Winds Whiffs of Change


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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. ' Like The Players, which has been decided the last two years by random gusts of wind, Cut Line is known to follow the currents and this weeks edition is all about the winds of change on the PGA Tour.
Made Cut
  • TPC Sawgrass: Where The Players Championship ranks in the hierarchy of the games top tournaments really doesnt matter when the first tee shot goes in the air on Thursday, but if the leaderboard heading into the weekend is any indication the golf course is of major quality.
    Among the early leaders were bomber Bubba Watson alongside plodder Scott Verplank, veteran David Toms and newcomer John Mallinger, speedster Angel Cabrera and slowpoke Ben Crane.
    I think it's suited for pretty much anyone, Tiger Woods said. It's fast, it's running so everybody is going to be hitting the ball in the same spots.
    Like Phil Mickelson and southern politics, the only constant at TPC is an utter lack of predictability.
  • Rory McIlroy: We continue to be amazed by the Northern Irishman with the textbook swing and a demeanor so easy he seemed almost oblivious to his triple bogey-bogey finish on Day 1 at The Players.
    What doesnt amaze is McIlroys decision to forgo special temporary membership on the PGA Tour following a six-event swing that featured five top-20 finishes and enough cash to give him a crack in the top-125 door.
    There were hushed rumblings earlier this week on the practice range regarding McIlroys decision, but the jingoistic jabs missed the realities of an increasingly global game.
    This debate is a non-starter. If McIlroy takes a Tour card he will be giving up his freedom to play across the globe whenever and where ever he wants, as well sizable sums of appearance fees. Instead, he can keep his European Tour card, cherry pick his U.S. starts and solidify his status as a global player.
    We didnt invent the ancient game, not even sure were the best at it anymore despite Paul Azingers handiwork last year at Valhalla, and its not a foregone conclusion that the PGA Tour will remain the center of the professional universe. Just ask McIlroy.
    Missed Cut ' Did not finish (MDF)
  • PGA Tour: Fresh capital is always good news in these cash-strapped times and the announcement that SBS (Seoul Broadcasting System) had signed on for a decade of fruity drinks with umbrellas at the season opener in Hawaii was a blast of economic fresh air on an otherwise hot and humid day.
    Its the timing of the lucrative revelation that was so confusing. Just as Woods was rolling past the halfway house at the circuits marquee event is not the time to be trotting out executives for ceremonial photo ops.
    Just a hunch, but Roger Goodell doesnt hold his state of the NFL during halftime at the Super Bowl, and the first round of The Players should be considered a spin-free zone.
  • World Order: On Day 1 at The Players there were more rounds under par than at the Bob Hope Classic, and yet world No. 2 Phil Mickelson was not among them. The morning wave scorched the layout thanks to soft greens and near-perfect conditions, and yet world No. 1 Tiger Woods managed to turn a 66 into a 71.
    Bizarro world has overtaken the golf world to the extent one half expected Woods to try a few left-handed flop shots because, it makes things fun, and Mickelson to give Stevie Williams a tryout on the bag because, weve got such great chemistry. And the oddities didnt stop at the top of the marquee.
    Richard S. was holding down Top Johnson honors over Zach and Dustin, Jeev was running away with the low Singh award over Vijay and Sergio Garcia continued to gush about how much he loves TPC Sawgrass, perhaps the most compelling argument The Players is not a major.
    Whats next, John Daly shedding 40 pounds and dialing his game back to 1995? Oh, scratch that.

    Missed Cut
  • Sea Island PGA Tour event: There are no guarantees in life and a Tour event on the idyllic patch of Georgia coast was always going to have to overcome a litany of hurdles. A pair of recent, and independent, happenings proved to be too high.
    Given a different economic environment, a title sponsor would have been a lock for the purposed event, but the downturn slowed the search to a crawl and ultimately proved to be too difficult.
    The haymaker, however, likely came last week with the announcement that the HSBC Champions event in China had been bumped to WGC status and would be played around the same time as the Sea Island stop. That Davis Love III, Sea Islands Tour ambassador who would have likely served as the unofficial host of the Sea Island stop, had already qualified for the HSBC didnt help things.
    Lost in the minutia is an event that players would have instantly taken to on a course that would have immediately ranked among the best on Tour. A victim of progress it seems.
  • Manny Ramirez: Taking a shot at the disgraced slugger may be on the wrong side of the out-of-bounds stakes for Cut Line, but some missteps, however far afield, are too egregious to pass up.
    Its hardly a surprise there are performance-enhancing drugs in baseball, but Ramirezs lame decision-making was followed by an even more lame excuse: Recently I saw a physician for a personal health issue. He gave me a medication, not a steroid, which he thought was OK to give me. Unfortunately, the medication was banned under our drug policy. And yet the Dodger didnt challenge his 50-game suspension nor seek relief under the leagues therapeutic-use exemption.
    Seems the only truly banned substance in Major League Baseball is truth serum.

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    Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - The Players Championship
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