Cut Line A Chalice Half Full

By Rex HoggardFebruary 12, 2010, 10:22 pm

Maybe it’s the Crosby Weather that has engulfed every inch of the United States sans the Monterey Peninsula, but “Cut Line” has spent the week searching for the silver lining to the metaphorical storm cloud that has been hanging over the game in recent weeks.

Color us hopelessly hopeful, but the storm and the endless assault on golf has to end sooner or later. Doesn’t it?

Made Cut

USGA/Ping. We’ve read a lot of ambiguous press releases in our day, but the U.S. Golf Association’s missive on Thursday regarding the ongoing talks with Ping to find a solution to Groovegate had a Salvador Dali feel to it – there was a hidden meaning but most minds aren’t twisted enough to figure it out.

“Our conversation with Ping regarding the status of the Ping Eye 2 irons on the major professional American tours was productive, and we are hopeful that a solution can be found that respects and reflects the best interests of golfers and the game,” new USGA president Jim Hyler said in the statement.

Best guess translation? The USGA is trying to sweet talk Ping like a freshman on prom night and the good news for the game is that Ping is listening. Stay tuned.

Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula CC. Here’s the rub, most Tour courses aren’t the best tracks in town. Truth is, some Tour haunts aren’t even the best in that zip code (that’s right, you heard me TPC Sawgrass). But give AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am organizers credit, this year’s move from Poppy Hills to the Shore Course is an upgrade by any measure.

“It’s a terrific track. One of my favorites now on Tour. I think Mike Strantz did a great job in his design of the bunkering, the greens, the holes, the layout,” said Phil Mickelson, who opened with a 2-under 68 on the Shore Course and also liked the improved pace of play on the layout. “We’re used to having two or three groups waiting at the turn, and we didn't have to wait at all. We just kept on playing.”

That’s high cotton from a player who blasted the redesign at Cog Hill last year, “In the pro-am and the first round I had the same yardages and hit 5-iron on every one of the par 3s. That’s a failing grade in Golf Architecture 101.” And who hasn’t been back to the Bob Hope since the Classic Club debacle.

Steve Stricker. Yes, we all know he’s a nice guy and a great interview, but we give the nod to our favorite “Cheese head” because the man’s signature move – after the simple swing and smooth putting stroke – is the water works that seem to follow every victory.

Tough guys may scoff at Stricker’s show of emotion, but it’s a testament to how much the game means to him and the depths from which he’s climbed. If anyone deserves to be a two-time Comeback Player of the Year, it is Stricker.

Tweet of the week. Courtesy of Joe Ogilvie (@ogilviej): “There is a fourth alternative to the groove rule: swallow the ego, do a mea culpa and suspend the groove rule immediately . . . that my friends is the easiest and fairest solution . . .”

And to think, the Tour didn’t let him run for a second term on the Policy Board.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Anthony Kim. Forget that misguided decision to chase an appearance fee earlier this year when he should have been playing the Bob Hope Classic, AK lands on the also-ran list for his decision to play in a celebrity basketball game on Friday as part of the NBA All-Star weekend in Dallas.

We’ve shared a court with Kim and must concede that he has plenty of game, but have to wonder why a player with such a long list of off-course injuries would put himself in harm’s way on the cusp of what many say is shaping up to be a stellar year.

Kim’s pro career was slowed by an ankle injury sustained . . . wait for it, during a pickup basketball game, he struggled for weeks, by his own admission, to recover from batting practice at Fenway Park in 2008 and was nearly TKO’d while riding a horse in New Zealand later that same year.

To put it kindly, he’s a golf heavyweight with a recreational glass jaw.

Missed Cut

Champions Tour I. The world’s most closed shop seems to become an even tougher ticket every year. Consider the plight of Sandy Lyle, who could not get into this week’s Ace Group Classic in Florida, but qualified to play in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am via an arcane exemption.

To recap, Lyle has been honored with the Order of the British Empire but somehow was not fit to lead a European Ryder Cup team. He can win 29 events, two majors and a Players Championship yet is inexplicably not in the World Golf Hall of Fame and can land a spot at the Clambake but not among the senior set.

Life truly is stranger than fiction.

Champions Tour II. Jim Thorpe was been suspended from playing the circuit after pleading guilty to two counts of failure to pay taxes.

Although the decision is not surprising, the method of deliver falls under the wrong execution of the right idea category. Thorpe told Golf Channel’s Rich Lerner that he learned of his suspension via an e-mail from the Tour.

We can only assume Champions Tour officials and Thorpe aren’t Facebook friends and, in their defense, a suspension is probably too heavy for a simple text or Tweet.

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Tiger Tracker: Tour Championship

By Tiger TrackerSeptember 20, 2018, 7:08 pm

Tiger Woods is looking to close his season with a win at the Tour Championship. We're tracking him this week at East Lake Golf Club.

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Watch: Highlights from Tiger's first round at East Lake

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 20, 2018, 7:00 pm

Tiger Woods is back at the season-ending Tour Championship for the first time since 2013, and he provided the fans in Atlanta with some highlights on the first day of competition.

Still looking for his first win of the year after coming close on numerous occasions, Woods started the day off by splitting the fairway on the first hole with the driver, not even bothering to watch his ball land.

Despite the picture-perfect opening tee shot, Woods would go on to bogey the first hole, but he rebounded with back-to-back birdies on 5 and 6, making putts from 26 and 15 feet.

Tiger's best shot on the front nine came on the par-4 seventh hole after he found the pine straw behind a tree with his drive. The 14-time major champ punched one under the tree limbs and onto the green, then calmly two-putted for par from about 40 feet en route to a front-side 1-under 34.

Woods added two more birdies on the par-4 12th and 14th holes, rolling in putts of 3 feet and 7 feet after a couple of great looking approach shots.

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Garcia (66) peaking for Ryder Cup?

By Ryan LavnerSeptember 20, 2018, 6:17 pm

Sergio Garcia might be finding his form just in time to terrorize the U.S. Ryder Cup team.

Garcia made seven birdies during an opening round of 5-under 66 to sit just two shots off the early lead at the European Tour’s Portugal Masters.

It was Garcia’s fifth consecutive round of par or better, a stretch that includes rounds of 66-65-67-70-66. That solid play at the Wyndham Championship wasn’t enough to extend his PGA Tour season – he didn’t qualify for the FedExCup playoffs – but the Spaniard is starting to round into form with the Ryder Cup on deck.

Full-field scores from the Portugal Masters

A few weeks ago he was a controversial selection by European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn. After missing the cut in all four majors, Garcia could have been left at home in favor of such players as Rafa Cabrera Bello, Matt Wallace (a three-time winner this season who, once again, is at the top of the leaderboard in Portugal), Matt Fitzpatrick or Thomas Pieters. But Bjorn tabbed Garcia, noting his Ryder Cup experience, his sterling foursomes record and his influence in the team room. If Phil Mickelson is the U.S. player under the most pressure to perform in Paris, all eyes will be on Garcia next week – especially since it could be one of his final opportunities to wear a European uniform, as he’ll be 40 for the 2020 matches.

Garcia’s 66 matched his lowest opening round of the year and puts him in position to secure just his second top-10 since March.

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Watch: 100mph storm destroys tent at St. Andrews

By Grill Room TeamSeptember 20, 2018, 4:25 pm

The Old Course at St. Andrews has endured all sorts of wacky weather over the years, but things ratcheted up a notch this week with the arrival of Storm Ali.

The first named storm of the season struck Wednesday, bringing 100 mph gusts, killing two people and leaving hundreds of thousands of people without power in parts of Ireland, Scotland and England.

According to the Courier no one was injured in the St. Andrews area, but a video posted from the home of golf shows just how powerful the storm was as wind absolutely destroyed one of the hospitality tents set up in advance of the Dunhill Links Championship:

While plenty of clean-up is sure to be needed, officials say the Dunhill Links, which also be conducted at Carnoustie and Kingsbarns, will go on as scheduled October 4-7.