Players divided on 54-hole cut in playoffs

By Will GrayAugust 31, 2014, 7:47 pm

NORTON, Mass. – In the playoffs, so the mantra goes, every shot counts.

With four postseason events gradually whittling down the list of contenders for the FedEx Cup, the difference between safety and elimination can often be small.

Last year, the gap between Ernie Els and Ryan Palmer after the Deutsche Bank Championship was less than one point: Els finished 70th and went on to play in the BMW Championship; Palmer finished 71st and earned an extra week of vacation.

With the stakes raised in the postseason, the value of a single good round can often be magnified. Except that for the second straight week, a handful of players won’t receive an opportunity to go low one last time.

As was the case at The Barclays, a secondary, 54-hole cut is in effect this week at TPC Boston. While only 93 players began the event, 80 made the cut at 3-over 145 or better.

Because more than 78 players advanced, the field will again be trimmed to low 70 and ties after the third round. The rule is rooted in the logistics of weekend television windows, and comes up with some frequency: it was used 12 times during the regular season.

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It rarely impacts the playoffs, though, and occurred only once in the postseason from 2008-2013. But this year both playoff events with a 36-hole cut also required an additional trim after 54 holes, which left some players questioning whether it’s a rule that should end with the regular season.

“I don’t think we should do it in the playoffs,” said Brendan Steele, who made the 36-hole cut on the number but improved his standing with a third-round 69. “Guys have a chance to go out and shoot 65 early on Sunday, regardless of where they are, and it could be the difference in getting through.”

Steele’s sentiments were echoed by Scott Stallings, whose 1-over 72 Sunday was just enough to earn him a tee time in the final round as he looks to make one last charge toward next week’s event in Denver.

“You earn the right to play the weekend, you should play the weekend. This is the most important part of our season,” said Stallings. “I definitely think it should be re-thought, and give the guys an opportunity to play all four days. Someone got affected last week, and someone’s going to get affected this week.”

The player most impacted last week at Ridgewood was Luke Guthrie, who ended the regular season at No. 95 in the standings. Guthrie made the 36-hole cut but missed the secondary cut by one shot after a third-round 72. He fell to No. 106 in the points race as a result, with only the top 100 advancing to this week’s event in Boston.

This time around, the most notable MDF casualty was Scott Brown, who began the week on the bubble at No. 70. Brown rallied to make the cut during the second round, highlighted by a hole-in-one, but struggled to a 6-over 77 Sunday. While the secondary cut effectively ended his season, Brown has no problem with its use in the playoffs.

“I don’t think you can use them all year and then not use them in the playoffs,” he said. “That’s not fair to those guys that were MDF (Made cut, Didn’t Finish) all year. I think the bigger deal is that the points in the playoffs are weighted so high that you don’t reward the guys that have had a great year so far.”

The issue of how and when to implement the secondary cut is one that will be brought up at the first Player Advisory Council meeting of the 2014-15 season at the Open. While PAC member Stewart Cink agreed with Brown’s assessment – “That’s the way we’ve done it all year. I don’t see why we shouldn’t keep doing it the same way,” he said – fellow PAC member Scott Langley would prefer to do away with the secondary cut entirely.

Langley is an example of what can happen when a player is afforded 72 holes. After barely making the 54-hole cut at The Barclays, he shot a final-round 66 to finish in a tie for 30th. After beginning the final round projected at No. 85 in the standings, Langley instead headed to Boston at No. 65.

“To have that opportunity, I think, is important,” Langley said. “Especially as you get later in the year, daylight is not an issue so we can still achieve the same product for TV, even with the big cut. We can play twosomes and just tee off earlier.”

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Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”