Cut Line Haggis Hangover
The same can’t be said for Phil Mickelson, who highlights this week’s “Cut Line” for all the wrong reasons.
St. Andrews. Not sure why the Royal & Ancient Golf Club is dragging its feet on the 2015 championship, but in the interest of saving time let’s pen the Old Course in to host the Open Championship every five years until the North Sea reclaims the storied links or man gives up the ancient game altogether.
St. Andrews is a gem, both inside and outside the ropes, and for all the wasted words over new tee boxes and narrowed fairways we didn’t hear a single frat brother dub the Old Course too easy.
One Scottish scribe wrote it best: if technology ever deems the Old Course obsolete the powers that be have failed miserably.
Hall of Fame ceremony. On Thursday, the World Golf Hall of Fame announced it will begin holding its annual induction ceremony in May to coincide with The Players Championship, and on Friday interest in the event increased by 50 percent, or something like that.
Mired for years in a sleepy fall date, the ceremony was something of an afterthought as the golf season was coming to a close. The move to Players week may not immediately transform the event into Cooperstown, but on the coattails of the Tour’s marquee event it has a fighting chance.
Now on to more pressing matters, like a convoluted selection process that takes a degree from MIT, or a Tour lawyer, to understand.
Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)
Louis Oosthuizen. No, we’re not taking a shot at the South African for sucking every ounce of cold, wet air out the Open Championship. The performance, if not the name, was historic.
The Big Oosy lands on the “MDF” list for his plan to dump longtime caddie Zack Rasego following the Open Championship. When a player gets sideways it is common practice to change putters, caddies, managers, wives, whatever it takes to right the ship. But after seven years, Rasego, who grew up caddying in Sun City, South Africa, for the likes of Gary Player, deserved better.
Predictably, in the wake of Oosthuizen’s Open walk-over Rasego remains employed, but there’s always next week.
Tiger Woods. A PGA Tour player once boasted, “If I fell off my wallet I’d break my arm.” Which prompted the question: How many bones would Woods break if he tumbled off his fortune?
The answer, at least in the short term, is $22 million, the amount Sports Illustrated estimated the world No. 1 is losing in endorsements in 2010. According to the report, Woods’ total earnings this year will be more than $90 million, down 30 percent from nearly $128 million two years ago.
That still places Woods first on the SI list of highest-earning American athletes, with Mickelson No. 2 with $62 million in earnings. That’s ahead of LeBron James, Alex Rodriguez and Kobe Bryant. Explain to us again how golf is a niche sport?
Designated tournament haters. Paul Casey’s tie for third at the Open Championship was encouraging and his post-final round assessment of his game and the golf course was honest and unfiltered, but more importantly the Englishman proved how far a little name recognition can go when he bolted Scotland for Canada.
Casey tops a marquee at the Canadian Open that is, by any measure, wanting and is example No. 256 of how a “designated tournament” rule could help tournaments in need.
The proposal, which is likely to be given final approval in the next few weeks, has been dubbed the “Tiger and Phil Rule” in some circles, but that misses the point. Just ask the folks in Canada, or Casey.
Tweet of the week: @stewartcink “Just finished watching son Connor play in a tournament. A 12 (-year-old) shot 66. I want to retire today.”
Turning Stone executive. By almost every measure, the Turning Stone Championship is a hidden gem among players, who rave about the golf course and the resort’s amenities, but earlier this week the event made an unsightly bogey.
Ray Halbritter, Turning Stone CEO and the event’s founder, announced he will play the tournament, which will be held opposite the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational the first week of August, on a sponsor exemption, proudly pointing out he has dropped his handicap from about a 16 to a 2.
“I had a conversation with the people in charge, myself, and I got lucky and got approved to play,” mocked Halbritter.
Mark Cuban and Jerry Jones write big checks as well, but that doesn’t give them, or Halbritter, the right to “play” professional athlete for a day. If Halbritter wants a taste of the big leagues, Q-School is right around the corner.
Phil Mickelson. Lefty teased us with an early-week press conference that bordered on the effusive, suggesting that this was finally the Open Championship where he solved the links riddle.
Seventy-two holes and 289 strokes later, we all had the look of jilted Chicago Cubs fans. For the record, Mickelson has now played 15 Open Championships with just a single top-10 finish, an inexplicable hole in what is otherwise a Hall of Fame resume.
Maybe Lefty wants it too much, or maybe links golf asks a thoughtful man one too many questions, either way it adds up to one of golf’s most unthinkable titles – Best Player Never to Win an Open Championship.
LeBron's son tries golf, and he might be good at everything
LeBron James' son seems well on his way to a successful basketball career of his own. To wit:
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.
If you listen closely, at the end of the clip, you can just barely hear someone scream out for a marine biologist.
Sponsored: Callaway's 'Golf Lives: Home Course'
In this original series, Callaway sets out to profile unique golf locations around the country based on their stories, communities and the characters that surround them. The golf cultures across the series are remarkably diverse, yet in all cases it's the course itself that unifies and ignites the passions of those who play.
“Golf Lives: Home Course” focuses on three distinct home courses across the country – one in D.C., one in Nebraska and one in Portland, Ore. All have very different golf cultures, but are connected by a deep love of the game.
Click here for a look at all three episodes in the series, as well as past Golf Lives films (check out the trailer below).
And here’s a breakdown of the three courses in focus:
Langston Golf Course (Washington, D.C.)
Opened in June 1939, Langston is steeped in a rich history. Known for its triumphant role in the desegregation of public golf, the course has been integral to the growth of the game’s popularity among African Americans. With its celebratory feel, Langston shows us golf is not unifies individuals, but generations.
Edgefield Golf Course (Portland, Ore.)
The air is fresh, the beers are cold and the vibes are electric at Edgefield. You'd be hard pressed to find a more laid back, approachable and enjoyable environment for a round. Overlooking stunning panoramic views of northeast Portland, two par-3 pub courses (12 holes and 20 holes) wind through vineyards, thickets of blackberry bushes and a vintage distillery bar. All are welcome at Edgefield, especially those who have never swung a club.
Wild Horse Golf Club (Gothenburg, Neb.)
In 1997, the locals and farmers living in the tight-knit town of Gothenburg decided to build a golf course. A bank loan, a couple of tractors, and a whole lotta sweat-equity later, their prairieland masterpiece is now considered one of the best in the country. Wild Horse is the soul of the community, providing unforgettable memories for all who play it.
Pepperell likely sews up Masters invite via OWGR
Eddie Pepperell received a trophy for his win Sunday at the British Masters, but another prize will be coming in the mail at the end of the year.
Pepperell held on to win by two shots at rainy Walton Heath, giving him his second win of the year to go along with a pair of runner-ups. The Englishman started the year ranked No. 133 in the world and was as low as 513th in May 2017. But with the win, Pepperell jumped 17 spots to a career-best 33rd in the latest world rankings.
It means that Pepperell, who finished T-6 at The Open while fighting a hangover in the final round, is in line to make his Masters debut next spring, as the top 50 in the world rankings at the end of the calendar year become exempt into the season's first major.
Another player now in the mix for that top-50 exemption is Emiliano Grillo, who went from 62nd to 49th with a T-2 finish at the PGA Tour's CIMB Classic. Grillo has played in two Masters but missed this year's event. Marc Leishman moved up eight spots to No. 16 with his win in Malaysia, while T-2s result moved Chesson Hadley from 75th to 60th and Bronson Burgoon from 162nd to 102nd.
There were no changes among the top 10 in the latest rankings, with Dustin Johnson still ahead of Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy. Francesco Molinari remains in sixth, with Bryson DeChambeau, Jon Rahm, Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth rounding out the top 10.
Both Koepka and Thomas are in the field at this week's CJ Cup in South Korea, where they will have an opportunity to overtake Johnson for world No. 1.
With his next competitive start unknown, Tiger Woods stayed at No. 13 for another week.
USGA, R&A unveil new limits on green books
Following a six-week feedback period, the USGA and R&A unveiled a new interpretation of the Rules of Golf and the use of green-reading materials on Monday.
The interpretation limits the size and scale of putting green books and any electronic or digital materials that a player may use to assist with green reading.
“We’re thankful for everyone’s willingness to provide feedback as we worked through the process of identifying a clear interpretation that protects the essential skill of reading a green, while still allowing for information that helps golfers enjoy the game,” said Thomas Pagel, the USGA’s senior managing director of governance.
Players will be allowed to continue to use green-reading books beginning in 2019, but the new interpretation will limit images of greens to a scale of 3/8 inch to 5 yards (1:480), and books can be no larger than 4 1/4 inches by 7 inches (pocket-sized). The interpretation also bans the use of magnification devices beyond normal prescription glasses.
The USGA and R&A will allow for hand-drawn notes in green books as long as those notes are written by the player or their caddie. The rule makers also dropped a proposal that would have limited the minimum slope to four percent in green-reading material.
“These latest modifications provide very practical changes that make the interpretation easier to understand and apply in the field,” Pagel said.