Cut Line: Best byes edition

By Rex HoggardSeptember 9, 2011, 7:10 pm

No PGA Tour cut this “bye” week, but your correspondent had little trouble filling space thanks to the surgical success of one of the game’s original “bash brothers” and a courtly birthday fit for a King.

Made Cut

J.B. Holmes. It was billed as “non-life threatening,” but anytime an athlete undergoes surgery of the brain or neck it’s concerning, just ask an Indianapolis Colts fan, any Colts fan will do.

But according to his manager, Holmes sailed through a procedure last week to correct an ailment called Chiari malformations, a structural defect on his cerebellum which had been causing dizziness, headaches and problems with his balance and coordination since May.

Holmes left Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Hospital early Monday and tweeted Thursday that he was already back home in Orlando, Fla., recovering.

If Holmes’ rehabilitation goes according to schedule he could be chipping and putting in 30 days and hitting full shots before Thanksgiving which would mean he’d be ready to start the 2012 season in January.

“He’s excited because now he has a definitive answer about what was wrong and he can move forward,” said Terry Reilly, Holmes’ manager with Wasserman Media Group.

We don’t want to rain on the Colts’ 2011-12 parade, but it looks like Holmes will be back on the field before a certain signal caller whose name rhymes with Meyton Panning.

The King. On Saturday, Arnold Palmer will celebrate his 82nd birthday in Atlantic City, N.J., with his “normal foursome” from Latrobe (Pa.) Country Club, what we can only assume is the standard celebration destination for any octogenarian, right?

Before the big day, however, Palmer said he plans to spend some time hitting balls on the practice tee at Latrobe and working on his game. “I still enjoy working at it. I still go out and practice and enjoy playing with friends,” Palmer told Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive” on Friday between stories of previous birthdays with former president Dwight Eisenhower.

With apologies to the Dos Equis man, it would seem the King is the most interesting man in the world.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Vivendi Seve Trophy. The matches, which are viewed across the pond as a Ryder Cup dry run, are often compelling and will double this year as a tribute to the late Seve Ballesteros, but the choice of captains did send us tumbling out of our shoebox-sized cubicle.

The GB&I team, which will not include the likes of world Nos. 1 and 4 Luke Donald and Rory McIlroy, respectively, will be captained by Paul McGinley, who many consider a future European Ryder Cup captain, while the team from the Continent will be led by Jean Van de Velde.

OK, the Sept. 15-18 matches are being played in Paris, but sending a group out with the forlorn Frenchman at the helm is akin to hiring soft-hitting former shortstop Mario Mendoza to be a big league batting coach.

We love Van de Velde, who has always been one of the game’s best quotes, but we're just not sure he’s captain material.

FedEx Cup points. At the turn of this year’s playoffs it’s difficult not to concede that the current model is a vast improvement over the pre-2007 version of the Tour’s finale, but if points are going to become the measure of success and relative failure it’s time to end the circuit’s use of earnings as a secondary gauge.

When the playoffs began, the Tour said the points list would differ little from the money list, which is still used to determine who retains their Tour cards. Yet when the postseason began there were seven players who, although inside the top 125 in earnings, were outside of the top 125 on the points list and missed the playoffs.

The most egregious variation was Bobby Gates, who was 117th in earnings through the final regular-season event (Wyndham Championship) but 152nd in FedEx Cup points. It’s a difference of 35 spots largely due to differences in points vs. earnings at various events.

It’s also worth noting that Tiger Woods finished the regular season 113th in earnings but outside the top 125, and outside the playoffs, in points (No. 132).

If points are the new normal, fine. But to avoid fan confusion, and competitive inconsistencies, it’s time to make points the ultimate benchmark, for the FedEx Cup and a player’s future status.

Tweet of the week: @StewartCink “Well a third straight missed cut (at the Deutsche Bank Championship) means my 2011 FedEx Cup season is in the books. Now I think I’ll burn that book.”

Missed Cut

ESPN. As a rule, Cut Line normally avoids taking television types to task because there are usually so many competing programming interests at play it’s difficult to fairly assign blame, but on this the “Mother Ship” whiffed.

Because of a heavy weekend sports schedule – particularly, college football and U.S. Open tennis – ESPN will air the Walker Cup matches on There is a scheduled encore telecast on Sunday on ESPN2 (3-5 p.m. ET), but in the meantime one of the year’s most-compelling events, and one of the deepest U.S. teams in recent history, will be relegated to the dot-com hinterlands.

And we thought NCAA champion John Peterson’s Walker Cup snub was going to be the match’s most-glaring faux pas.

Phil Mickelson. On paper Lefty’s experiment with a belly putter last week at TPC Boston was hardly a bust. Despite ranking in the middle of the pack in most statistical categories, Mickelson recorded just two three-putts and his tie for 10th place was his best finish since his runner-up showing at the Open Championship.

Still, more than one Tour type questioned Lefty’s motives with the belly putter, some pointing out that you don’t win 39 career titles and four majors with a pedestrian flat stick.

“I think he’s trying to prove a point like he did with the grooves,” said one player at the Deutsche Bank Championship in reference to Mickelson’s use of non-conforming-but-legal Ping wedges during the 2009 Farmers Insurance Open.

But if Mickelson is trying to prove a point, what did Keegan Bradley do at the PGA Championship?

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Wie has hand surgery, out for rest of 2018

By Randall MellOctober 18, 2018, 9:43 pm

Michelle Wie will miss the rest of this season after undergoing surgery Thursday to fix injuries that have plagued her right hand in the second half of this year.

Wie announced in an Instagram post that three ailments have been causing the pain in her hand: an avulsion fracture, bone spurs and nerve entrapment.

An avulsion fracture is an injury to the bone where it attaches to a ligament or tendon.

View this post on Instagram

I think John Mayer once said, “Someday, everything will make perfect sense. So for now, laugh at the confusion, smile through the tears, be strong and keep reminding yourself that everything happens for a reason.” A lot of people have been asking me what’s been going on with my hand and I haven’t shared much, because I wasn’t sure what was going on myself. After countless MRI’s, X-rays, CT scans, and doctor consultations, I was diagnosed with having a small Avulsion Fracture, bone spurring, and nerve entrapment in my right hand. After 3 cortisone injections and some rest following the British Open, we were hoping it was going to be enough to grind through the rest of the season, but it just wasn’t enough to get me through. So I made the decision after Hana Bank to withdraw from the rest of the season, come back to the states, and get surgery to fix these issues. It’s been disheartening dealing with pain in my hand all year but hopefully I am finally on the path to being and STAYING pain free! Happy to announce that surgery was a success today and I cannot wait to start my rehab so that I can come back stronger and healthier than ever. Huge thank you to Dr. Weiland’s team at HSS for taking great care of me throughout this process and to all my fans for your unwavering support. It truly means the world to me. I’ll be back soon guys!!!! Promise

A post shared by Michelle Wie (@themichellewie) on

Dr. Andrew Weiland, an attending orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, performed the procedure.

“It’s been disheartening dealing with pain in my hand all year, but, hopefully, I am finally on the path to being and staying pain free,” Wie wrote.

Wie withdrew during the first round of the Ricoh Women’s British Open with the hand injury on Aug. 2 and didn’t play again until teeing it up at the UL International Crown two weeks ago and the KEB Hana Bank Championship last week. She played those events with what she hoped was a new “pain-free swing,” one modeled after Steve Stricker, with more passive hands and wrists. She went 1-3 at the UL Crown and tied for 59th in the limited field Hana Bank.

“After 3 cortisone injections and some rest following the British Open, we were hoping it was going to be enough to grind through the rest of the season, but it just wasn’t enough to get me through,” she wrote.

Buick LPGA Shanghai: Articles, photos and videos

Wie, who just turned 29 last week, started the year saying her top goal was to try to stay injury free. She won the HSBC Women’s World Championship in March, but her goal seemed doomed with a diagnosis of arthritis in both wrists before the year even started.

Over the last few years, Wie has dealt with neck, back, hip, knee and ankle injuries. Plus, there was an emergency appendectomy that knocked her out of action for more than a month late last season. Her wrists have been an issue going back to early in her career.

“I don’t think there is one joint or bone in her body that hasn’t had some sort of injury or issue,” Wie’s long-time swing coach, David Leadbetter, said earlier this year.

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Woods receives his Tour Championship trophy

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 18, 2018, 8:57 pm

We all know the feeling of giddily anticipating something in the mail. But it's doubtful that any of us ever received anything as cool as what recently showed up at Tiger Woods' Florida digs.

This was Woods' prize for winning the Tour Championship. It's a replica of "Calamity Jane," Bobby Jones' famous putter. Do we even need to point out that the Tour Championship is played at East Lake, the Atlanta course where Jones was introduced to the game.

Woods broke a victory drought of more than five years by winning the Tour Championhip. It was his 80th PGA Tour win, leaving him just two shy of Sam Snead's all-time record.

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Garcia 2 back in storm-halted Andalucia Masters

By Associated PressOctober 18, 2018, 7:08 pm

SOTOGRANDE, Spain  -- Ashley Chesters was leading on 5-under 66 at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters when play was suspended because of darkness with 60 golfers yet to complete their weather-hit first rounds on Thursday.

More than four hours was lost as play was twice suspended because of stormy conditions and the threat of lightning at the Real Club Valderrama in southern Spain.

Full-field scores from the Andalucia Valderrama Masters

English journeyman Chesters collected six birdies and one bogey to take a one-shot lead over Gregory Bourdy of France. Tournament host and defending champion Sergio Garcia was on 68 along with fellow Spaniards Alvaro Quiros and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, and Australia's Jason Scrivener.

''It's a shame I can't keep going because the last few holes were the best I played all day. Considering all the delays and everything, I'm very happy with 5 under,'' Chesters said. ''The forecast for the rest of the week is not very good either so I thought I'll just make as many birdies as I can and get in.''

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Caddies drop lawsuit; Tour increases healthcare stipend

By Rex HoggardOctober 18, 2018, 3:33 pm

After nearly four years of litigation, a group of PGA Tour caddies have dropped their lawsuit against the circuit.

The lawsuit, which was filed in California in early 2015, centered on the bibs caddies wear during tournaments and ongoing attempts by the caddies to improve their healthcare and retirement options.

The caddies lost their class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court and an appeal this year.

Separately, the Association of Professional Tour Caddies, which was not involved in the lawsuit but represents the caddies to the Tour, began negotiating with the circuit last year.

“I told the guys, if we really want a healthy working relationship with the Tour, we need to fix this and open the lines of communication,” said Scott Sajtinac, the president of the APTC.

In January 2017, Jay Monahan took over as commissioner of the Tour and began working with the APTC to find a solution to the healthcare issue. Sajtinac said the Tour has agreed to increase the stipend it gives caddies for healthcare beginning next year.

“It took a year and a half, but it turned out to be a good result,” Sajtinac said. “Our goal is to close that window for the guys because healthcare is such a massive chunk of our income.”

In a statement released by the Tour, officials pointed out the lawsuit and the “potential increase to the longtime caddie healthcare subsidy” are two separate issues.

“Although these two items have been reported together, they are not connected. The PGA Tour looks forward to continuing to support the caddies in the important role they play in the success of our members,” the statement said.

Caddies have received a stipend from the Tour for healthcare for some time, and although Sajtinac wouldn’t give the exact increase, he said it was over 300 percent. Along with the APTC’s ability to now negotiate healthcare plans as a group, the new stipend should dramatically reduce healthcare costs for caddies.

“It’s been really good,” said Sajtinac, who did add that there are currently no talks with the Tour to created a retirement program for caddies. “Everybody is really excited about this.”