Cut Line: Beantown or bust

By Rex HoggardSeptember 2, 2011, 11:04 pm

NORTON, Mass. – As the sun set on a rare PGA Tour Friday without a 36-hole cut, this week’s axe at the Deutsche Bank Championship falls on Saturday, Cut Line dug deep to fill the void.

Fortunately for your correspondent, Rocco Mediate’s misguided attempt at tough love and Phil Mickelson’s tough equipment choice make for low-hanging fruit.

Made Cut

Phil Mickelson. Asked on Friday afternoon if they would ever consider using a belly putter one Tour type deadpanned, “I hope not.” For many, longer-than-standard-length putters are the tools of desperate men, yet watching Lefty wield a belly putter on Day 1 at the Deutsche Bank Championship it was impossible not to consider the harm in the alternative – doing nothing.

If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again hoping for a different result, consider Mickelson’s bold move this week a call to reason. The man who had slipped to 133rd on Tour on putts from 10 to 15 feet felt it was time for a change, regardless of perceptions or misguided sentimentality. Whether one is a purest or forever in search of a putting fix, you can’t fault Lefty’s reasoning.

“Look, I’m willing to try new things. I’ve hit two drivers, no drivers in Opens. I don’t mind trying something different,” Mickelson said on Thursday.

Considering Mickelson’s haphazard opening effort with the long stick – 13 putts, including five one-putts, on his first nine followed by 16 putts coming in – we’d humbly suggest he consider a two-putter rotation – one short, one long.

Tweet of the week: @Keegan_Bradley “Phil looks so good with (the) belly putter! He’d putt well with a hockey stick . . .”

In Bradley’s defense, it only looked like Mickelson was putting with a hockey stick on TPC Boston’s back nine. #16putts

Tiger Woods. U.S. Presidents Cup captain Fred Couples asked the former alpha male to add an odd fall event to his lineup, anyone who has ever read a book on swing theory says he needs “reps,” and the Tour has been hounding him for years to play more. Done, done and done.

Whatever the ends are for Woods to play the Open the means are worthwhile, regardless of where he finishes. Slice up this week’s news conference at Notah Begay III’s charity event until two plus two make 18, but the only things worth noting were that Woods’ mind and body are finally willing.

“I’ve been hurt for a very long time. Back to 2007 when I ruptured my ACL, it was a very tough road,” he said. “It’s been years since I actually felt good. Sometimes you get out of bed in the morning and it’s tough. Now it’s fun, I can spring out of bed and go to practice.”

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

FedEx Cup playoffs. The 2009 postseason – when Woods and Mickelson went head-to-head at East Lake with the latter winning the Tour Championship and the former hoisting the season-long trophy – may end up being the circuit’s playoff high-water mark, but it’s hard to argue that the current system isn’t an improvement over the subdued monotony that came before 2007.

That’s not to say the circuit couldn’t attempt a nip/tuck of the current playoff system. The Tour has avoided tinkering with the points system for two seasons following a 2008 postseason that most considered too explosive.

Troy Matteson, the Day 1 leader at TPC Boston, was on the wrong side of the ’08 rollercoaster, dropping from 97th to 124th, and out of the Deutsche Bank, following a missed cut at The Barclays.

That was the same year that Vijay Singh won the first two playoff events (Barclays and Deutsche Bank) and Camilo Villegas won the last two (BMW and Tour Championship) and the $10 million lottery ticket went to the big Fijian.

Matteson, however, would like to see a little bit of that ’08 unpredictability back in the postseason.

“I want it to be as volatile as it can be,” said Matteson, who at 97th in FedEx Cup points could use a big swing this week to get him into the BMW Championship. “(2008), that was the year it was the most volatile, and then they started tapering it back from there. I wish it was even more so the other way (volatile) so you could move further.”

We’re guessing Villegas probably doesn’t share Matteson’s affinity for the ’08 playoff ride, but then volatility . . . eh, variety is the spice of life.

Missed Cut

U.S. Golf Association. The closed shop that is the U.S. Walker Cup team selection process has again thrown a baffling haymaker and cost another deserving amateur a spot on the national team.

This time it was John Peterson who received the snub despite a resume that includes a NCAA individual crown and the seventh spot in the amateur rankings. It’s been eight years since Brandt Snedeker felt a similar sting, but he still gets worked up over it.

“I’m a proponent of a points system. I feel like there are some politics involved, that’s not fair to an 18, 19, 20 year old kid. It’s hard to take,” said Snedeker, who won the 2003 U.S. Amateur Public Links and was a first-team All-American and yet failed to make the U.S. squad. “They say (Peterson) was kind of outspoken, but we’ve all said stuff we didn’t mean at 18, 19, 20 years old. It just doesn’t seem fair.”

If only the Walker Cup selection process was as outspoken.

First-pitch throes. It will be a moment Keegan Bradley will never forget. No, not his maiden major at Atlanta Athletic Club last month, but his chance-of-a-lifetime toss to open the Boston-New York series on Tuesday at storied Fenway Park.

Two nights later, Phil Mickelson threw out the first pitch in the rubber match between the Red Sox and Yankees. Again, a once-in-a-life deal.

For Red Sox Nation, however, the PGA Tour may not want to make too much of the fact that Boston lost Games 1 and 3 to the Yankees, but won Game 2 on Wednesday, 9-5, the night former Red Sox Mo Vaughn and John Valentin tossed out the first pitch.

These guys may be good, but they are not the best of luck for Boston.

Rocco Mediate. Mediate is among the best quotes in the game, but on this the Tour funnyman should have opted for a more measured answer. It wasn’t his sharp criticism of Woods’ swing under both current swing coach Sean Foley and his former instructor Hank Haney so much as it was his utter disregard of the facts.

“I love the way he plays, but I'm disgusted with what's going on with him because it's sad for our game,” Mediate told the San Francisco Chronicle.

“The physical motion is wrong. To get that stress off his body is a piece of cake – the guys working with him just don't know. Sean knows some stuff, but what's going on with Tiger is not correct. That's why he keeps breaking and that's why the ball keeps going sideways.”

Foley, who has been working with Woods for a year but has only 12 Tour starts with him because of injury and a scandal-induced hiatus, declined comment when asked his reaction to Mediate’s remarks.

“Rocco is entitled to his opinion and I respect that. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions but no one is entitled to their own facts. Tiger's record while I helped him speaks for itself. The last three years I was with Tiger he won 45 percent of his starts, he finished in the top 10 in 85 percent of his tournaments,” Haney told

“The assertion by Rocco that my teaching somehow contributed to Tiger's decline is frankly absurd and clearly not supported by the facts.”

We love Mediate, but he may want to stick with punch lines, not unwarranted punches.

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Koepka: Second-place finishes becoming 'annoying'

By Al TaysMay 28, 2018, 12:02 am

Brooks Koepka didn't go down without a fight.

Trailing Justin Rose by four shots going into the final round of the Fort Worth Invitational, Koepka shot his second 7-under 63 of the week - and made up precisely one shot. He finished solo second at 17 under par, three shots behind Rose.

He could only marvel at the Englishman's performance in closing with a 6-under 64.

"It was pretty impressive," he said. "Justin played well. Hat's off to him. Any time you can come into a lead with four shots and play the way he did today, that's impressive."

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

Although Koepka was pleased with his own play - especially his putting - he said it felt "annoying" to come in second. Again.

"I feel like we've had so many second-place finishes," he said. "Always seem to run into a buzz saw, whatever it is."

Since May of 2016, Koepka has five solo second-place finishes and one T-2. But he also has a U.S. Open title, won last year at Erin Hills. He'll attempt to defend that title June 14-17 at Shinnecock Hills. "It's nice to finally be playing well and get going into the season," he said. "Kind of peaking right where I need to be."

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Minjee Lee birdies 18 to win on her birthday

By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:59 pm

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Minjee Lee's task was simple: A birdie on No. 18 would win her the tournament. It was a manageable par 5, the easiest hole on the course in the final round.

After a good drive, her second shot came closer to trouble than much of the gallery probably realized.

''I almost clipped the tree,'' Lee said. ''I overcut it a little bit, but it finished out in a good position.''

Lee's shot came to rest just to the right of the green, and from there it was a simple chip and putt for the birdie that gave her a one-stroke win over In-Kyung Kim at the LPGA Volvik Championship on Sunday. Lee, who turned 22 on Sunday, won for the first time since 2016. It was the Australian's fourth career victory.

Lee three-putted for a bogey on No. 17, dropping into a tie with Kim, who finished her round about the same time. So Lee needed a birdie to win on 18. The 18th hole was 470 yards Sunday. There were 44 birdies there in the final round.

Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship

''The tee was up,'' she said. ''I was pretty confident that I could get there in two if I had a good drive.''

Lee made her winning putt from about 3 feet. She finished at 4-under 68 and 16 under for the tournament. Kim (67) shot a 32 on the back nine and birdied No. 18, but it wasn't enough to force a playoff at Travis Pointe Country Club.

''I kind of knew that 16 was the number and I mean, I give my best,'' Kim said. ''I make some good shots and birdies.''

Moriya Jutanugarn (65) finished third at 14 under.

Lee took a two-stroke lead into the final round, and that was her margin over playing partner Stacy Lewis before Lewis (71) bogeyed No. 7 and 8. Kim emerged as the biggest threat to Lee when she birdied four of the first five holes on the back nine. Lewis is playing four months' pregnant with her first child.

Kim and Lee were briefly tied at 15 under, but then Lee made a tap-in birdie on the par-5 14th, while Kim bogeyed 15. Lee saved par on 15 despite a wayward drive into a bunker.

''I wasn't sure where I was score-wise then. That par 5 is reachable in two, so I think a lot of people would have made birdie there,'' Lee said. ''The next tee shot I just pulled into the bunker. ... I think that was really important for me to hole that par putt just to keep the momentum going.''

Lee had gone 38 consecutive holes without a bogey before making one on the par-4 17th. That, combined with Kim's birdie on 18, left the two golfers tied, but Lee still had the 18th to come.

Su Oh (68) and Lindy Duncan (69) finished at 13 under, and Megan Khang (67) was another stroke back. Lewis finished at 11 under along with Ariya Jutanugarn (69) and Danielle Kang (70).

Lewis birdied three of the first six holes, but Lee did as well.

''It's hard to get close when somebody does that,'' Lewis said. ''She played great all day and played solid. When she needed to make a par putt, she did, and didn't make any mistakes.''

Lee lost this event by one stroke last year. Shanshan Feng, the 2017 winner , finished tied for 21st this time.

The LPGA has had a different winner in each of its 13 tournaments this year. The U.S. Women's Open starts Thursday at Shoal Creek.

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Spieth: Improvement is 'right around the corner'

By Al TaysMay 27, 2018, 10:50 pm

Not that Dallas native Jordan Spieth didn't enjoy the two-week home game that is the AT&T Byron Nelson and the Fort Worth Invitational - he certainly did. But he's eager to get out of town, too.

"It was a great showing these last couple weeks by the fans," Spieth said after closing with a 2-under 68, a 5-under total and a T-32 finish. "Obviously extremely appreciative here in DFW. Wish I could do more. These couple weeks can be a bit taxing, and it's awesome to kind of have that support to carry you through.

"So, you know, I had a great time these couple weeks on and off the golf course as I always do, but I'm also really excited to kind of get out of town and kind of be able to just go back to the room and have nothing to do at night except for get ready to play the next day."

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

Spieth will have that experience this coming week in Dublin, Ohio, site of the Memorial. He's hopeful of improving on his T-21, T-32 finishes the past two weeks, and he thinks the main thing holding him back - his putting - is ready for a turnaround.

"I think good things are about to come," he said. "I feel a good run coming for the second half of the season. Today was - each day I've felt better and better with the wedges and the putter and the short game; today was no different. My only bogey being just kind of trying to do too much on a par-5; 3-wood into the hazard.

"So, you know, I'm getting into where I'm not making bogeys, and then soon - the not making bogeys is great, and soon I'll get back to the five, six birdies around and shoot some low rounds.

"So I know it's right around the corner."

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Broadhurst fires 63 to easily win Senior PGA

By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:45 pm

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. – Paul Broadhurst wishes he had played this well in his 23 years on the European Tour.

''I know a lot more about my swing now and I guess you get that with age and experience,'' the 52-year-old Englishman said after shooting an 8-under 63 on Sunday to win the Senior PGA Championship by four strokes and match the best 72-hole score in tournament history.

Broadhurst finished at 19-under 265 at Harbor Shores for his second senior major victory. The 63 was the best fourth-round score by a winner. Rocco Mediate also shot 19 under at Harbor Shores in 2016.

Also the 2016 British Senior Open winner, Broadhurst led the field with 26 birdies and passed third-round co-leaders Tim Petrovic and Mark McCarron with a 4-under 31 on the back nine.

Petrovic was second after a 69. McCarron had a 70 to tie for third at 14 under with Jerry Kelly (65).

Full-field scores from the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship

Broadhurst earned a career-high $585,000 for his fourth PGA Tour Champions victory and moved to the top of the money list. He won six times on the European Tour, was a 1991 Ryder Cup player for Europe and has three European Senior Tour victories.

''It was really a special week,'' he said. ''It got a little bit tense out there. I knew I was playing well but I didn't seem to making any progress against Tim Petrovic. He was side-by-side on the back nine it seemed.''

He learned his lead was three strokes standing on the 18th tee when his caddie asked a television announcer.

''So we put my driver away and reached for the rescue club,'' he said. ''If I made a 5 there that would be fine.''

Broadhurst started the round two strokes behind Petrovic and McCarron, birdied the first hole and was tied with Petrovic for the lead by the turn. He took his first lead with a birdie on the 12th hole, led by two after 16 and birdied the final two holes, including a dramatic 40-foot putt for birdie at the 18th hole.

''I guess it would have been a bit of anti-climax if I would have three-putted the last green, but that would have given Tim a chance of holing his second shot,'' he said. ''I actually spoke to my caddie about that going down the last - we don't want to three-putt and five him the opportunity because stranger things have happened in golf. To see it go in the middle of the hole was just a special feeling.''

Petrovic said missed birdie putts on Nos. 7 and 8 were costly, but it might not have mattered with the way Broadhurst was playing.

''In hindsight it was all for naught,'' he said. ''He was so far ahead of us. Hat's off the guy. It was a great week - we just got beat. When he made the putt on 18 ahead of us I almost started clapping in the fairway and waving a white towel. It was well-deserved. That was great playing. He won the championship for sure.''

Broadhurst shot 72 in the first round, started rolling in putts with a 66 in the second round and was 15 under on the weekend. In addition to the leading 26 birdies, he topped the putts per greens in regulations numbers for the tournament as well with a 1.574 average.

''I wasn't aware I made that many birdies,'' he said. ''That's pretty impressive around this course.''

He said his game has long been unpredictable.

''I'm not blessed with a consistent swing like Bernhard Langer, but when it's on, it works,'' he said. ''If I'm putting well, then anything can happen, really.''