Cut Line: USGA's Davis acts as peacemaker


The USGA’s Mike Davis takes top honors in this week’s edition as he tries to head off a Texas-sized showdown next week, while the Byron Nelson Championship scores a much needed upgraded, but we can’t be sure the world’s best noticed.

Made Cut

Pragmatism. As expected, USGA executive director Mike Davis has quietly been playing peacemaker in the ongoing anchoring dispute between golf’s power brokers.

Unlike Peter Dawson, Davis’ counterpart at the R&A, who took exception to the PGA of America and PGA Tour’s public stance against the proposed ban on anchoring (seems he was only interested in comments of support), Davis told Golf Magazine that dissension was always going to be part of the process, although his opening comment about PGA president Ted Bishop is telling.

“Before Ted Bishop, trust me, there was a different mindset with the PGA of America. But listen, the PGA of America and Ted Bishop and the PGA Tour and Tim Finchem, have done exactly what we asked them to do,” Davis said.

“We had a 90-day comment period for the rule, and it's a divisive rule. But they've never specifically said they're not going to follow this rule. People want to think we're at war with the PGA of America and the PGA Tour, and it's just not the case.”

Building a consensus these days is akin to finding a wayward tee shot in the rough at quirky and confined Merion; which, by the way, may be the easiest part of Davis’ job this year.

Upgrades. A change of venue may not be the answer for all that ails the Byron Nelson Championship, but it seems officials are at least asking the right questions.

It was reported this week that the Nelson will move to Trinity Forest, a Bill Coore-Ben Crenshaw design that is expected to begin construction next year.

Mired with a bad date on the calendar and a golf course that has endured more bad facelifts than Joan Rivers, the Nelson has become an afterthought on the Tour schedule for most players.

But it seems officials and the deep pockets at AT&T, which is stepping in to sponsor the event, have realized the most important rule of the tournament business – location, location, location.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Rory McIlroy. Just about the time the Ulsterman appeared to be playing his way out of his mini-slump arrives word that there is another twist in the world No. 2’s life.

Sources told Golf Channel on Friday that McIlroy is leaving Horizon Sports Management, which he joined in 2011, and will form his own management firm that will include various family and friends, including his father Gerry.

The new team won’t have much heavy lifting to do if reports of McIlroy’s 10-year deal with Nike Golf are accurate, and he’s not the first golf superstar to create his own management company.

Still, this is the second time McIlroy has changed his management team since he turned pro in 2007, and right now, after a rocky start with the Swoosh, he could use all the stability he can get.

Vijay Singh. It’s been more than a week since the Fijian stunned Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., and while the timing of his lawsuit remains suspect, a review of the filing suggests a legitimate beef.

The suit accuses the Tour of “violating its duty of care and good faith,” when reports surfaced in February that Singh had used a supplement that contained IGF-1, a substance that is on the circuit’s banned list.

What remains unknown, however, is what Singh hopes to achieve with the lawsuit. It’s hard to imagine a player who has nearly $70 million in career earnings needs the money, nor does it seem possible a successful day in court will repair his reputation. Fair or not, he will always be the “deer antler” guy.

Which leaves just one option – revenge.

The desire for justice is understandable, but the fact is Singh’s wounds are very much self-inflicted. IGF-1, a growth factor like HGH, was listed as an active ingredient in the spray at least three times on the company’s website that sells the supplement and has always been on the Tour’s banned-substance list. Perhaps IGF-1 shouldn’t have been on the banned list (see WADA below), but curious science doesn’t diminish culpability in this case.

Tweet of the week: @IanJamesPoulter “Oh well, it’s probably the only tournament you can lose your first match and still be OK. Tomorrow is another day. Good job, really.”

While Cut Line applauds the Englishman's attitude, if not his perspective, the round-robin nature of the Volvo World Match meant Poulter's Round 1 loss was simply a momentary setback. In our Friday four-ball, we call that a mulligan.

Missed Cut

Short memories. Independent contractors will say it’s a sign of the times, but this week’s less-than-star studded field at the Byron Nelson Championship suggests a baffling indifference to one of the game’s legends.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, before Lord Byron passed away, the Nelson regularly drew a deep field. But since 2006, when the Hall of Famer died, the current top 5 players in the Official World Golf Ranking have a combined four starts in Big D.

The Sony Open is the only non-opposite-field event to receive fewer World Ranking points then the Nelson, and this week’s field features just five players ranked in the top 20.

Lord Byron deserves better.

WADA. Singh sued the Tour over his run-in with the anti-doping code, but it is the World Anti-Doping Agency that seems at fault.

The Tour follows the WADA policy because they are supposed to be the experts. But the agency flip-flopped late in the proceedings with Singh and announced that IGF-1, taken orally and in such small quantities, did not constitute a violation.

The agency announced this week it is reviewing IGF-1’s status on the banned list as a direct result of the Singh situation, but that does little to help Singh or the Tour.