this when they should have made an issue about the balls or clubs 15, 20 years ago is ridiculous.”
Cut Line blames all of this on Jason Dufner. Had he closed the deal last year at Atlanta Athletic Club, and beaten long-putter wielding Keegan Bradley, should we be preparing eulogies for the long putter?
The BMW’s wild ride. Tour types have been busy trying to rework a deal with the city of San Francisco that would bring the BMW Championship, the penultimate playoff event, to Harding Park in 2013 or ’14.
Chicago’s Conway Farms will host the 2013 BMW according to various reports and Colorado’s Cherry Hills is scheduled to be the venue for the 2014 edition.
A revised agreement would bring another marquee event to San Francisco in 2017, ’18 or ’19, with the likely candidate being the 2017 Presidents Cup, an event Harding Park hosted in 2009.
“We are in the process of finalizing an amendment that would move a Tour playoff event to 2016 but also add two (Champions Tour) Schwab Cups,” Phil Ginsburg, San Francisco’s Recreation and Park general manager, told the San Francisco Chronicle.
Sounds like Ginsburg & Co. should be holding out for a better offer: we’ll take two Schwab Cups, a Presidents Cup, a playoff event to be named later and a year’s supply of Ghirardelli chocolate.
Hoping for the best. On paper the new Tournament of Hope has all the markings of a can’t-miss stop: a solid mission (HIV/AIDS awareness), world ranking points and a South African home that would surely draw that nation’s top players.
The small print, however, leaves one less than enthusiastic about the tournament’s chances, starting with the news that the event would not be afforded World Golf Championships status, which was originally announced last April by the Sunshine Tour.
Nor will the TOH have a $10 million purse, which was also previously announced, and although it will count as an official event on the European and Sunshine tours it will not on the PGA Tour.
The event would also create even more scheduling concerns. The 2013 Tournament of Hope would be played the same week of Tiger Woods’ World Challenge outside Los Angeles, an unofficial tournament that also receives Official World Golf Ranking points.
The PGA Tour already has one lightly regarded, faux WGC on the schedule (HSBC Champions), do we really need another?
Loose lips . . . Tiger Woods blasted former swing coach Hank Haney earlier this year when it was announced he would be writing a book about his years with the game’s most-dominant player, calling Haney’s decision to write the book “unprofessional'.
Following last Sunday’s head-to-head loss to Mickelson, long considered Woods’ primary rival, he should have a bigger issue with Butch Harmon, who was Woods’ swing coach when he turned professional.
“I explained to (Mickelson) some things to be aware of when playing with Tiger,” Harmon said. “If Tiger putts out first the gallery is going to start moving ahead, so if you have a chance to putt out first it’s in your best interest to do so. If it’s close on the back nine, Tiger will sometimes hit 3-wood on purpose to make you wait. Tiger’s not doing anything illegal; it’s just a little bit of gamesmanship.”
Mickelson, who began working with Harmon in April 2007, has outplayed Woods eight times and tied him once in the duo’s last dozen head-to-head pairings.
Haney’s book may be “unprofessional,” but for Woods, Harmon’s storytelling may just seem uncool.