Cut Line: USGA bats .500


In this week’s Cut Line, the powers that be at the USGA make the right call for an Open qualifier, but the jury is still out on the Chambers Bay experiment.

Made Cut

Common sense goes 1 up. It’s not often that the USGA gets style points for doing the right thing (see “Bay Watch” item below), as opposed to what is correct according to the small print.

But in this case the USGA deserves kudos for allowing Alison Lee to switch her qualifying site this week for the U.S. Women’s Open. Lee was preoccupied on Monday at the LPGA’s Kingsmill Championship, where she finished third, and couldn’t make it to her scheduled qualifier on Monday in Virginia.

Instead, the USGA allowed Lee to switch to a qualifier in California on Wednesday where she carded a two-round total of 2-over 144 to earn a spot in the Women’s Open.

Now, if only the Rules of Golf had the same “sanity clauses.”

Tweet of the week: @Alisonn_Lee (Alison Lee) “Had a 3:05 time [Sunday] then 7 a.m. [Monday]. I also have to forfeit playing the Women’s Open qualifier tomorrow. I’ve definitely had better days.”

Lee followed that tweet on May 17 with another the next day, “Playing at Goose Creek [Mira Loma, Calif.] tomorrow for the U.S. Women’s Open. Thanks @USGA.”

When more is more. Detractors will point to Rory McIlroy’s 71-78--MC at the BMW PGA Championship as evidence that the world No. 1 is playing too much golf, and maybe there is something to that notion.

McIlroy has been unbeatable the last few weeks, winning the WGC-Cadillac Match Play and Wells Fargo Championship, but the BMW PGA was his fourth consecutive week and it seems like the Northern Irishman hit the metaphorical wall in England where he missed the cut.

But McIlroy doesn’t adhere to the less-is-more philosophy made so popular by Tiger Woods, electing instead to take advantage of courses where he has played well in the past and the good vibes he’s earned over the last few weeks.

That take has McIlroy batting .500 in his last four events with next week’s Irish Open at Royal County Down looming. It may not be a perfect model for everyone, but it certainly works for him.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Scheduling difficulties. It’s always tough to criticize players for their schedules, considering the independent contractors can plan as they please, but Patrick Reed’s decision to skip this week’s BMW PGA Championship seems curious.

Reed said last week at Quail Hollow that he was looking forward to playing the BMW PGA, along with the Irish Open, as part of his new commitment to European Tour membership, but on Saturday he informed tournament officials at the BMW PGA that he wouldn’t be playing the event because of “family reasons.”

Instead, Reed is playing this week’s Crowne Plaza Invitational, which he would have had to commit to by last Friday afternoon at the latest.

Reed told Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte that he decided to play Colonial following the death of his wife’s cousin on Tuesday night.

Scheduling issues come up in every walk of life and this certainly was an unavoidable absence, but better communication likely would have alleviated the confusion.

Missed Cut

Hope-less. It was 29 years ago when the PGA West Stadium Course last hosted a round during the Bob Hope Classic, and that didn’t go very well.

At the time, Ken Green said the only thing the course needed was a few sticks of dynamite, and the amateurs that are just as much a part of the show at the CareerBuilder Challenge found the Stadium Course akin to dental surgery.

So forgive Cut Line if we don’t celebrate the return of the Stadium Course – which will join the Nicklaus Tournament course and La Quinta Country Club – to the event’s rotation.

The Stadium Course has been a fine venue for the Tour’s Q-School in recent years, where frayed nerves come with the courtesy car, but at the CareerBuilder Challenge, where most players are looking to ease their way into the season, it may be a bit too much.

Bay Watch. USGA executive director Mike Davis caused a stir among the play-for-pay set when he recently said a cursory glance at Chambers Bay, site of this year’s U.S. Open, would not do.

“The idea of coming in and playing two practice rounds and having your caddie just walk it and using your yardage book, that person’s done,” Davis said. “Will not win the U.S. Open.”

On Sunday following his seven-stroke victory at the Wells Fargo Championship, McIlroy was asked about Davis’ comments and the idea that the rank and file would need extra time to prepare for the year’s second major.

“What’s Mike Davis’ handicap?” McIlroy asked.

To McIlroy’s point, if a course needs to be played a multitude of times to be understood, does that really make it a worthy test?