Cut Line: Fine line between confidence, cockiness and conceit

By Rex HoggardMarch 14, 2014, 3:34 pm

Made Cut

Innisbrook reinvigorated. About six months ago the Tour’s annual Tampa Bay-area stop was beyond life support. The event had already been played one year (2013) without a title sponsor, and a potential new sponsor had reportedly backed out at the last minute.

Out of time and options, the Tour turned to Pro Links Sports and Hollis Cavner, who manages a handful of Champions Tour events. The result was a four-year deal with Valspar to keep one the circuit’s most-liked courses in the fold.

The deal, however, goes well beyond a large check and some spots in the Wednesday pro-am. Cavner told Cut Line this week the key to keeping Innisbrook off the chopping block in the future is to engage the community throughout the year and make the Valspar Championship a can’t-miss event, like stops in Scottsdale, Hartford and beyond.

Give Cavner and Valspar credit for stepping in to save the event, but the real accomplishment is a new vision for an old staple.

Tough love. Some pep talks are better than others. Consider Gary Woodland’s recent exchange with Kansas basketball coach Bill Self.

Woodland, who played Division II basketball before transferring to Kansas to focus on golf, left last month’s WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship and stopped at his alma mater on his way back to Orlando.

At a post-game gathering, Self overheard Woodland telling someone how disappointing it was that he blew a 3-up lead in his first-round match against Graeme McDowell at Dove Mountain.

“He pulled me to the side and really got in my face,” Woodland said. “He told me that great players fail all the time. The important thing was to move on and learn from it.”

And what did Woodland make of the impromptu pep talk? “I couldn’t say anything. When coach speaks people listen,” he said.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

St. Patrick. Maybe three PGA Tour victories in 14 starts does strange things to one’s psyche. Maybe we expect too much from a 23 year old suddenly thrust into the spotlight.

Either way, Patrick Reed’s comments following his victory at last week’s WGC-Cadillac Championship rubbed many – including some of his Tour frat brothers – the wrong way.

“I’ve worked so hard. I’ve won a lot in my junior career, did great things in my amateur career, was 6-0 in match play at NCAAs, won NCAAs two years in a row, was third individually one year.

Now I have three wins out here on the PGA Tour,” Reed said. “I just don’t see a lot of guys that have done that, besides for Tiger Woods, of course, and all of the other legends of the game.”

Confidence is a crucial part of any Tour player’s DNA, and it’s impossible to pick apart Reed’s game considering his run of late. It seems the only tool he is missing on his quest to become a top-5 player is a filter.

Tweet of the week: @JohnPetersonLSU “I love Patrick Reed’s interview. Dude speaks how he feels. People today could not have handled Muhammad Ali.”

Trump-ed. Love ‘em, hate ‘em, you have to admire Donald Trump’s passion.

The Donald’s desire to build the hardest track on Tour didn’t sit well with some – in Trump’s defense the combination of vicious winds on Friday and a tougher-than-expected setup contributed to last week’s high scores as much as Gil Hanse’s redesign of the Blue Monster – but never doubt the man’s commitment.

According to Trump, he’s invested some $200 million into giving Doral a much-needed facelift and that’s good for golf. Just ask him.

“It could be the most difficult course on Tour if they wanted to set it up that way,” Trump boasted.

During a reception last Wednesday, Trump filled the room with his unique brand of rhetoric and hyperbole and the thought occurred, for better or worse, they don’t build them like The Donald anymore.

Missed Cut

Show up, keep up and ... well, you know. If the World Golf Hall of Fame ever opens its doors to caddies, and it should, Steve Williams would be a first-ballot inductee.

Still, Williams’ assessment last week that he and former boss Tiger Woods have not “buried the hatchet” is another example of misguided self-importance.

“I haven’t sorted anything out with him,” Williams told Australia's Fox Sports. “There’s been a lot of ... this, that and the other ... but the hatchet hasn’t been buried.”

The Woods-Williams split was not pain free, most divorces aren't, and perhaps the New Zealander has come by his estrangement honestly, but it just seems the legendary looper has missed a perfect chance to take a trip down the high road.

Late Wednesday at Innisbrook during an extended conversation with one Tour caddie, Cut Line was reminded by the bagman not to quote him. Caddies, he explained, shouldn’t be quoted because it is the player, after all, who should be the focus.

Smart lad.

Getty Images

Woods: New putter should help on slower greens

By Ryan LavnerJuly 17, 2018, 11:35 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods’ ice-cold putting showed at least a few signs of heating up earlier this month at The National, where he switched putters and ranked seventh in the field on the greens.

The mallet-style putter is still in the bag as Woods prepares for The Open, and he’s hoping the heavier model with grooves will prove valuable at Carnoustie.

Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“To be honest with you, I’ve struggled on slower greens throughout my entire career,” Woods said Tuesday. “So for me, it’s going to help on these greens, for sure.”

To combat the slower greens, Woods usually applied a strip of lead tape to his putter. But this heavier model of putter doesn’t need the extra weight, and the grooves on the putter face allow the ball to get rolling faster and hotter.

“You don’t necessarily have to do that with the grooves,” he said of the lead tape. “When I putted with the Nike putter, I didn’t have to put lead tape on the putter to get a little more weight to it. I could just leave it just the way it was. This is the same type.”  

For all of the talk about his putting woes this season, Woods still ranks 56th in strokes gained: putting. More crucial this week: He’s 102nd in approach putt performance, which quantifies how well a player lag putts.

Getty Images

Woods: Open best chance for long-term major success

By Ryan LavnerJuly 17, 2018, 11:26 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods is more than a decade removed from his last major title, but he said Tuesday that The Open is the major that gives him the best chance for long-term success.

“I would say yes, because of the fact that you don’t have to be long to play on a links-style golf course,” Woods said during his pre-tournament news conference. “It certainly can be done.”

Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Woods pointed to the late-career success for both Greg Norman (2008) and Tom Watson (2009), both of whom challenged for the claret jug deep into their 50s.

“Distance becomes a moot point on a links-style golf course,” he said.

That’s certainly not the case, however, at the Masters, where bombers long have thrived, or the U.S. Open, which places a premium on long and straight driving.

“You get to places like Augusta National, which is just a big ballpark, and the golf course outgrows you, unfortunately,” he said. “But links-style courses, you can roll the ball. I hit a 3-iron that went down there 330. Even if I get a little bit older, I can still chase some wood or long club down there and hit the ball the same distance.”

Getty Images

"Vantage Point with Mike Tirico" set to debut Tuesday, July 17 at 9 p.m. ET on Golf Channel

By Golf Channel Public RelationsJuly 17, 2018, 10:15 am

Special Hour Complementing the Network’s Week-Long Golf Central Live From The Open News Coverage; Premiere Scheduled to Include Interview with 2014 Open Runner-Up Rickie Fowler On-Site from Carnoustie

Features Include Tirico and Curtis Strange Re-watching ’99 Open at Carnoustie & Jim “Bones” Mackay Facilitating Exclusive Conversation with Caddies Michael Greller, John Wood Recounting Final Round Pairing at 2017 Open

To help set the table ahead of The 147TH Open at Carnoustie, Golf Channel will premiere Vantage Point with Mike Tirico on Tuesday, July 17 at 9 p.m. ET. An extension of the network’s week-long Golf Central Live From The Open comprehensive news coverage, Vantage Point will revisit landmark moments in The Open’s history, uncover personal stories relevant to the fabric of the week and feature a roundtable discussion with past “Champion Golfers of the Year” on golf’s original championship.

“It’s a thrill to be going back to The Open again this year, which is a fitting setting to launch this new opportunity,” said Tirico, NBC Sports host who this week will celebrate his 22nd consecutive year covering The Open. “I love being a part of the Golf Channel team during golf’s biggest weeks, and anticipate contributing to our commitment to great storytelling with Vantage Point.”

Kicking off the premiere of Vantage Point will be Tirico’s exclusive interview with 2014 Open runner-up and 2015 PLAYERS champion Rickie Fowler on-site from Carnoustie. One of Fowler’s favorite events, he has missed just one cut in eight previous appearances at The Open. Other highlights within the show include:

  • Jim “Bones” Mackay facilitating an exclusive conversation between caddies Michael Greller (Jordan Spieth) and John Wood (Matt Kuchar) recounting the final round pairing at The Open last July.
  • Tirico hosting a roundtable discussion with past “Champion Golfers of the Year”: David Duval, Tom Lehman and Justin Leonard.
  • A recollection of one of the most unforgettable collapses in major championship golf, when Jean van de Velde surrendered a three-shot lead on the 72nd hole in 1999 at The Open. Tirico and Curtis Strange – both on the live tournament broadcast that year for ABC/ESPN – recently re-watched the telecast together for the first time since calling it live.


“This is harder to watch than I thought it was going to be. I’ve never seen anything like

that in my life. I don’t think we’ll ever see anything like that again.” – Curtis Strange


“I think I got caught up in the whole deal and felt human for the guy.” – Mike Tirico


Vantage Point with Mike Tirico will complement the network’s Golf Central Live From The Open, which will feature nearly 60 hours of comprehensive news coverage from Carnoustie. In total, NBC Sports will dedicate more than 350 hours to showcasing the third men’s major championship of the year, including nearly 50 live hours of the network’s Emmy-nominated tournament coverage – annually the most live hours of coverage from any golf event – spanning from Thursday’s opening tee shot to Sunday’s final putt.

Getty Images

How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 17, 2018, 8:40 am

You want to watch the 147th Open? Here’s how you can do it.

Golf Channel and NBC Sports will be televising 182 hours of overall programming from the men's third major of the year at Carnoustie

In addition to the traditional coverage, the two networks will showcase three live alternate feeds: marquee groups, featured holes (our new 3-hole channel) and spotlight action. You can also watch replays of full-day coverage, Thursday-Sunday, in the Golf Channel app, NBC Sports apps, and on  

Here’s the weekly TV schedule, with live stream links in parentheses. You can view all the action on the Golf Channel mobile, as well. Alternate coverage is noted in italics:

(All times Eastern; GC=Golf Channel; NBC=NBC Sports; or check the GLE app)

Monday, July 16

GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (

GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (

GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (

Tuesday, July 17

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

Wednesday, July 18

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

Thursday, July 19

GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (

GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

Friday, July 20

GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

Saturday, July 21

GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (

Sunday, July 22

GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM ( Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (