Cut Line Family Over Fame

By Rex HoggardApril 23, 2010, 9:40 pm

Surprisingly busy week for those who carry notebooks for a living. Lorena Ochoa made 28 the new 58 when she dropped her retirement bombshell, Tiger Woods gave officials from Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., to Philadelphia a reason to exhale, and Brian Davis made us wonder how many PGA Tour rules officials it takes to state the obvious – add two and play away.

Made Cut

Lorena Ochoa. The game’s loss is Ochoa’s gain. We’ve heard it a lot this year, but one of the game’s most endearing champions went where few others have gone and put family first.

“This is a very special day, full of happiness,” Ochoa said on Friday. “There are so many things that I will miss and this has not been an easy decision to make. But this is my moment and I dreamed of it this way.”

Bobby Jones did it. So did Byron Nelson. As great as Ochoa’ playing career was it seems she’s destined to do greater things off the golf course.

Heritage/PGA Tour. Contrary to commonly held notions, the Monday after a PGA Tour event is far from a vacation day for tournament directors.

“I dread the week after,” Heritage tournament director Steve Wilmot said this week. “No cameras, no fans, no players. Now it’s work. A lot of work.”

The good news for Wilmot & Co. is that much of the heavy lifting was done by players last week, at least as it applies to Harbour Town’s precarious sponsorship situation. Wilmot said he plans to meet with the Tour soon and expects to finalize a deal that would assure the event is played in 2011 with or without a title sponsor.

Good news for a cocktail party that had a “last call” feel to it.

AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Apologies if you’ve heard this one: Lee Westwood once mused that the Old Course at St. Andrews wasn’t among his top 50 favorite haunts. When asked, “In Scotland?” Westwood replied, “No, in Fife (the county-sized area around St. Andrews).”

Point is, landing consensus support for a golf course among Tour types is a statistical anomaly, like holes in one and the FedEx Cup points system. All of which makes last week’s announcement that the folks at Pebble Beach re-upped Monterey Peninsula’s Shore Course to the AT&T rota for four more years a victory of reason.

Now, if organizers want to completely blow the curve, may we suggest trading in Spyglass Hill for a return to Cypress Point.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Christina Kim. Hard not to enjoy the game’s single-handed cure for chronic fatigue syndrome, but we were taken back by the title of Kim’s new book, “Swing from My Heels: Confessions of an LPGA Star.”

An LPGA star? Really? Kim is a “Rocky Road” player in a largely “vanilla” game, but two victories, no majors and two emotional Solheim Cups is not a resume that supports star status. Famed golf writer Dan Jenkins said it best a few years ago, round up a six-pack of majors and then come see me.

Tiger Woods. The world No. 1 continues to break from his routine, announcing this week he will play the Players Championship and AT&T National weeks before the deadline.

It is curious, particularly after the clinic he put on last year at Muirfield Village, that he did not throw the Memorial onto his “to do” list. While he’s at it, how about throwing a random Zurich Classic or Travelers Championship into the mix?

Both events could use the marquee and, let’s be honest, Woods could use the karma.

Brian Davis. The Englishman’s yellow flag on the first extra hole last week at Harbour Town was refreshing, particularly considering the moral flexibility that has consumed other sports, but golf is not other sports.

Davis’ own surprised reaction to his newfound celebrity was the most telling sign. Yes, he did the right thing, but what was the alternative? Michelle Wie?

Good for Davis, but “Cut Line” was more impressed with his 18 footer for birdie at the 72nd hole to tie Jim Furyk moments before his rules gaffe. One showed guts, the other a basic understanding of right and wrong.

Missed Cut

PGA Tour. Players, officials and television executives met last week in Harbour Town to brainstorm ways to punch up the on-air product, a productive meeting by all accounts.

All of which makes “Cut Line” wonder how much ill will and column inches could have been saved if the Tour had taken time, or taken the issue seriously, for a similar meeting before enacting the new groove policy this year.

“What if (Acushnet CEO Wally) Uihlein, (U.S. Golf Association senior technical director Dick) Rugge and (Ping CEO John) Solheim would have sat and talked with the (Player Advisory Council)? Imagine how much more productive that would have been,” said PAC member Steve Flesch.

Tweet of the Week: @PGA_JohnDaly: “Got a answer from Quail Hollow – that would be a no I won’t be playin there for those that been askin. No one givin me exemption spot.”

Just a thought, but “Cut Line” has always subscribed to the theory that golf was about earnin’, not being givin’.

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Winning on Kerr's mind this week and beyond

By Randall MellMarch 24, 2018, 2:11 am

Cristie Kerr moved into position Friday to do more than win the 21st LPGA title of her career.

She moved into position to claim an LPGA Hall of Fame point this week.

Yes, winning is foremost on her mind at the Kia Classic, where she took the lead with an 8-under-par 64 in the second round, she’s on a larger quest, too.

After turning 40 last fall, Kerr was asked what her goals are.

“The Hall of Fame is attainable, if I stick with it,” she said.

Kerr is five shots ahead of Lizette Salas (67), In-Kyung Kim (69), Hee Young Park (70) and Caroline Hedwall (70).

It’s a good time for Kerr to get on a hot streak, with the year’s first major championship, the ANA Inspiration, next week. She has long been one of the best putters in the women’s game, but her ball-striking is impressive this week. She hit 17 greens in regulation Thursday, and she hit 16 on Friday.

“I like winning,” Kerr said. “I like challenging myself. Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older, with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, `Man, why does my hamstring hurt?’ From working around this hilly golf course.”

Kerr acknowledged Friday that her body is more vulnerable to time’s realities, but her mind isn’t.

Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

“The golf ball doesn't know an age,” Kerr said. “I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.”

Kerr won two weeks after her 40th birthday last fall, boosting her LPGA Hall of Fame point total to 22. She is five points short of eligibility for induction. A player earns one point for an LPGA victory and two points for a major championship title. So there’s a lot of Hall of Fame ground to gain this week and next.

It’s a long-term goal that motivates Kerr to take care of her body.

“I don't think the golf changes,” Kerr said. “I think, physically, it gets harder as you get older. Like I said, I've got tape on my hamstring. I strained it, just a little bit yesterday, walking around this golf course. It's tough as you get older, just being fresh and rested. I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.”

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Big names chasing Kerr into the weekend at Kia Classic

By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 1:55 am

CARLSBAD, Calif. - Cristie Kerr shot an 8-under 64 on Friday in the Kia Classic to take a five-stroke lead into the weekend.

The 40-year-old Kerr had eight birdies in her second straight bogey-free round to reach 13-under 131 at rain-softened Aviara.

''I like winning. I like challenging myself,'' Kerr said. ''Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, 'Man, why does my hamstring hurt?' From working around this hilly golf course. The golf ball doesn't know an age. I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.''

She has 20 LPGA victories, winning at Aviara in 2015. She won twice last year and helped the U.S. beat Europe in her ninth Solheim Cup appearance.

''It's tough as you get older just being fresh and rested,'' Kerr said. ''I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.''

Lizette Salas, In-Kyung Kim, Hee Young Park and Caroline Hedwall were tied for second. Salas shot 67, Kim 69, and Park and Hedwall 70.

''I really like this golf course. I really like the environment,'' said Salas, the former University of Southern California player from Azusa. ''My family gets to come out. So much confidence at the beginning of the week, and definitely showed the first two days.

Jeong Eun Lee was 7 under after a 69, and defending ANA champion So Yeon Ryu had a 70 to get to 6 under.

Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

Ariya Jutanugarn (72), Brooke Henderson (70) and 2016 winner Lydia Ko (71) were 5 under. Shanshan Feng (68) was another stroke back, and Singapore winner Michelle Wie (72) was 1 under.

Lexi Thompson was 2 over after a 74, making the cut on the number in the final event before the major ANA Inspiration next week at Mission Hills.

Kerr opened with birdies on the par-5 10th and par-3 11th, added birdies on the par-4 16th, 18th and second, and ran off three in a row on the par-3 sixth, par-4 seventh and par-5 eighth.

''I don't think you can fall asleep on one shot,'' Kerr said. ''It's a really good golf course. I think I play better on courses that demand the focus, so I think that's why I've played well here in the past. ... I'm trying not to put limits on myself right now. I've got some good things going on with my swing.''

She has long been one best putters and green-readers in the world.

''I can see the subtleties that a lot of people can't,'' Kerr said. ''It's a gift from God being able to do that. I've always had that, so I'm lucky.''

Laura Davies withdrew after an opening 82. The 54-year-old Davies tied for second last week in the Founders Cup in Phoenix, playing through painful left Achilles and calf problems.

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DJ hits 489-yard drive, but it doesn't count for history

By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 12:22 am

AUSTIN, Texas – Dustin Johnson is no stranger to big drives, but even for DJ this one was impressive.

Trailing in his Day 3 match at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Johnson launched a drive at the par-5 12th hole that traveled 489 yards, but that number comes with an asterisk.

“He got lucky it hit the road,” smiled Kevin Kisner, who was leading the world No. 1, 3 up, at the time. “I thought he would make an eagle for sure, he only had 80 yards [to the hole]. He didn’t hit a very good putt.”

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

Johnson’s drive, which was 139 yards past Kisner’s tee shot, is the longest recorded on the PGA Tour in the ShotLink era, surpassing Davis Love III’s drive of 476 yards in 2004 at the Tournament of Champions.

The drive will not go into the record books, however, because the Tour doesn’t count statistics from the Match Play.

It should also be noted, Kisner halved the 12th hole with a birdie and won the match, 4 and 3, to advance to the round of 16.

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Durant leads Champions event in Mississippi

By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 12:21 am

BILOXI, Miss. - Joe Durant had three straight birdies in a back-nine burst and a shot 6-under 66 on Friday to take the first-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions' Rapiscan Systems Classic.

Durant birdied the par-4 11th and 12th and par-5 13th in the bogey-free round at breezy and rain-softened Fallen Oak. Because of the wet conditions, players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairway.

''It just sets up nice to my eye,'' Durant said. ''It's a beautiful golf course and it's very challenging. The tee shots seem to set up well for me, but the greens are maybe as quick as I've ever seen them here. You really have to put the ball in the right spots. I played very nice today. With the wind swirling like it was, I'm really happy.''

He won the Chubb Classic last month in Naples, Florida, for his third victory on the 50-and-over tour.

Full-field scores from the Rapiscan Systems Classic

''Done this long enough, Friday's just one day,'' Durant said. ''Especially in a three-day tournament, you've got to go out and shoot three good numbers. Fortunate to put one on the board, but I know I have to back it up with a couple of good days because you can get passed very quickly out here.''

Mark Calcavecchia was a stroke back. He won last month in Boca Raton, Florida

''It's probably my best round I've ever had here and it was a tough day to play,'' Calcavecchia said. ''The greens are just lightning fast. They're pretty slopey greens, so very difficult to putt.''

Steve Stricker was third at 68. He took the Tucson, Arizona, event three weeks ago for his first senior victory.

''Just getting it around and managing my game I think like I always do,'' Stricker said. ''You get in the wrong position here with the greens being so fast and you're going to be in trouble. I did that a couple times today.''

Billy Mayfair, Billy Andrade and David McKenzie shot 69. Jerry Kelly, the winner of the season-opening event in Hawaii, was at 70 with Wes Short Jr., Glen Day, Gene Sauers and Jesper Parnevik.

Bernhard Langer opened with a 71, and two-time defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez had a 72.

Vijay Singh, coming off his first senior victory two weeks ago in Newport Beach, California, had a 73.