Cut Line Flip-Floppin

By Rex HoggardAugust 28, 2010, 3:43 am

With his divorce in the books Tiger Woods shows flashes of life on the golf course, Colin Montgomerie flops on his captain’s picks and the PGA Tour flips the spring schedule to round out a particularly hectic start the playoffs.

All golf seems to be missing these days is a wildcard game.

Made Cut

Tiger Woods. It’s far too early to claim the world No. 1 has his competitive groove back, although his opening 65 at Ridgewood Country Club was his best card of the year by any measure, but at least he was able to change the conversation.

Check Thursday’s transcript from The Barclays, of the 36 questions Woods was peppered with, all but one were about his game, of all things. He also took a big step toward qualifying for next week’s event in Boston, which is good for everyone.

But it was the strangely forthright way in which he handled Wednesday’s questions regarding his recently completed divorce that was most impressive.

“My actions certainly led us to this decision. And I've certainly made a lot of errors in my life and that's something I'm going to have to live with,” he said.

Chambers Bay. Despite reports of over-baked greens and winds that looked straight off the North Sea on Thursday, the Pacific Northwest muni is putting on a show at this week’s U.S. Amateur.

Some 700 yards were clipped from the 3-year-old layout for the match-play portion of the championship, exactly the type of flexibility that the U.S. Golf Association savors in its new venues, and the hard, fast conditions will be a welcome respite from the steady diet of over-fertilized U.S. Open courses when the national championship is played at Chambers Bay in 2015.

It’s taken the New World a few centuries to grasp this, but brown is finally the new green.

Tweet of the Week: PaulAzinger “Hey, @ianjamespoulter (Ian Poulter) is it too late to ask a question? I was busy polishing this (the Ryder Cup trophy).”

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

PGA Tour’s pro-am policy. A faulty alarm hasn’t caused this much of a stir since Jean Paul, the Trinidad and Tobago marathon runner who slept through Jerry Seinfeld’s collection of alarm clocks, and perhaps the most difficult part of Jim Furyk’s disqualification for showing up late to his Barclays pro-am is that he is the consummate professional.

By almost all accounts, the punishment doesn’t fit the crime, but that only trivializes the need for the rule. Protecting sponsors is more important now than ever, but it seems Barclays got it coming (with a top player missing a pro-am) and going (said top player is now missing the tournament proper).

Can’t say there’s an easy answer, but Joe Ogilvie had an interesting take.

“I was on the Policy Board when we made the DQ pro-am rule, a mistake,” Tweeted Ogilvie. “(A) missed pro-am should be a day with sponsor on players’ dime, no DQ.”

Add commissioner Tim Finchem to the pro-am “make good,” and now we’re really talking crime and punishment.

FedEx Cup Playoffs. Four years in and the Tour still doesn’t seem to have this postseason thing right.

Missing from this week’s playoff opener are Graeme McDowell, Louis Oosthuizen, Martin Kaymer and (the most recent Tour winner) Arjun Atwal. You don’t hold a World Series without the ALCS champion and you don’t have a “playoff” event without three of the four major champions.

Atwal is the most glaring omission, having started the season with Tour status and getting bumped on a technicality, proving for the umpteenth time that there are too many lawyers in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

Missed Cut

Heartache in Hilton Head. The Tour’s spring shuffle is complete, although the reason behind the musical chairs remains a mystery. In short, the Texas Open jumped into the Heritage’s long-held post-Masters date and everyone else moved back a spot and lost a turn, or something like that.

According to Tour chief of operations Rick George the move is a one-off, with order expected to return in 2012, but if the shuffling was intended to help boost the field in Texas, one of the circuit’s most successful events on the charity front, it seems counterintuitive.

“It’s going to kill their field,” said one veteran player. “It’s so easy to go from Augusta to Hilton Head. Going all the way to San Antonio, stupidity. Then have Colonial right after The Players and Charlotte. Another field killer.”

And what of the “Texas Swing,” which grouped the San Antonio stop, Colonial and the Byron Nelson together this year? The Tour may be in Texas the week after the Masters, but its heart will remain in Hilton Head.

Colin Montgomerie. The problem with chest pounding is always the follow up. Just over two months ago the Scot warned that it was “a given” that any European with hopes of landing a captain’s pick would be at this week’s Johnnie Walker Championship, a not-so-gentle hint that attendance at Gleneagles was mandatory.

This week Monty flopped, conceding that Padraig Harrington, Paul Casey, Luke Donald and Justin Rose were still on his radar despite the fact the foursome is playing this week’s first playoff event in New Jersey.

“I could pick three who aren’t here, I suppose,” Monty allowed. “Having qualified for the FedEx (Cup) series, as long as they are playing competitive golf then I’m quite happy.”

In a related item, Corey Pavin said Anthony Kim’s absence from a team BBQ at the PGA Championship was excused. As a “make good” he and Furyk must host a dinner party for the cast of “Jersey Shore.”

Getty Images

Miller to retire from broadcast booth in 2019

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 15, 2018, 9:14 pm

After nearly 30 years in the broadcast booth, Johnny Miller is ready to hang up his microphone.

Following a Hall of Fame playing career that included a pair of major titles, Miller has become one of the most outspoken voices in the game as lead golf analyst for NBC Sports. But at age 71 he has decided to retire from broadcasting following the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open.

“The call of being there for my grandkids, to teach them how to fish. I felt it was a higher calling,” Miller told “The parents are trying to make a living, and grandparents can be there like my father was with my four boys. He was there every day for them. I'm a big believer that there is a time and a season for everything.”

Miller was named lead analyst for NBC in 1990, making his broadcast debut at what was then known as the Bob Hope Desert Classic. He still remained competitive, notably winning the 1994 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am at age 46, but made an indelible mark on the next generation of Tour pros with his frank and candid assessment of the action from some of golf’s biggest events.

Miller’s broadcasting career has included 20 U.S. Opens, 14 Ryder Cups, nine Presidents Cups, three Open Championships and the 2016 Olympics. While he has teamed in the booth with Dan Hicks for the past 20 years, Miller’s previous on-air partners included Bryant Gumbel, Charlie Jones, Jim Lampley and Dick Enberg.

His farewell event will be in Phoenix Jan. 31-Feb. 3, at a tournament he won in back-to-back years in 1974-75.

“When it comes to serving golf fans with sharp insight on what is happening inside the ropes, Johnny Miller is the gold standard,” said NBC lead golf producer Tommy Roy. “It has been an honor working with him, and while it might not be Johnny’s personal style, it will be fun to send him off at one of the PGA Tour’s best parties at TPC Scottsdale.”

Miller was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1998 after a playing career that included wins at the 1973 U.S. Open at Oakmont and The Open in 1976 at Royal Birkdale. Before turning pro, he won the 1964 U.S. Junior Amateur and was low amateur at the 1966 U.S. Open at Olympic, where he tied for eighth at age 19.

Born and raised in San Francisco, Miller now lives in Utah with his wife, Linda, and annually serves as tournament host of the PGA Tour’s Safeway Open in Napa, Calif.

Getty Images

Randall's Rant: Tiger vs. Phil feels like a ripoff

By Randall MellOctober 15, 2018, 7:45 pm

Usually, you have to buy something before you feel like you were ripped off.

The wonder in the marketing of Tiger vs. Phil and “The Match” is how it is making so many people feel as if they are getting ripped off before they’ve shelled out a single penny for the product.

Phil Mickelson gets credit for this miscue.

Apparently, the smartest guy in the room isn’t the smartest marketing guy.

He was a little bit like that telemarketer who teases you into thinking you’ve won a free weekend getaway, only to lead you into the discovery that there’s a shady catch, with fine print and a price tag.

There was something as slippery as snake oil in the original pitch.

In Mickelson’s eagerness to create some excitement, he hinted back during The Players in May about the possibility of a big-money, head-to-head match with Woods. A couple months later, he leaked more details, before it was ready to be fully announced.

So while there was an initial buzz over news of the Thanksgiving weekend matchup, the original pitch set up a real buzzkill when it was later announced that you were only going to get to see it live on pay-per-view.

The news landed with a thud but no price tag. We’re still waiting to see what it’s going to cost when these two meet at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, but anything that feels even slightly inflated now is going to further dampen the original enthusiasm Mickelson created.

Without Woods or Mickelson putting up their own money, this $9 million winner-take-all event was always going to feel more like a money grab than real competition.

When we were expecting to see it on network or cable TV, we didn’t care so much. Tiger's and Phil’s hands would have felt as if they were reaching into corporate America’s pockets. Now, it feels as if they’re digging into ours.

Last week, there was more disappointing news, with the Las Vegas Review-Journal reporting that tickets won’t be sold to the public, that the match at Shadow Creek will only be open to select sponsors and VIPs.

Now there’s a larger insult to the common fan, who can’t help but feel he isn’t worthy or important enough to gain admittance.

Sorry, but that’s how news of a closed gate landed on the heels of the pay-per-view news.

“The Match” was never going to be meaningful golf in any historical sense.

This matchup was never going to rekindle the magic Tiger vs. Phil brought in their epic Duel at Doral in ’05.

The $9 million was never going to buy the legitimacy a major championship or PGA Tour Sunday clash could bring.

It was never going to be more than an exhibition, with no lingering historical significance, but that was OK as quasi silly-season fare on TV on Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 23), the traditional weekend of the old Skins Game.

“The Match” still has a chance to be meaningful, but first and foremost as entertainment, not real competition. That’s what this was always going to be about, but now the bar is raised.

Pay per view does that.

“You get what you pay for” is an adage that doesn’t apply to free (or already-paid for) TV. It does to pay per view. Expectations go way up when you aren’t just channel surfing to a telecast. So the higher the price tag they end up putting on this showdown, the more entertaining this has to be.

If Phil brings his “A-Game” to his trash talking, and if Tiger can bring some clever repartee, this can still be fun. If the prerecorded segments wedged between shots are insightful, even meaningful in their ability to make us understand these players in ways we didn’t before, this will be worthwhile.

Ultimately, “The Match” is a success if it leaves folks who paid to see it feeling as if they weren’t as ripped off as the people who refused to pay for it. That’s the handicap a history of free golf on TV brings. Welcome to pay-per-view, Tiger and Phil.

Celia Barquin Arozamena Iowa State University athletics

Trial date set for drifter charged with killing Barquin Arozamena

By Associated PressOctober 15, 2018, 7:28 pm

AMES, Iowa – A judge has scheduled a January trial for a 22-year-old Iowa drifter charged with killing a top amateur golfer from Spain.

District Judge Bethany Currie ruled Monday that Collin Richards will stand trial Jan. 15 for first-degree murder in the death of Iowa State University student Celia Barquin Arozamena.

Richards entered a written not guilty plea Monday morning and waived his right to a speedy trial. The filing canceled an in-person arraignment hearing that had been scheduled for later Monday.

Investigators say Richards attacked Barquin on Sept. 17 while she was playing a round at a public course in Ames, near the university campus. Her body was found in a pond on the course riddled with stab wounds.

Richards faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.

LeBron's son tries golf, and he might be good at everything

By Grill Room TeamOctober 15, 2018, 5:36 pm

LeBron James' son seems well on his way to a successful basketball career of his own. To wit:

View this post on Instagram

Finally got it down lol

A post shared by Bronny James (@bronnyjames.jr) on

But with just a little work, he could pass on trying to surpass his father and try to take on Tiger and Jack, instead.

Bronny posted this video to Instagram of him in sandals whacking balls off a mat atop a deck into a large body of water, which is the golfer's definition of living your best life.

View this post on Instagram

How far, maybe 400 #happygilmore

A post shared by Bronny James (@bronnyjames.jr) on

If you listen closely, at the end of the clip, you can just barely hear someone scream out for a marine biologist.