Cut Line: Finishing touches for the season

By Rex HoggardOctober 11, 2013, 8:57 pm

Happy New Year. OK, Happy New Season. If it seems like Henrik Stenson was hoisting the FedEx Cup just a few days ago it is because, well it was. So before we turn the page to the new season, Cut Line would like to put the finishing touches on 2013.

Made Cut

Hall pass. In this case, no action is better than continued bad action.

The World Golf Hall of Fame announced this week it will forego an induction ceremony next May to go through a “strategic review” of the selection process and officials plan to even take a closer look at the timing and location of ceremony.

The overhaul follows months of second-guessing over an antiquated selection criteria that saw both Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els inducted before they added to their major championship resume at the last two Open Championships.

For starters, let’s hope the Hall raises the minimum age for induction from 40 years old to something closer to true retirement – let’s say 55. There is also the hole in the system that allows an induction even if no one receives 65 percent of the vote provided that person gets at least 50 percent of the vote.

This is not the Hall of Pretty Good. If no one gets the required number of votes, so be it. Watering down the Hall just for the sake of having a ceremony isn’t helping anyone.

Oh, captain. Neither the last putt nor the last raindrop had fallen in Dublin, Ohio, last week when the chorus had already started to name Fred Couples a Ryder Cup captain.

After three successful turns as a Presidents Cup captain the lobbying was already underway for Boom Boom to have the job in 2016 at Hazeltine National and even Couples seemed open to the idea, telling Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte he would like to captain a Ryder Cup team or even a Junior Ryder Cup squad.

The PGA of America showed a healthy dose of gumption when it named Tom Watson next year’s captain. Let’s hope that outside-the-box vibe lasts long enough to earn Couples his turn at the helm.

As for who will be named the U.S. Presidents Cup captain for 2015, some have suggested Davis Love III, one of Couples’ assistants at Muirfield Village, but the veteran seems more interested in playing for the American side in Korea.

“Freddie asked me if I was ready (to captain),” Love laughed late Sunday. “I’d love to do it, but I would love to do it down the road.”

Mr. Haas, Mr. Jay Haas. You have a call on Line 1.


Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Missing the point(s). Another anticlimactic Sunday, another lopsided loss for the Internationals and another round of handwringing over the PGA Tour’s reluctance to reduce the total number of points at the Presidents Cup and, in theory, make the matches meaningful.

Had Tour commissioner Tim Finchem listened to International captain Nick Price, Greg Norman and Ernie Els, this year’s muddy mess at Muirfield Village may not have been another blowout (18 ½ to 15 ½).

“If you took out one team match per (team) session imagine how good this would have been,” said one International caddie on Sunday at Muirfield Village in reference to his side’s 7 ½-point advantage in singles play.

Instead, the United States improved to 8-1-1 in the biennial blowout with little hope things will turn in time for the 2015 matches in Korea.

As an aside, if the PGA of America is interested in making next year’s Ryder Cup more competitive (Europe has won seven of the last nine matches) may we suggest playing six team matches each session. It couldn’t hurt.


Tweet of the week

The Tour is off to a good start in 2013-14, giving the inaugural Courage Award to professional golf’s Mr. Courage after Compton, the two-time heart transplant recipient, retained his Tour card this year.

But we are still not sure why the Tour had to trade the Comeback Award for the new Courage trophy. It seems like 2013 would have been a good year for comebacks. #HenrikStenson #BooWeekley


Missed Cut

A flawed finals. The 2013-14 Tour season is barely underway and already the circuit’s new qualifying system is being nitpicked and prodded.

At issue is how some of the Web.com Tour’s regular season money winners – the top 25 on the money list were assured Tour cards, but their status heading into the new season depended on how they performed in the four-event Finals – now find themselves in a difficult position.

The last 11 players from the Web.com Tour Finals category failed to get into this week’s Frys.com Open, and the field next week in Las Vegas looks similarly restricted for these players.

Consider Kevin Tway, who finished eighth in regular-season earnings on the secondary circuit, but he struggled in the Finals and is 46th out of 50 in the category and only got into the Frys.com Open on a sponsor exemption.

Nor does it help that the fall events have 132-player fields, instead of 144. At this rate players toward the tail end of the Web.com Finals category will likely only get one or two starts before the first reshuffle at the end of the fall.

“I think it’s just a terrible mistake (by the PGA Tour),” Alex Aragon told GolfChannel.com. “The way it works, people say, ‘Oh, you have your Tour card.’ It doesn’t work that way.”

Funny, Cut Line attended the Web.com Tour Finals closing ceremony and didn’t hear any mention of a Tour card light.

American Junior Golf Association

Junior golfer's amazing run: ace, albatross, birdie

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 11:03 pm

While most of the golf world had its attention focused on Scotland and The Open Championship at Carnoustie on Thursday, the REALLY remarkable performance of the day was taking place in Halifax, Mass.

There, in an American Junior Golf Association tournament, a 16-year-old Thai player made a hole-in-one and an albatross on consecutive holes.

According to the AJGA, Conor Kelly holed a 5-iron shot on the 198-yard, par-3 eighth hole. It was his first hole-in-one. He then holed a 4-iron second shot from 220 yards on the 480-yard ninth holer for the albatross. (We're gonna go out on a limb and say it was his first albatross.)

Certainly a nice way to make the turn - but Kelly wasn't finished. He birdied the par-4 10th for a 1-2-3 sequence on his scorecard. For the day, he shot a 5-under 67 in the AJGA Junior Golf Hub Championship at the Country Club of Halifax.

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McIlroy, Rahm betting co-favorites after Open Round 1

By Will GrayJuly 19, 2018, 10:10 pm

They're both three shots off the lead, but after starting The Open with rounds in the 60s Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm are now betting co-favorites to lift the claret jug at Carnoustie.

McIlroy is four years removed from his Open triumph at Royal Liverpool, while Rahm remains in search of his first major title. Both carded rounds of 2-under 69 in Scotland to sit three shots off the lead of Kevin Kisner. While McIlroy started the tournament at 16/1 and Rahm at 20/1, they're now dead even at 10/1 in updated odds at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.

Kisner started the week at 200/1, but after an opening-round 66 he's quickly been trimmed to 25/1. Tony Finau sits one shot behind Kisner and is now listed behind only McIlroy and Rahm at 12/1 after starting the tournament at 60/1.

On the other side of the coin, consensus pre-tournament betting favorite Dustin Johnson fell from 12/1 to 100/1 following an opening 76 while Masters champ Patrick Reed shot a 4-over 75 to plummet from 30/1 to 200/1. Trailing by five shots following an opening-round 71, Tiger Woods' odds remained unchanged at 25/1 as he seeks a 15th career major title.

Here's a look at the revised betting odds heading into the second round at Carnoustie:

10/1: Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm

12/1: Tony Finau

14/1: Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler

20/1: Francesco Molinari

25/1: Tiger Woods, Alex Noren, Henrik Stenson, Kevin Kisner

30/1: Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka

40/1: Ryan Moore, Jason Day

50/1: Erik Van Rooyen, Brandon Stone, Matt Kuchar

60/1: Danny Willett, Thomas Pieters, Marc Leishman, Thorbjorn Olesen, Russell Henley, Matthew Southgate

80/1: Webb Simpson, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Brendan Steele, Kevin Na

100/1: Dustin Johnson, Zander Lombard, Sung Kang, Paul Casey, Louis Oosthuizen, Xander Schauffele, Chris Wood, Pat Perez, Luke List, Charley Hoffman

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Despite 78, Lincicome savors PGA Tour experience

By Randall MellJuly 19, 2018, 9:41 pm

Two bad holes derailed Brittany Lincicome in her historic start Thursday at the Barbasol Championship, but they couldn’t wipe the smile off her face afterward.

It might have been the most fun she ever had shooting a 78.

Lincicome joined Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie as the only women to tee it up in a PGA Tour event when she striped her opening tee shot down the middle Thursday at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.

A double bogey at her ninth hole and a triple at her 16th might have spoiled her chances at joining Zaharias as the only women to make a 36-hole cut in a PGA Tour event, but it didn’t spoil her experience.

“I did what I wanted to do, with having fun,” Lincicome said. “I think I nailed that part pretty well.

“I love playing with the guys. It's so much fun, being inside the ropes with them. Hopefully, I can get a good one tomorrow.”

Lincicome, 32, held her own for 16 holes, playing them in 1 over par, but those two big numbers left her tied for last place when she signed her scorecard, though other players remained on the course.

At 6 over, Lincicome is 13 shots behind the leader, probably seven or eight shots off the projected cut line, but she savored the experience. She arrived wanting to inspire young girls to dream big, and to bring some extra attention to a title sponsor who means so much to her. She represents Pure Silk, part of the Barbasol family.

Sam Ryder, who joined Conrad Shindler playing alongside Lincicome, was impressed with the way Lincicome carried herself.

“I would play with her every day if she wanted to,” said Ryder, who opened with a 68. “She's just a great person.



“Even though I know she's probably a little disappointed with her final score, she had a smile on her face all day.”

Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, made her first birdie at her 12th hole, dropping a 30-foot putt, but she wasn’t happy with her putter much of the day. She missed three other good birdie chances, a 4-footer at her eighth hole, an 8-footer at her 10th and a 12-footer at the last.

“Pretty happy with my game overall,” Lincicome said. “I had two bad holes, but I drove it well. I did all the things I said I needed to do, but my putter let me down today.”

After piping her first drive, Lincicome opened with three consecutive pars.

“I was actually calmer than I thought I was going to be,” she said. “I thought I was going to be a nervous wreck. After the first tee shot, I was pretty happy that I found the fairway.”

Lincicome said Ryder and Shindler made her feel welcome. So did the crowds.

“It was great,” she said. “I could feel the energy of the crowd support me. Every time I hit a good driver or good shot, they would cheer for me, which was great.

“Conrad and Sam were so nice. I couldn't have asked for a better pairing. They were very welcoming, and we were interacting, they were asking me questions, and it was great.”

On Tuesday, Lincicome said a key to her play would be hitting fairways. She did that, hitting 10 of 14, but she was taking in longer clubs than she does in LPGA events, with Keene Trace set up at 7,168 yards. That’s 600 yards longer than she played last week at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic, where she finished second. She hit just 8 greens in regulation in this PGA Tour start.

Lincicome is nicknamed “Bam Bam.” She is one of the LPGA’s longest drivers, but she was typically 30 to 40 yards behind Ryder and Shindler after hitting her driver. She averaged 259 yards per drive, Ryder 289 yards.

“She had a couple birdie putts that she could have made,” Ryder said. “If she made a couple of those, might've been a little bit different, just to get a little bit of momentum. Who knows?”

Lincicome’s biggest challenges were the par 3s.

At the 18th, playing 195 yards, she mis-hit her tee shot, knocking it in the water, short of the green. She took a penalty, moved up to a forward tee, dropped and hit into a right greenside bunker. She got up and down from there for a 5.

At the seventh, playing 198 yards, she missed wild right and deep. From a tough spot in the rough, she left her pitch short of the green. She chipped her third past the hole and to the fringe, where she took three putts from 20 feet.

Afterward, Lincicome wasn’t dwelling on the bad shots. She was focused on going to sign autographs for all the fans waiting for her, including all the little girls who came out to see her.

“I need to go back over there and sign,” she said. “Any time I can influence a child, especially a girl, obviously I want to get them involved with the LPGA, as much as possible.”

Her overall assessment of her day?

“It was a great experience,” she said.

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Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 8:55 pm

NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.