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Arnold Palmer InvitationalORLANDO, Fla. ' If the Florida Swing is the golf equivalent to baseballs spring training then the majority of the PGA Tour must feel as if they have been optioned to Triple A ball. Once again the Florida portion of the lineup was fearsome, making missed cuts relative to the bigger picture.
 
Luckily for all involved, Cut Line is above shifting winds and ankle-deep rough. In this case, the pen is mightier than the 2-iron.
 

MADE CUT
 
  • Memorial: When D.J. Trahan walked off the 18th green at Muirfield Village last year following his third round not even Jack Nicklaus long shadow could quiet his contempt.
     
    'I think that's a pretty crappy hole,' Trahan told the Associated Press. 'But nobody wants to hear that, right? Everybody wants to hear that it's a great hole. But I don't think it is. I think it's unfair and it's ridiculous.'
     
    In Trahans defense, he was hardly the only player bitten by officials handiwork, and to Nicklaus credit he realized his tweaks may have been a tad over the top and in 2009 players will be welcomed by a kinder, gentler Muirfield Village. The rough will cropped at least an inch shorter, the furrow bunkers a distance memory and the greens at Nos. 18 and 11 rebuilt.
     
    No tournament director wants to see a 25-under-par winning score, but Nicklaus, the ultimate competitor, understands the merits of a fair test better than anyone and gives us all an opportunity to celebrate reason.
     
  • Jason Gore: The Prince of Pinehurst simply hasnt been himself since that magical summer of 2005. Injuries, to body and mind, have slowed one of the circuits most-liked players.
     
    The good news is one of the best quotes in the game seems to be slowly working his way back into the best golf shape of his career, and with it his endearing self-deprecating style is back in press rooms.
     
    After his tee shot at the 17th hole buried nearly in the lip of a greenside bunker, Gore was asked if he was posing over the shot. I was praying, but it looked like a pose probably, he smiled.
     
    The best style points always come with a smile.
     
  • Tiger Woods: Weve already established that golf is much better with Woods than without him and his 50-percent driving accuracy and greens in regulation at Bay Hill is reason to pine for the Masters like a second-grader awaits pizza Friday.
     
    What gives us pause to truly celebrate, however, is his slowly improving putting stroke. Through two rounds at Bay Hill hes tied for third with a 24.5 putts per round average. Suddenly that Nike Golf commercial celebrating the collective success enjoyed during Woods hiatus doesnt seem so funny.
     

    MADE CUT' DID NOT FINISH (MDF)
     
  • Trophies: Weve seen all manner of mana when it comes to champions loot on the PGA Tour. The folks at the Verizon Heritage go with a tartan jacket, fashion sense be damned. Mayakoba Golf Classic officials proudly hand there champion a lizard-shaped sand castle and Tiger Woods seems to regularly collect that hood ornament from the Buick Invitational.
     
    Its a shame, however, that weve lost one of the most unique victors takes on Tour. A few years back officials at the Arnold Palmer Invitational ditched the traditional champions sword for a silver chalice. The chalice is nice, regal by Tour standards in fact, and, in all honesty, winning anything associated with Arnold Palmers name is a reason to brag to the grandkids, but why nix such a unique award?
     
    Australias Rod Pampling was the last champion to hoist the sword in 2006, an interesting item to try and slip through TSA which, we can only assume, accelerated the swords demise.
     

    MISSED CUT
     
  • Florida Swing: When did every venue in the Sunshine State have to become Shinnecock South? Where in the rule book does it say a Bob Hope mentality, that is to say a birdie-first philosophy, is a sign of inferiority?
     
    So far the Florida Slog, um, make that Swing, has produced a collective scoring average over par and a breezy Bay Hill is proving one of the toughest, with just 22 players under par through two windy rounds.
     
  • Unknown pro-am partner: During his Wednesday pro-am at the Nationwide Tours Louisiana Open one of Gavin Coles amateur partners innocently asked the Australian if this was his first visit to Le Triomphe Country Club.
     
    The good-natured Coles took it easy on the club member, Im the defending champion.
     
    Ouch.
     
  • Michelle Wie: Yes, the teen queen barely made the cut at the J Golf Phoenix LPGA International after rounds of 73-76, but it was the news that Wies parents were working a deal with a sports-drink company while she was still with the William Morris Agency that lands her an early trip home in Cut Line.
     
    According to a Yahoo.com report, WMA discovered the Wies were maneuvering independently for the endorsement and ended their relationship with one of the LPGA Tours top draw.
     
    A fresh start seemed in the making when Wie signed with management giant IMG, but it seems some things never change.
     

     
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