Greenbrier Grabs Gold


AKRON, Ohio ' For years Tim Clark fumed that he should be playing in Reno, site of this weeks opposite-field event, instead of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
Following that second-round 83, Yuji Igarashi may be thinking the same thing considering there is no cut at Firestone and the native of Japan is facing three long walks on a long golf course with virtually no chance of contending.
Thankfully, Cut Line gives no freebies, and the early days of August had plenty of reasons to thin the herd.

Made Cut
  • Greenbrier: The tiny West Virginia resort is known for its classic gem (the Old White Course), a litany of extracurricular activities (falconry, anyone?) and a bunker cut deep into the earth to protect members of Congress and other government officials in the event of a nuclear war.
    Luckily for the Tour, Greenbrier chief Jim Justice provided economic cover for the circuit when General Motors was forced out of the golf business by a auto market and bankruptcy court.
    Justice probably could have stepped in for a single year and likely at something less than a full rate, but it seems the mountain of a man does nothing timidly. The resort signed a six-year deal to sponsor the event and the purse will be $6 million in 2010, a price tag on the upper end of the Tour price range.
  • Beth Daniel: The U.S. Solheim Cup captain dismissed a potential political misstep and made Michelle Wie one of her picks for this months matches, doing whats best for her team if not the game.
    Although Wie hasnt won on the LPGA, shes an explosive player that makes tons of birdies, a litmus test for match-play success.
    The U.S. skipper likely didnt let this factor into her decision, but Wie moves the needle among non-golf fans and after a difficult year for the LPGA a rousing Solheim Cup could be the salve that saves the season.

    Made Cut ' Did not finish (MDF)
  • Flex scheduling: It has replaced playoffs and PEDs as the circuits new buzz word and is quickly gaining traction among players, sponsors and tournament directors.
    The idea is to rotate tournaments that have historically struggled to pull top fields in and out of more attractive dates. Its a compromise to the one-in-four concept, an unpopular idea among independent contractors everywhere, and could be enough to narrow the gap between the Tours haves and have-nots.
    Commissioner Tim Finchem said flex scheduling could be implemented as early as 2013, giving the Tours top dog a slight spring in his step as he continues to struggle with economic headwinds.
    Im positive about things, Finchem said on Wednesday. Its a struggle, but it gets your juices flowing. Its fun.
    Cant say weve heard the f word much this year.
  • World Golf Championships fields: Most often heard question when the worlds best gather for the annual WGC annuity: 'howd that guy get in the field?'
    No disrespect, but the tee sheet at Firestone looks more like a Homeland Security watch list than a convergence of the globes best and brightest.
    Among those with tee times at Firestone this week were Shane Lowry, Igarashi and Chih-Bing Lam; while the likes of Kevin Na, currently 22nd on the FedEx Cup points list, and Charley Hoffman, No. 21, toil in Reno, a fine spot to spend a week, no doubt, but a tough sell if youre billing Bridgestone as Golfs Global Summit.

    Missed Cut
  • Race to Dubai: The gazillion dollar season-long race attracted a lot of interest when it was announced late last year ' but then a $10 million purse and $10 million in bonuses can bridge any language barrier.
    The pot was so tempting it convinced some players to seek partial membership on the European Tour, but when the bottom dropped out of the real estate market in the Middle East it took a healthy chunk of the Race with it.
    Officials announced this week the pot has been trimmed by 25 percent, thanks to a bailout of sorts by Dubai officials to save the government-backed Leisurecorp, which was writing the checks for the Race.
    Grandpa Cut Lines old saw comes to mind: if its too good to be true, it probably is.
  • U.S. Golf Association: There is not a more foreign concept in golf, or life, than changing the rules in the middle of a round, which seems to be what the USGA did late last month.
    According to a report on, the USGA rejected a set of irons from Callaway Golf that the company submitted for approval in preparation of next years new rules regarding the size and shape of grooves. The USGA black balled the irons because, The goal all along was to limit spin rate from the rough, USGA senior technical director Dick Rugge told Golfweek.
    Lost in this current episode is this simple truth: manufacturers pay their rocket scientist to make better equipment within the confines of existing rules. If the USGA keeps reinventing the rules the manufacturers may turn to lawyers for the same purpose, and no one wins when that happens.

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