This week's “Cut Line” features dueling Grand Slams that are marred, one by a major scheduling snafu and the other some seriously flawed qualifying logic, while the dog days get a breath of fresh air via a Swedish celebration and something special in West Virginia.
“Cut Line” covers the rest of the week’s scoreboard in a special “Midsummer’s nightmare” edition.
Swede week. Golf’s answer to “Shark Week”’ came by way a Swedish Double last Sunday as Richard S. Johnson stormed to victory at the Scandinavian Masters with a comedian on his bag and Carl Pettersson had some laughs of his own, both on and off the golf course, in Canada.
Johnson called his victory “epic” and the home game was made that much more entertaining by the antics of Anders Timmell, a friend of Johnson’s who is a local Swedish DJ- restaurant owner-comedian who filled in as his caddie.
While Pettersson, who eased the pain of narrowly making the cut on Friday in Canada with a few local pints, said following his victory, “I'm not your typical Swede, as you know. I don't have a 28-inch waist, and I don't eat bananas at the turn.”
The Old White. This week’s stop at the Greenbrier Classic may not have the best date on the PGA Tour schedule or the agronomic docket, wedged before a WGC and a major and during a time of year that demands soft conditions, but the Charles Blair Macdonald-designed gem is putting on a show nonetheless.
“Cut Line” holds to the theory that the Tour often plays the second-, or third-, best course in town any given week, but the Greenbrier is the exception to the rule.
In fact, the classic old layout is the start of perhaps the best architectural run on the Tour with upcoming stops at Sedgefield in North Carolina (Donad Ross), Ridgewood in New Jersey (A.W. Tillinghast), Cog Hill in Chicago (Joe Lee, Dick Wilson, et al) and Atlanta’s East Lake (Ross).
Tweet of the week: @PaulAzinger “Did Lane Kiffin hate orange jerseys, Old Rocky Top and getting pounded by the Gators enough to go to USC and play for nothing?”
Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)
Corey Pavin. There is no such thing as too much communication, particularly when the world No. 1 is involved, but what in the world could Captain America have in mind for the Détente he has scheduled with Tiger Woods at the PGA Championship?
Other than, “the plane leaves at 6 p.m. for Wales, you’ve already been upgraded,” the entire affair smells of 10 minutes neither man will ever get back.
Woods is currently eighth on the U.S. points list and could fail to secure an automatic spot on the team, but we challenge Pavin or anyone else to name someone more deserving of a pick. He may not be 100 percent, he may not even be at 75 percent, but Pavin will need all the help he can get in Wales.
Cell phones. Give Wyndham Championship officials a nod for creative thinking, although we don’t want to be there the first time a “Spice Girls” ring tone disrupts Vijay Singh’s pre-shot routine.
We don’t like cell phones on the golf course – any golf course, be it a Tour stop or a Saturday morning four-ball – but the electronic leash is a reality in the world in which we live and lest we forget the Wyndham folks are in the business of putting butts in seats.
Besides, as incoming Tour Policy Board member Paul Goydos recently joked at a player meeting when the subject was brought up, “Cell phones aren’t allowed on the golf course?”
Senior majors. It’s Friday which means the over-50 set must be playing a major, or so it seems.
But then the three-majors-in-five-weeks lineup would be easier to stomach if the seniors could get on the same page and create some spacing for their biggest events. Travel logistics likely cost the Senior British Open a Fred Couples cameo and I don’t care how many SkyMiles your rack up, travelling eight time zones from Scotland to Seattle is not conducive to good play or pre-tournament hype.
How about a U.S. Senior Open in June? We hear the Pacific Northwest is beautiful that time of year.
Kapalua. By any name the season-opener is still paradise but it’s become clear things aren’t perfect on Maui.
The word from the islands is that the SBS Championship will be run by a different charitable organization next year, and likely involve island native Mark Rolfing, and we hear commissioner Tim Finchem is pushing to expand the winners-only field.
One member of the Player Advisory Board told “Cut Line” earlier this month that the Tour is pushing to give circuit winners a two-year exemption, creating a larger field that could also boost attendance the following week at the Sony Open.
“Cut Line” remembers a time, not that long ago, when a week in Hawaii in January was a cure, not a cause, for all of one’s woes.
Ladies’ Golf Union. There are no “freebies” in golf, and to Alexis Thompson’s credit she wasn’t looking for a handout. All the teen-ager wanted was a spot in Monday’s final qualifier for the Women’s British Open but she was denied by LGU officials.
Earlier this year Vijay Singh landed a “get out of jail free” card from the U.S. Golf Association and a spot at Pebble Beach and a millionaire hotel owner with a 2-handicap gave himself a spot into next week’s Turning Stone Championship.
Three wrongs wouldn’t have made a right, but giving Thompson, who just days earlier nearly won the Evian Masters in France, a chance to qualify would have been the right thing to do.