Cut Line Can You Hear Me Now - COPIED

By Rex HoggardFebruary 23, 2011, 1:38 am

Tiger Woods was fined by the European Tour this week for expectorating – it’s a word, look it up – on the 12th green Sunday at the Dubai Desert Classic while Lee Westwood has turned a personal decision into an assault on the PGA Tour’s policies.

Both got calls they didn’t want, which seems about right the same week the PGA Tour rebrands itself officially cell phone friendly.

Made Cut

Hogan’s Alley. In the age of TPCs and 7,500-yard behemoths, Riviera Country Club is a testament to creative architecture and challenging choices.

At 315 yards, the Riv’s 10th played to a virtual par push in 2010 (3.932) and had 153 of the world’s best attempt to drive its wildly pitched putting surface with just seven managing to pull it off.

“It's just old-time golf at its best, and like I say, this is one of the best,” Steve Stricker said this week at the Northern Trust Open.

Let’s hope the PGA of America remembers that the next time they go looking for a West Coast PGA Championship venue.

Pop quiz: What do Davis Love III, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Larry the Cable Guy have in common, beyond an affinity for turkey jerky and detailed knowledge of how to skin a deer?

Answer: All three are said to have written testimonials for Boo Weekley’s new book due out on March 29. Truth is, of all the golf books that come across our desk, Weekley’s tome is the one we’re most interested in reading.

Back to the Black. According to reports, the Tour is considering adding Bethpage Black to an already solid rotation for The Barclays.

Although we’d hate to see Bethpage fall out of the U.S. Open rotation, it would be nice to see the Grand Dame of public golf play the way nature intended, without the aid of squeegees and Sub-Air.

Captain creative. We have not been shy in this space taking Corey Pavin to task for the United States’ loss last year in Wales, but the 2010 skipper went outside the box this week when asked about expanding the matches to four days, going one better and suggesting the respective PGAs add an additional match to each session.

“It would be great if you could play five matches each session (instead of four),” Pavin said. “The players like it a lot more because they get to play. When you have to sit eight guys down every session, it's hard. That's a lot of guys to sit down, and you're sitting down a third of your team.”

Of course, had they had to play an extra match each team session last year in Wales the event may still be going on.


 

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

PDAs (Please Don’t Attempt . . . to take pictures). The Tour announced this week it was moving forward with its new cell phone policy, although to most tournament-goers it may come as a surprise they weren’t allowed to bring their electronic leashes on property before.

Although the policy has good intentions, expect some growing pains if previous experiments are any indication. On Friday at the Farmers Insurance Open officials confiscated 13 cell phones from the throng trailing Tiger Woods at Torrey Pines . . . on the first hole.

The Tour is being proactive, however, and has tinkered with its enforcement policy since Torrey.

“We went into this with a zero-tolerance approach to photography. What we noticed is that we were spending so much time trying to enforce a policy that is quite frankly unenforceable. When you’ve got 2,500 people walking with Tiger and half have cell phones to try and enforce a zero-tolerance policy you’d have to have 1,000 volunteers,” Andy Pazder, the Tour’s executive vice president and chief of operations, told GolfChannel.com.

“We changed our tact a little at Pebble and focused our efforts on pre-tournament education. The biggest impact was we had volunteers and mobile device task force members that would make announcements along the rope lines. It worked beautifully. It was a much better way to approach it.”

The new policy will only help grow interest in the game but be warned – some learning curves are more painful than others.

Tweet of the week: @PaulGoydosPGA “Getting ready to play (the Northern Trust Open). Set a goal of being better than last week. I like setting attainable goals.”

Goydos missed the cut at Pebble Beach with closing rounds of 79-79.


 Missed Cut

Magic Loogies. It seems strangely apropos that the same day “Spit-gate” goes viral is also the same day that pitchers and catchers report to major league camps across Florida and Texas, where spitting is a sport unto itself.

Which seems to cut to the heart of Tiger Woods’ recent faux pas. On Thursday, a friend from Australia blasted Woods’ actions on the 12th green Sunday at the Dubai Desert Classic while a fellow American, and self-proclaimed non-Tiger fan, seemed to dismiss the act as childish but hardly a heinous offense. The divide seems to be cultural.

“I have quite a few players who would get fined in Europe for spitting, but the U.S. Tour doesn't care much about decorum, or enforcing any of its conduct rules,” said one longtime manager with players on both sides of the pond. “The attitude about spitting is completely different in Europe.”

Curious, however, that as egregious as Woods’ actions seem to be overseas, it hasn’t soured the powers on his singularly powerful draw. According to reports, Woods is close to penning a new deal that would bring him back to play the Dubai Desert Classic for three more years.

As offensive as Woods’ actions were, in the pantheon of etiquette violations, it was akin to jaywalking.

Tweet of the Week II: @TigerWoods “The Euro Tour is right – it was inconsiderate to spit like that and I know better. Just wasn’t thinking and want to say I’m sorry.”

We applaud Woods for the quick turnaround, but are not sure damage control is what the folks at Twitter had in mind for their social network.

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After Further Review: Nelson lost in the shuffle?

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 21, 2018, 3:40 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the Nelson's future ...

If the goal was “different” by bringing the AT&T Byron Nelson to Trinity Forest, consider it achieved. But bringing a world-class field south of Dallas could still be tricky.

Yes, the tournament can always rely on local resident and AT&T spokesman Jordan Spieth to throw his hat in the ring. But even with Spieth strolling the fairways this week, the field strength was among the worst all season for a full-point event.

The debut of the sprawling, links-like layout likely did little to sway the undecideds, with only the third round offering the challenging conditions that course co-designer Ben Crenshaw had envisioned. And the schedule won’t do them any favors next year, as a revamped itinerary likely puts the Nelson right before the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black.

The course will inevitably get better with age, and Spieth expects positive word of mouth to spread. But it might be a while before the stars truly align for an event that, for the moment, feels lost in the shuffle of a hectic schedule. – Will Gray


On Jordan Spieth's putting ...

Jordan Spieth’s putting is plainly bad right now, but it isn’t going to stay this bad forever.

He is the second ranked player on Tour in strokes gained: tee-to-green, just like he was last year. This putting slump has lingered, but it’s unfathomable to think this guy just forgot how to putt.

Sooner rather than later he’s going to remember he’s Jordan Spieth and the 40-footers are going to start pouring in. He’ll be telling Greller to go get the ball because he’s too far away and the tee is in the other direction.

Bottom line, the ball striking is for real and the putting slump will pass. He’ll win soon – maybe even as soon as this week. – Nick Menta


On golf and gambling ...

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court over tuned a federal ban on sports betting in most states, a move the PGA Tour and many professional sports leagues embraced as a tool to both build fan interest and grow revenue.

Experts estimate sports betting could become a $150-$200 billion annual industry, and even a small piece of that could be significant for golf, but there will be risks.

Unlike any other sport, golf is played on multiple fields simultaneously, which inherently creates risks when gambling is introduced to the equation. Although the Tour has gone to great pains to head off any potential problems, like all bets gambling comes with great rewards, and great risks. – Rex Hoggard

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Wise continues whirlwind ascent with first win

By Will GrayMay 21, 2018, 3:13 am

DALLAS – Still shy of his 22nd birthday, Aaron Wise continues to prove himself to be a quick learner.

Wise went from unheralded prospect to NCAA individual champ seemingly in the blink of an eye while at the University of Oregon. After eschewing his final two years of eligibility in Eugene, he won in Canada on the Mackenzie Tour in his third start as a professional.

He continued a quick learning curve with a win last year on the Web.com Tour to propel him to the big leagues, and he didn’t flinch while going toe-to-toe with Jason Day two weeks ago, even though the result didn’t go his way.

Faced with another opportunity to take down a top-ranked Aussie, Wise made sure he got the job done Sunday at the AT&T Byron Nelson – even though it took until dark.

With mid-day rains turning a firm and fast layout into a birdie barrage, Wise seamlessly switched gears and put his first PGA Tour title on ice in impressive fashion with a bogey-free 65. Deadlocked with Marc Leishman to start the day, Wise made six birdies in his first 10 holes and coasted to a three-shot win as the leaders barely beat the setting sun to avoid an anticlimactic Monday finish at Trinity Forest Golf Club.


Full-field scores from the AT&T Byron Nelson

AT&T Byron Nelson: Articles, photos and videos


As it turned out, the hardest part of the day was enduring the four-hour weather delay alongside his mother, Karla, as his afternoon tee time turned into a twilight affair.

“She was talking to me in the hotel about what a win could mean, what a second could mean, kind of taking me through all that,” Wise said. “I was like, I’ve got to calm down. I can’t just sit here. I said, ‘You’ve got to go.’ I kind of made her leave the room.”

Wise displayed some jitters right out of the gates, with a nervy three-putt par on the opening hole. But with several players going on birdie runs to turn what seemed like a two-man race into a much more wide-open affair, Wise went on a tear of his own with four birdies in a row on Nos. 7-10.

That gave him a window over Leishman and the rest of the chase pack, and he never looked back.

“I talked to myself and kind of made myself trust my putting,” Wise said. “These greens out here are really tricky, and for me to roll those putts in on 8 and 9 really kind of separated things.”

Leishman had held at least a share of the lead after each round, and the 34-year-old veteran was looking for his third win in the last 14 months. But a bogey on No. 10 coincided with a Wise birdie to boost the rookie’s advantage from two shots to four, and Leishman never got closer than three shots the rest of the way.

“He holed putts he needed to hole, and I didn’t,” Leishman said. “Hit a couple loose shots where I could have probably put a bit of pressure on him, and didn’t. And that’s probably the difference in the end.”

Instead of sitting next to a trophy in Dallas, Wise could have been closing out his senior season next week with an NCAA appearance at Karsten Creek. But the roots of his quick climb trace back to the Master of the Amateurs in Australia in December 2015, a tournament he won and one that gave him confidence that he could hold his own against the best in the world. He returned to Eugene and promptly told his coach, Casey Martin, that he planned to turn pro in the spring.

The same dogged confidence that drove that decision has been the guiding force behind a whirlwind ascent through every rung of the professional ladder.

“I just have a lot of belief in myself. I didn’t come from a lot. A lot of people don’t know that. I didn’t get to travel a bunch when I played junior golf,” Wise said. “Kind of all along it’s been very, very few moments to shine and I have had to take advantage of them.”

Despite that belief, even Wise admits that he’s “shocked” to turn only his second real chance to contend at this level into a maiden victory. But fueled by the memories of a close call two weeks ago, he put the lessons learned at Quail Hollow to quick use while taking the next step in an increasingly promising career arc.

“It was awesome, everything I dreamed of,” Wise said. “To walk up 18, knowing I kind of had it locked up, was pretty cool.”

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Grace celebrates birthday with final-round 62

By Will GrayMay 21, 2018, 1:51 am

DALLAS – Branden Grace celebrated his 30th birthday in style, making the biggest charge of the final round at the AT&T Byron Nelson.

Grace closed out a 9-under 62 as the sun began to set at Trinity Forest Golf Club, moving from outside the top 10 into a share of third place, four shots behind Aaron Wise. It equaled Grace’s career low on the PGA Tour, which he originally set last summer at The Open, and it was one shot off Marc Leishman’s course-record 61 from the opening round.

“Good birthday present. It was fun,” Grace said. “Little bit of imagination, little bit of luck here and there. You get more luck on the links golf course than maybe on a normal golf course.”


Full-field scores from the AT&T Byron Nelson

AT&T Byron Nelson: Articles, photos and videos


Weeks after Grace’s wife gave birth to the couple’s first child, he now has his best result on the PGA Tour since winning the RBC Heritage more than two years ago. As a world traveler and former Presidents Cup participant, the South African embraced an opportunity this week to go off the beaten path on an unconventional layout.

“It feels like a breath of fresh air coming to something different. Really is nice. I really enjoyed the golf course,” he said. “Obviously I think we got really lucky with the weather, and that’s why the scores are so low. It can bite you if it settles in a little bit in the next couple years.”

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Scott barely misses qualifying for U.S. Open

By Will GrayMay 21, 2018, 1:33 am

DALLAS – A birdie on the 72nd hole gave Adam Scott a glimmer of hope, but in the end even a closing 65 at the AT&T Byron Nelson wasn’t enough to earn an exemption into next month’s U.S. Open.

Scott entered the week ranked No. 65 in the world, and the top 60 in next week’s rankings automatically qualify for Shinnecock Hills. The cutoff was a big reason why the 2008 tournament champ returned for Trinity Forest’s debut, and midway through the final round it seemed like the Aussie had a shot at snagging a bid at the 11th hour.

Scott needed at least a solo ninth-place finish to pass an idle Chesson Hadley at No. 60, and while his 5-footer on the 18th green gave him a share of sixth place when he completed play, he ultimately ended up in a three-way tie for ninth at 15 under – barely short of a spot in the top 60.


Full-field scores from the AT&T Byron Nelson

AT&T Byron Nelson: Articles, photos and videos


“I tried to make the most of really favorable conditions today, and I did a pretty good job of it. Just never really got a hot run going,” Scott said. “I feel like I struggled on the weekend reading the greens well enough to really get it going, but I think everyone but the leaders did that, too. They’re not the easiest greens to read.”

Scott has played each of the last three weeks in an effort to earn a U.S. Open exemption, and he’ll make it four in a row next week when he returns to the Fort Worth Invitational on a course where he won in 2013. Scott still has another chance to avoid sectional qualifying by earning a top-60 spot at the second and final cutoff on June 11 following the FedEx St. Jude Classic.

Scott has played 67 majors in a row, a streak that dates back to 2001 and is second only to Sergio Garcia among active players. While he’s prepared to play each of the next three weeks in a last-ditch effort to make the field, he’s taking his schedule one event at a time with the hope that one more good result might take care of business.

“I’ll play next week and hopefully play really well, and give myself a bit of cushion so I can take a week or so off and try to prepare the best I can for the U.S. Open,” Scott said.