Cut Line Cups Half Full
In a rare “house divided” edition the Pavins, that’s Corey and wife Lisa, end up on opposite ends of the weekend axe, but at least neither of them have to suffer through four rounds at Cog Hill, which is about as popular as another September swoon by the Cubs.
Corey Pavin’s picks. If Captain America didn’t exactly take a page from Paul Azinger’s Ryder Cup playbook when he announced his four wild-card picks on Tuesday it was more a byproduct of circumstance than it was a wholesale philosophical shift.
This year’s matches may not be an entirely different game than the “us against the world” spirited home game that was Valhalla, but it’s close, and that had to factor into Pavin’s picks.
If Pavin is culpable of anything it is locking into his picks a tad early. He confirmed on Tuesday that his picks didn’t change over the last week, which likely cost Charley Hoffman a spot on the team. But given the hand Pavin has been dealt it’s hard to find fault in three veterans and a five-tool prospect.
FedEx Cup. It’s not perfect. May never be. But PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem’s big finish is 3-for-3 in crowning the correct champion and identifying the year’s top players.
In order, the cup has gone to Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh and Woods; and only three players have finished in the top 15 the last three years – Steve Stricker, Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk.
Not a Boise State in the bunch. Take that BCS.
Tweet of the Week: @stewartcink “Just finished at Deutsche Bank and my phone is eerily devoid of text, voice or e-mail from You Know Who.” Good news for Cink and his loyal army of followers he got the call, or maybe the news came via a Tweet.
Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)
Phil Mickelson. We’ve been on this treadmill since The Players Championship, Lefty poised on the mathematical doorstep to become the world’s top-ranked player for the first time in a Hall-of-Fame career, and yet each week slips by with another pedestrian performance and an unchanged lineup card.
To put Lefty’s lofty struggles in context, Woods has dropped five times more points in his average ranking (4.96) since January than Mickelson has gained (.82).
The BMW Championship marks the 260th week Mickelson has held the also-ran ranking – exactly twice as long as the next guy on the “bridesmaid” list, Nick Faldo (130 weeks). That’s not 19 runner-ups in major championships, but not a bad measure of a career or a man.
Cog Hill. Mickelson has never been shy in his assessment of Rees Jones’ nip/tuck of the South Side staple, but his discontent was joined by a chorus of other disgruntled players at this week’s BMW Championship.
“Two things you don’t want to hear as a player, Rees Jones and SubAir,” Paul Casey told XM Radio.
What’s lost in the Cog Hill bashing, however, is that Jones’ 2009 makeover of the public-access gem was prompted by the possibility of landing a U.S. Open on the Dubsdread layout, a possibility that turned long-shot when the U.S. Golf Association awarded the 2017 national championship to Wisconsin’s Erin Hills in June.
A word of caution to Tour types on this, you may not love Cog Hill, but the alternative is no stop at all in Chicago. And that’s not good for anyone.
Lisa Pavin. The captain’s better half has not been bashful in expanding the role of the first lady, but a recent interview in Avid Golfer (Dallas) magazine may have stretched the boundaries of a captain’s wife, to say nothing of the fodder she has provided the United Kingdom press.
The article includes numerous photos of a scantily clad Lisa Pavin and comments that stretch the traditional role of a captain’s wife.
“I want this position to stand out. And I want to help the PGA brand the Ryder Cup to another level. To another market. To another niche. I think that’s where my business mind comes in,” Lisa Pavin said in the article. “It’s not just about clothes; people think my job only involves clothing. I’m thinking how to take the PGA of America to other people who wouldn’t normally be interested. That’s just my business mind working versus doing the usual responsibilities that a wife does. We’ll see if it works.”
Works for us, but the PGA of America may want to handle the U.S. team’s wardrobe if the magazine’s photos are any indication of Lisa Pavin’s sense of style.
New groove rule. News that the U.S. Golf Association is testing a potential “tournament ball” has drawn the attention of golf-dom, none other than Woods himself addressed the topic last week in Boston. But before the blue blazers consider any new regulations they may want to take a closer look at what happened the last time the organization adopted a similar rollback.
This year’s new groove rule was supposed to put more emphasis on hitting fairways and make greens harder to find for Tour types, but entering the season’s final month the measure seems to have been counter-intuitive.
Although Tour players are hitting slightly more fairways in 2010 (63.57) compared to previous years (2009, 62.91; 2008, 63.16; 2007, 63.03; 2006, 63.26) – a bump that could just as easily be attributed to wetter, more-receptive courses – the percentage of greens hit from 125 yards and in, the kind of wedge shots that were supposed to be impacted the most by the change, has actually gone up slightly (2010, 81.77; 2009, 81.38; 2008, 81.59; 2007, 80.31).
“Oh, no doubt, it's helped. I think (the new grooves) made it almost easier,” Ryan Palmer said. “I mean, look at the 59 (Paul Goydos at the John Deere Classic), the 60, 61s, and what did they do at Canada, Carl Pettersson shooting 59, Colonial, breaking records. The greens are soft and nobody is spinning the ball, and they're controlling their lob wedges easier.”
Just a hunch, but “easier” can’t be what the USGA had in mind.
Wie has hand surgery, out for rest of 2018
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
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.
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.
Woods receives his Tour Championship trophy
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.
Garcia 2 back in storm-halted Andalucia Masters
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.
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.''
Caddies drop lawsuit; Tour increases healthcare stipend
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.”