Cut Line Golden Jack

By Rex HoggardJune 5, 2010, 2:42 am
DUBLIN, Ohio – Tiger Woods  will play the weekend at Muirfield Village, his slightly hyperbolic goal to start the week after playing his last two events MC-WD. Ditto for Phil Mickelson, who needs to win and hope Woods finishes no better than a three-way tie for third to ascend to No. 1 in the world.

As for the rest of the golf world, from bucket list moments (Kevin Streelman) to bucket-headed moves (Colin Montgomerie) time has run out.

Made Cut

Bucket lists. Kevin Streelman, a Midwesterner by birth and Jack Nicklaus fan by heritage, was mulling about the halfway house at Muirfield Village last Sunday after missing the cut at the Colonial when he spotted Nicklaus and his son, Jack II, coming up the ninth fairway.

After “soft stalking” Nicklaus at the turn, the Golden Bear asked Streelman to join him. What followed was a blur, as Streelman remembered the events and recounted them. The third-year Tour player birdied Nos. 10, 11 and 12, with no putt longer than 9 feet, added more birdies at the 15th and 16th holes and holed out from a greenside bunker for birdie at No. 17. A bogey at the closing hole left him at 5-under 31.

“Jack was just watching and said, ‘You beat me by nine (strokes). You’ve got to give me a shot a hole next time,’” Streelman smiled. “That’s about as cool as it can be.”

Jack Nicklaus. The Golden one invented the scrum, the free-for-all between players and media after the interview proper, and neither age nor competitive inactivity has dulled golf’s sharpest knife. All of which makes Nicklaus’ annual “State of the Golden Bear” at the Memorial a “can’t miss” for those who carry notebooks.

Among Tuesday’s highlights:

  • “I suppose that win in ’86 was a mistake. I suppose in many ways.” The “win,” of course, was his final Masters victory, among the greatest events in all of golf, if not sport.
  •  “I said firmly that (Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors) will be broken by Tiger [Woods]. If it is, it’s OK. I just want to be the first one there to shake his hand.”
  • “The press asked me what do you remember from that great (British) Open  in 1977? I said very simply, ‘I lost.’ I have a different phrase for the 1960 (U.S. Open). ‘I blew it.’”
  • “I was over in the Bahamas fishing during the Masters and we came in from fishing to watch the last nine holes. I thought that was a pretty big sacrifice for me.”
  • “Somewhere along the line the (U.S. Golf Association) and (Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews) need to figure out a plan, every other sport is played in three hours or less. Except maybe your five sets of tennis.”

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Designated tournaments. The jury is still out whether the proposed plan to woo top players to wanting events has legs, but most who attended Tuesday’s Player Advisory Council meeting at Muirfield Village agreed the Tour has a need for change and the proposed plan has potential.

The rub, however, is that players have to be mandated to do what’s best for the Tour as opposed to what they perceive is best for their games.

On this the independent contractors have a 3-up lead, while those who pay the contracts (tournaments) are left watching from the clubhouse.

Tweet of the week: @stewartcink “I can’t change the channel from ‘Antique Roadshow.’” Takes a big man to admit that.

Pace of play. One Tour caddie who began his looping career on the hallowed links at Pebble Beach heard that rounds at the seaside course are currently taking upwards of 5 ½ hours.

“Every 20 (handicap) is heading to the back tees,” the caddie sighed. “It’s brutal.”

The greatest meeting of air, sea and land may be an American masterpiece, but the folks at Pebble Beach should take a page from Tour rookie Rickie Fowler‘s book – hit it hard and walk fast.
Missed Cut

U.S. Golf Association. Karma clearly doesn’t have a vote on the USGA’s executive council. If she did Vijay Singh would be paying $500 for a tee time at Pebble Beach like the rest of us instead of riding a freebie exemption to the national championship.

To make matters worse, Singh had already decided he wouldn’t attempt 36-hole qualifying on Monday like every other Tour pro large and small.

“When I found out my tee time is 7:30 (a.m.), I said, ‘I’m not going to go and qualify,’” Singh said. “I was really debating it.”

If only the USGA would have debated it a tad longer.

Colin Montgomerie. Revelations this week of Monty’s off-course antics aside, the European Ryder Cup captain is adding more intrigue to this year’s biennial grudge match than Samuel A. Ryder could have ever imagined.

Prior to his Fleet Street revelations, Monty had stirred the Ryder Cup waters yet again, insinuating that a European on the bubble for a captain’s pick should play the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles in August.

“I’ll be very surprised if I pick any player on the border of the team whom I ask to play at Gleneagles and they don’t show up,” the Scot said. “I expect there will be about eight candidates for my three wild cards and it should be a given that they turn up at the final event.”

Forget “designated tournaments,” the Tour should strong-arm like Monty if they want guys to play more.
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Twitter spat turns into fundraising opportunity

By Rex HoggardMay 25, 2018, 6:30 pm

Country music star Jake Owen, along with Brandt Snedeker, has turned a spat on Twitter into a fundraising campaign that will support Snedeker’s foundation.

On Thursday, Owen was criticized during the opening round of the Tour’s Nashville Golf Open, which benefits the Snedeker Foundation, for his poor play after opening with an 86.

In response, Snedeker and country singer Chris Young pledged $5,000 for every birdie that Owen makes on Friday in a campaign called NGO Birdies for Kids

Although Owen, who is playing the event on a sponsor exemption, doesn’t tee off for Round 2 in Nashville until 2 p.m. (CT), the campaign has already generated interest, with NBC Sports/Golf Channel analyst Peter Jacobsen along with Tour player Zac Blair both pledging $100 for every birdie Owen makes.

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Noren so impressed by Rory: 'I'm about to quit golf'

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 5:33 pm

Alex Noren won the BMW PGA Championship last year, one of his nine career European Tour victories.

He opened his title defense at Wentworth Club in 68-69 and is tied for fourth through two rounds. Unfortunately, he's five back of leader Rory McIlroy. And after playing the first two days alongside McIlroy, Noren, currently ranked 19th in the world, doesn't seem to like his chances of back-to-back wins.

McIlroy opened in 67 and then shot a bogey-free 65 in second round, which included pars on the pair of par-5 finishing holes. Noren walked away left in awe.

"That's the best round I've ever seen," Noren said. "I'm about to quit golf, I think."

Check out the full interview below:

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Bubba gets to drive dream car: K.I.T.T. from 'Knight Rider'

By Grill Room TeamMay 25, 2018, 4:42 pm

Bubba Watson is a known car aficionado.

He purchased the original General Lee from the 1980’s TV show “Dukes of Hazzard” – later saying he was going to paint over the Confederate flag on the vehicle’s roof.

He also auctioned off his 1939 Cadillac LaSalle C-Hawk custom roadster and raised $410,000 for Birdies for the Brave.

He showed off images of his off-road Jeep two years ago.

And he even bought a car dealership near his hometown of Milton, Fla.

While recently appearing on the TV show “Jay Leno’s Garage,” the former “Tonight Show” host surprised Watson with another one of his dream cars: K.I.T.T.

The 1982 Pontiac Trans Am was made famous in the ‘80s action show “Knight Rider.”

Though, Bubba didn’t get to keep this one, he did get to drive it.

Bubba Watson gets behind the wheel of his dream car—the KITT from Knight Rider from CNBC.

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Cut Line: USGA readies for Shinnecock 'mulligan'

By Rex HoggardMay 25, 2018, 3:26 pm

In this week’s Memorial weekend edition, the European team adheres to the Ryder Cup secret formula, the USGA readies for the ultimate mulligan at next month’s U.S. Open and a bizarre finish at the Florida Mid-Am mystifies the Rules of Golf.

Made Cut

Cart golf. When the U.S. side announced the creation of a Ryder Cup task force following the American loss at Gleneagles in 2014, some Europeans privately – and publicly – snickered.

The idea that the secret sauce could be found in a meeting room did stretch the bounds of reason, yet two years later the U.S. team emerged as winners at Hazeltine National and suddenly the idea of a task force, which is now called a committee, didn’t seem so silly.

To Europe’s credit, they’ve always accomplished this cohesion organically, pulling together their collective knowledge with surprising ease, like this week when European captain Thomas Bjorn rounded out his vice captain crew.

Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Padraig Harrington and Luke Donald (a group that has a combined 47-40-13 record in the matches) were all given golf cart keys and will join Robert Karlsson as vice captains this year in Paris.

Perhaps it took the Americans a little longer to figure out, but Bjorn knows it’s continuity that wins Ryder Cups.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

The USGA’s mulligan. The U.S. Open is less than a month away and with it one of the most anticipated returns in recent major championship history.

The last time the national championship was played at Shinnecock Hills was in 2004 and things didn’t go well, particularly on Sunday when play had to be stopped to water some greens that officials deemed had become unplayable. This week USGA executive director Mike Davis was asked about the association’s last trip to the Hamptons and, to his credit, he didn’t attempt to reinvent history.

“Looking back at 2004, and at parts of that magnificent day with Retief (Goosen) and Phil Mickelson coming down to the end, there are parts that we learned from,” Davis said. “I’m happy we got a mulligan this time. We probably made a bogey last time, maybe a double bogey.”

Put another way, players headed to next month’s championship should look forward to what promises to be a Bounce Back Open.

Tweet of the week:

Homa joined a chorus of comments following Aaron Wise’s victory on Sunday at the AT&T Byron Nelson, which included an awkward moment when his girlfriend, Reagan Trussell, backed away as Wise was going in for a kiss.

“No hard feelings at all,” Wise clarified this week. “We love each other a ton and we're great. It was a funny moment that I think we'll always be able to look back at, but that's all it really was.”

Missed Cut

Strength of field. The European Tour gathers this week in England for the circuit’s flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship, and like the PGA Tour’s marquee stop, The Players, the event appears headed for a new spot on the calendar next year.

As the PGA Tour inches closer to announcing the 2018-19 schedule, which will feature countless new twists and turns including the PGA Championship’s move to May and The Players shift back to March, it also seems likely the makeover will impact the European Tour schedule.

Although the BMW PGA currently draws a solid field, with this week’s event sporting a higher strength of field than the Fort Worth Invitational on the PGA Tour, it’s likely officials won’t want to play the event a week after the PGA Championship (which is scheduled for May 16-19 next year).

In fact, it’s been rumored that the European Tour could move all eight of its Rolex Series events, which are billed as “unmissable sporting occasions,” out of the FedExCup season window, which will end on Aug. 25 next year.

Although the focus has been on how the new PGA Tour schedule will impact the U.S. sports calendar, the impact of the dramatic makeover stretches will beyond the Lower 48.

Rules of engagement. For a game that at times seems to struggle with too much small print and antiquated rules, it’s hard to understand how things played out earlier this month at the Florida Mid-Amateur Championship.

In a story first reported by, Jeff Golden claimed he was assaulted on May 13 by Brandon Hibbs – the caddie for his opponent, Marc Dull, in the championship’s final match. Golden told police that Hibbs struck him because of a rules dispute earlier in the round. Hibbs denied any involvement, and police found no evidence of an attack.

The incident occurred during a weather delay and Golden conceded the match to Dull after the altercation, although he wrote in a post on Twitter this week that he was disappointed with the Florida State Golf Association’s decision to accept his concession.

“The FSGA has one job, and that’s to follow the Rules of Golf,” Golden wrote. “Unfortunately, there’s no rule for an inebriated ‘ex-caddie’ punching a player in a match-play rain delay with no witnesses.”

Because of the conflicting statements, it’s still not clear what exactly happened that day at Coral Creek Club, but the No. 1 rule in golf – protecting the competition and the competitors – seems to have fallen well short.