Cut Line Black and Blue at Doral

By Rex HoggardMarch 12, 2011, 2:18 am

DORAL, Fla. – There’s no cut at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, although after the better part of two rounds there are some in the limited-field event who were pining for a 36-hole axe.

But the real damage this week did not go down on the famed Blue Monster but in cyber world, highlighted by an escalating war of words between Tiger Woods’ swing coaches past and present.

Made Cut

Martin Kaymer. “Excuse me,” the man with the colorful drink adjacent Doral’s 18th hole asked early Friday. “Who is that?” Um, the world No. 1.

Perhaps not since Bernhard Langer became the first world No. 1 has there been so much uncertainty at the top of the pro golf heap. So much so we suggested the German wear a “Hi, my name is Martin and I’m the world’s best golfer” sticker on tournament days to Kaymer’s manager.

While researching a future story on Kaymer we were particularly taken by the golf world’s perception of him and the reality of a thoughtful and engaging man.

“He’s very far away from Bernhard, oddly enough,” Kaymer’s manager Johan Elliot with Sportyard said. “On the golf course they are similar, but, as far as his golf swing, he’s not mechanical in any way. Very un-German-like. He’s a global citizen.”

That’s a much better description, but way too wordy for a “Hi, my name is . . .” tag.

Ben Crane. Although he withdrew from the WGC-Cadillac Championship, Crane scored even more style points this week with another viral-ready video.

Self-deprecation is a rare commodity among the Tour fraternity and no one does it better than Crane, whose most recent production takes a tongue-and-cheek look at his reputation as a slow player.

On that front, “Cut Line” recently asked one longtime Tour official if Crane was still among the circuit’s slowest. “Not at all. He’s really gotten a lot better. He’s not even in the top 5 anymore.”

“Do you like everything about yourself?” Crane jokes in the video, but it is apropos for a man who did what few others can or will – change.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Motor City moves. The final sentence has yet to be penned, but this week’s report that Cadillac is angling to bring the PGA Tour back to Detroit is concerning on two fronts.

According to a story in the Detroit Free Press, Detroit Golf Club is in line to host the event that could be held as early as 2012. Presumably the new event would slide into the vacancy left by the Heritage, which lost its title sponsor last year and has struggled to find a replacement, and would require some schedule adjustment.

Hank Haney and Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods' former swing coach Hank Haney engaged in a war of written words this week with current coach, Sean Foley.

The Heritage is traditionally played the week after the Masters but moved this year to two weeks after the year’s first major. Either date is unworkable in Detroit, which would force some tinkering. It would also mean the end for The Heritage, one of the Tour’s most cherished stops since 1969.

Additionally, there has been speculation that this week’s WGC at Doral could be shifted up north, but that in all likelihood would create even more conflicts with the European Tour schedule, and we’ve all seen how those clashes work out (see Westwood, Lee, 2011 Players Championship).

 Speaking of dueling schedules, Ernie Els was asked this week at Doral if there has been any resolution between the Tour and the European circuit on the playing of this year’s Presidents Cup (Nov. 14-20 in Australia) and the South African Open, where Els will be the defending champion and will be played the same week.

Presidential pardon. “They (Tour commissioner Tim Finchem and European chief George O’Grady) are talking,” Els said. “It's basically in their hands and it's a bit of an issue to resolve. Hopefully they get it resolved. Somebody is going to have to move a date or something.

“It's quite an issue. And not just for me, for the other guys, too; Louis (Oosthuizen), Charl (Schwartzel), Tim (Clark), Rory (Sabbatini) is back in the (Presidents Cup) picture. It could be quite something.”

Finchem and O’Grady are scheduled to speak to the press on Sunday at Doral, so stay tuned.

Missed Cut

Tiger Woods. Of all the lingering questions over the artist formerly known as Tiger Woods, why he seems reluctant to add to his schedule when more “reps” seems to be the tonic for his current troubles is the most curious.

Yet when asked on Wednesday why he won’t add to his schedule Woods lashed back, “Well, because I have a family. I'm divorced. If you've been divorced with kids, then you would understand.”

Tough times indeed, but it’s worth pointing out that 50 percent of all marriages in America end in divorce which means Woods is hardly alone in his troubles. As one Tour brother astutely reasoned, “He’s got a huge jet and can bring a nanny for each child if he needs to. He’s just electing not to play, which is his right. . . . Just because you’re divorced doesn’t mean you can’t play golf.”

Swing coach spats. The landscape has become mean, like South Beach after dark. Maybe it’s the byproduct of increased scrutiny and a golf public that wants answers and they want them now. Either way, it’s uncalled for.

A very public dispute broke out between Woods’ former swing coach Hank Haney and his current set of eyes Sean Foley. At this point the “he said, he said” details of the row are unimportant. Haney should be proud of his work and record with Woods and grateful to have been associated with the greatest player of our generation. Foley is an intensely thoughtful man who defies ego. The rest is just background noise.


Follow Rex Hoggard on Twitter @RexHoggard


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Watch: Pieters snaps club ... around his neck

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 1:19 pm

After opening in 3-over 75, Thomas Pieters was in no mood for more poor play on Friday.

Unfortunately for Pieters, he bogeyed two of his first three holes in the second round of the BMW PGA Championship and then didn't like his second shot at the par-5 fourth.

Someone - or some thing - had to pay, and an innocent iron bore the brunt of Pieters' anger.

Pieters made par on the hole, but at 5 over for the tournament, he was five shots off the cut line.

It's not the first time a club has faced Pieters' wrath. 

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Woods would 'love' to see Tour allow shorts

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 12:59 pm

Players on the European Tour are allowed to wear shorts during practices and pro-ams.

The PGA of America permitted players to show some leg while prepping for last year’s PGA Championship.

Tiger Woods would like to see the PGA Tour follow suit.

"I would love it," he said Thursday in a Facebook Live with Bridgestone Golf. "We play in some of the hottest climates on the planet. We usually travel with the sun, and a lot of our events are played in the summer, and then on top of that when we have the winter months here a lot of the guys go down to South Africa and Australia where it's summer down there.

"It would be nice to wear shorts. Even with my little chicken legs, I still would like to wear shorts."

Caddies are currently allowed to wear shorts on Tour, during events.

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Feasting again: McIlroy shoots 65 to lead BMW PGA

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 12:04 pm

Updated at 9:42 a.m. ET

Rory McIlroy made seven birdies and no bogeys on Friday for a 7-under 65 and the second-round lead at the BMW PGA Championship.

After opening in 67, McIlroy was among the early groups out on Day 2 at Wentworth Club. He made three birdies and no bogeys on the par-35 front nine on Friday, and then went on a run after the turn.

McIlroy made four consecutive birdies, beginning at the par-5 12th. That got him to 12 under, overall, and gave him a clear advantage over the field. With two closing par-5s, a very low number was in sight. But, as he did on Day 1, McIlroy finished par-par.

"I've made four pars there [on 17 and 18] when I really should be making at least two birdies, but I played the other par-5s well," McIlroy said. "It all balances itself out."

Full-field scores from the BMW PGA Championship

McIlroy has made 14 birdies and two bogeys through two rounds. At 12 under, he has a three-stroke lead over Sam Horsfield.

"The work has paid off, to some degree," McIlroy said of his practice with swing coach Michael Bannon. "I still feel like I'm hitting some loose shots out there. But, for the most part, it's been really good. If I can keep these swing thoughts and keep going in the right direction, hopefully this is the type of golf I'll be able to produce."

This event has been feast or famine for McIlroy. He won here in 2014, but has three missed cuts in his other three starts. This week, however, he’ll be around for the weekend and is in position for his first European Tour victory since the 2016 Irish Open and his second worldwide victory of the year (Arnold Palmer Invitational).

"I have the confidence that I'm playing well and I can go out and try to just replicate what I did the day before," McIlroy said about his weekend approach with the lead. "On the first tee box tomorrow I'll be thinking about what I did today. Trying to just keep the same thoughts, make the same swings. I went a couple better today than I did yesterday. I'm not sure I'll keep that progression going but something similiar tomorrow would be nice."

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Goat visor propels Na to Colonial lead

By Will GrayMay 25, 2018, 1:29 am

Jason Dufner officially has some company in the headwear free agency wing of the PGA Tour.

Like Dufner, Kevin Na is now open to wear whatever he wants on his head at tournaments, as his visor sponsorship with Titleist ended earlier this month. He finished T-6 at the AT&T Byron Nelson in his second tournament as a free agent, and this week at the Fort Worth Invitational he's once again wearing a simple white visor with a picture of a goat.

"I bought it at The Players Championship for $22 with the 30 percent discount that they give the Tour players," Na told reporters. "It's very nice."

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

Perhaps a change in headwear was just what Na needed to jumpstart his game. Last week's result in Dallas was his first top-35 finish in his last six events dating back to February, and he built upon that momentum with an 8-under 62 to take a one-shot lead over Charley Hoffman after the first round at Colonial Country Club.

While many sports fans know the "GOAT" acronym to stand for "Greatest Of All Time," it's a definition that the veteran Na only learned about earlier this year.

"I do social media, but they kept calling Tiger the GOAT. I go, 'Man, why do they keep calling Tiger the GOAT? That's just mean,'" Na said. "Then I realized it meant greatest of all time. Thinking of getting it signed by Jack (Nicklaus) next week (at the Memorial)."