Cut Line: Daly walks away; Tiger steps up

By Rex HoggardNovember 11, 2011, 4:25 pm

SYDNEY – Those who mistakenly refer to this portion of the golf calendar as the “silly season” must not be paying attention. A particularly eventful news cycle has given us Steve Williams unplugged, John Daly unhinged and Tiger Woods unencumbered.

Made Cut

Tiger Woods. Any way you slice it it’s been a good week for the world No. 58. In order he’s doused the flames caused by estranged former caddie Williams, signed a long-missing golf bag endorsement deal, carded his first bogey-free round since Torrey Pines and held his first lead since Augusta National.

On Williams, Woods deftly handled the New Zealander’s racial slur that occurred last week at a function in Shanghai. “Stevie’s certainly not a racist, there’s no doubt about that. It was a comment that shouldn’t have been made and was certainly one that he wished he didn’t make,” Woods said on Tuesday.

On Thursday he carded a flawless 68 followed by a 67 on Day 2 to move into the lead at the Australian Open and announced he has penned an endorsement deal with Fuse Science, a Florida-based sports nutrition company.

“Life goes forward and this is it,” he said.

PGA Tour. It has been the unwieldy elephant in the room for some time. The WGC-HSBC Champions has been a World Golf Championship in name only and the circuit’s fall lineup has, at least until this year, had the feel of a postgame party that no one was invited to.

So news that the Tour is considering a plan that would allow the circuit to begin a new season in the fall was good news on many fronts. The move would allow the HSBC to become an official event without upending the year-end money race and move the Fall Series events into the FedEx Cup portion of the schedule.

Commissioner Tim Finchem told Golfweek magazine that if the Policy Board approves the idea, along with a restructuring of the Nationwide Tour/Q-School process, the new schedule could be in place for the 2013 season.

Next up for Finchem, world peace and Daly’s behavior.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

The American Presidents Cup bench. Last week U.S. captain Fred Couples said that Steve Stricker, on the shelf since the Tour Championship, “would be fine to play” next week’s matches.

If not, and allowed, he’d consider playing one of his assistant captains. Following Hunter Mahan’s withdrawal from the Australian Open on Friday he may have to press both of his assistants, John Cook and Jay Haas, into action.

Mahan withdrew on Friday after struggling with an ailing right shoulder on Day 1 at The Lakes. Although he sounded like a man who would be ready to play at Royal Melbourne he did leave open the possibility that he may need to be replaced, “If Fred has to call (Couples’ already-identified first alternate Keegan Bradley), then . . .”

Let’s hope that if that call must come it’s in time for Bradley, who wasn’t asked to come to Royal Melbourne and serve as a special assistant just in case, to make the long trek from Florida to Australia.

Lefty’s Hall call. Phil Mickelson sealed his ticket to the World Golf Hall of Fame years ago, yet the question remains – what’s the rush?

At 41 Mickelson is still an active player by any measure, having won this year on the PGA Tour and finishing runner-up at the Open Championship. Induction into the Hall of Fame is time for reflection, something players still looking to pad their resumes are reluctant to do.

By including “active” players the Hall is also doing an injustice to deserving inductees. Consider that Mickelson garnered 72 percent of the vote, while the likes of Ken Venturi and Tony Lema were overlooked, again.

This is an easy fix. If a player isn’t old enough to qualify for a senior discount at the movies he’s not old enough to be considered for the Hall of Fame.

Missed Cut

Indecision ’11. Let’s hope this is the last word on the Tour’s process for determining its end-of-the-year awards and news that the circuit included five candidates for the Player of the Year award seemed obvious enough.

What flummoxed us was news that the ballot also includes five candidates for the Rookie of the Year award. With all due respect to Chris Kirk, Scott Stallings, Brendan Steele and Jhonattan Vegas, this year’s ROY is a one-man race – with an honorable mention going to Masters champion Charl Schwartzel. Keegan Bradley is this year’s top newcomer thanks to two Tour tilts with a PGA Championship high card.

The idea of five “candidates” for the rookie award smacks of a third-grade fun run where everyone earns “participation medals.” If everyone is special no one is.

Tweet of the week I. @BrendanSteele “Happy to be nominated for (Rookie of the Year) but we all know (Keegan Bradley) should get every vote. Unreal year buddy.”

John Daly. Long John seems to have finally exhausted whatever good will remains for him, at least in Australia, following his withdrawal from this week’s Australian Open.

After pumping seven golf balls into a water hazard adjacent The Lakes’ 11th hole on Thursday, Daly bolted the property with his 8-year-old son Patrick in tow. It was his third WD in his past eight tournaments and his 30th early exit in the modern era.

“It is very disappointing for the tournament. It is certainly unprofessional, and I am extremely bitter and disappointed that he has treated this championship this way,” said Trevor Herden, the Australian Open tournament director. “It is becoming a bit of a habit. . . . It is unacceptable and I certainly hope that all the tours deal with it in the appropriate manner this time.”

Only Australian Craig Parry, who was paired with Daly at The Lakes, seemed in any way supportive of the withdrawal.

“He had the right club, he would have reached the green but the wind was blowing pretty hard from left to right,” he said. “I’m sure everyone would like to walk off at some stage in their career.”

Perhaps everyone has considered taking a dive, but only Daly was indifferent enough to do it.

Tweet of the week II. @PGA_JohnDaly “My playing partner Craig Parry’s words are the facts.”

Has someone hacked JD’s account again?

Getty Images

Four top finishers in Japan qualify for The Open

By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:19 am

IBARAKI, Japan – Shota Akiyoshi of Japan shot a 2-under-par 70 on Sunday to win the Mizuno Open and qualify for The 147th Open.

Akiyoshi offset three bogeys with five birdies at the Royal Golf Club in Ibaraki, Japan, to finish 1 under overall and secure his first ever tournament win on the Japan Golf Tour.

Michael Hendry of New Zealand and Japanese golfers Masahiro Kawamura and Masanori Kobayashi were tied for second one stroke off the pace to also qualify for The Open at Carnoustie, Scotland, from July 19-22.

Hendry, who led the tournament coming into the final round, came close to forcing a playoff with Akiyoshi but dropped a shot with a bogey on the final hole when he needed a par to draw level.

Hendry will make his second appearance at The Open after qualifying at the Mizuno Open for the second year in a row.

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Lewis hopes to win at Volvik with baby on the way

By Randall MellMay 27, 2018, 12:55 am

Stacy Lewis was listening to more than her caddie on her march up the leaderboard Saturday at the Volvik Championship.

Pregnant with her first child, she is listening to her body in a new way these days.

And she could hear a message coming through loud and clear toward the end of her round at Travis Point Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich.

“The little one was telling me it’s dinnertime,” Lewis said.

Lewis birdied five of the last six holes to shoot 5-under-par 67 and move into position to make a Sunday run at winning her 13th LPGA title. She is two shots behind the leader, Minjee Lee, whose 68 moved her to 12 under overall.

Sunday has the makings of a free for all with 10 players within three shots of the lead.

Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship

Lewis, 33, is four months pregnant, with her due date Nov. 3. She’s expecting to play just a few more times before putting the clubs away to get ready for the birth. She said she’s likely to make the Marathon Classic in mid-July her last start of the season before returning next year.

Of course, Lewis would relish winning with child.

“I don’t care what limitations I have or what is going on with my body, I want to give myself a chance to win,” she told at the Kingsmill Championship last week.

Lewis claimed an emotional victory with her last title, taking the Cambia Portland Classic late last summer after announcing earlier in the week that she would donate her entire winnings to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in her Houston hometown.

A victory Sunday would also come with a lot of emotion.

It’s been an interesting year for Lewis.

There’s been the joy of learning she’s ready to begin the family she has been yearning for, and the struggle to play well after bouncing back from injury.

Lewis missed three cuts in a row before making it into the weekend at the Kingsmill Championship last week. That’s one more cut than she missed cumulatively in the previous six years. In six starts this year, Lewis hasn’t finished among the top 50 yet, but she hasn’t felt right, either.

The former world No. 1 didn’t make her second start of 2018 until April, at the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration. She withdrew from the HSBC Women’s World Championship in late February with a strained right oblique muscle and didn’t play again for a month.

Still, Lewis is finding plenty to get excited about with the baby on the way.

“I kind of had my first Mother’s Day,” Lewis told last week. “It puts golf into perspective. It makes those bad days not seem so bad. It helps me sleep better at night. We are just really excited.”

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Rose hasn't visited restroom at Colonial - here's why

By Nick MentaMay 27, 2018, 12:20 am

In case you're unaware, it's pretty hot in Texas.

Temperatures at Colonial Country Club have approached 100 degrees this week, leaving players to battle both the golf course and potential dehydration.

With the help of his caddie Mark Fulcher, Fort Worth Invitational leader Justin Rose has been plenty hot himself, staking himself to a four-shot lead.

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

"Yeah, Fulch has done a great job of just literally handing me water bottle after water bottle. It seems relentless, to be honest with you," Rose said Saturday.

So just how much are players sweating the heat at Colonial? Well, it doesn't sound like all that water is making it all the way through Rose.

"I haven't even seen the inside of a restroom yet, so you can't even drink quick enough out there," he shared.

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Up four, Rose knows a lead can slip away

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 11:21 pm

Up four shots heading into Sunday at the Fort Worth Invitational, Justin Rose has tied the largest 54-hole lead of his PGA Tour career.

On the previous two occasions he took a 54-hole Tour lead into the final round, he closed.

And yet, Rose knows just how quickly a lead can slip away. After all, it was Rose who erased a six-shot deficit earlier this season to overtake Dustin Johnson and win the WGC-HSBC Championship. 

"I think I was in the lead going into the final round in Turkey when I won, and I had a four-shot lead going into the final round in Indonesia in December and managed to put that one away," Rose said Saturday, thinking back to his two other victories late last year.

"I was five, six back maybe of DJ, so I've got experience the other way. ... So you can see how things can go both ways real quick. That's why there is no point in getting too far ahead of myself."

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

Up one to start the third round Saturday, Rose extended his lead to as much as five when he birdied four of his first six holes.

He leads the field in strokes gained: tee-to-green (+12.853) and strokes gained: approach-the-green (+7.931).

Rose has won five times worldwide, including at the 2016 Rio Olympics, since his last victory in the United States, at the 2015 Zurich Classic.

With a win Sunday, he'd tie Nick Faldo for the most PGA Tour wins by an Englishman post-World War II, with nine.

But he isn't celebrating just yet.

"It is a big lead, but it's not big enough to be counting the holes away. You've got to go out and play good, you've got to go out positive, you've got to continue to make birdies and keep going forward.

"So my mindset is to not really focus on the lead, it's to focus on my game tomorrow and my performance. You know, just keep executing the way I have been. That's going to be my challenge tomorrow. Going to look forward to that mindset."