Cut Line Half-empty Nelson

By Rex HoggardMay 21, 2010, 10:48 pm

There was a time when it was almost impossible to get top American players across the pond for the British Open, much like it is now to get them across Texas to play the Byron Nelson Championship, but non-stops from Newark and an old-school qualifier in the New World solved all those woes.

Now, if only we can find a tonic for what ails Soren Hansen and Doug Barron.

 

Made Cut

International Final Qualifier. On Monday, Mother Nature willing, on a dusty layout near Plano, Texas, the type of field that gives some tournament directors chills will assemble for a singularly athletic cause.

There will be no money awarded, no Waterford crystal and certainly no FedEx Cup points. The only prize – a coveted spot in the game’s oldest member-member later this summer at St. Andrews.

The British Open qualifier is a cure for all those who say today’s pros are a spoiled, self-entitled lot. Among those who will play two on Monday will be Davis Love III, K.J. Choi, Charles Howell III and, yes, even Fred Couples. It’s enough to make Old Tom Morris proud.

Tony Romo. The Dallas Cowboy signal caller took some heat for pulling out of the Byron Nelson Championship Monday qualifier because it would have conflicted with the first day of team activities. Cue Allen Iverson: We’re talking about practice? Practice?

On Thursday Romo landed a little karma, birdieing three of last four holes and surviving a four-for-three playoff to advance to sectional qualifying for next month’s U.S. Open.

Word of caution, however. If Romo thinks the New Orleans Saints’ pass rush is tough, wait until he sees what the U.S. Golf Association plans to do with Pebble Beach’s pebbled-sized greens.

Tweet of the week: @stewarwtcink: “Who says today’s young kids have no work ethic. Just saw @RickieFowlerPGA changing his own spikes.”


Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

European Solheim Cup captain Alison Nicholas. Annika Sorenstam was named a vice captain, along with Joanne Morley, last week by Nicholas for the 2011 matches.

Sorenstam is certainly qualified, having played in eight consecutive Solheim Cup matches for Europe and is the event’s all-time points winner with 24, but it seems a bit like bringing a knife to a spork fight.

One wouldn’t tab Mike Krzyzewski, who coached the U.S. basketball team to Olympic gold in 2008, to keep stats at the 2012 Games, and you don’t ask Sorenstam to shuttle players between holes and keep the sandwiches fresh. If Nicholas really needs another vice-captain, may we suggest Michael Jordan. He did a heck of a job last year at Harding Park.

Quail Hollow. Contrary to Phil Mickelson’s claim that the Charlotte gem has the Tour’s “worst-designed greens,” the club seems destined for an upgrade to the major-championship neighborhood.

In fact, we recently learned that top PGA of America set-up man Kerry Haigh was on property earlier this month when Rory McIlroy made magic. Many say Quail Hollow is the leader in the clubhouse to land either the 2017 PGA Championship, 2024 Ryder Cup or both.

Haigh did little to quiet the rumor mill when we asked whether Quail Hollow would be a better stroke-play or match-play venue?

“From what I saw it lends itself to being an exciting place for both, short par 4s, reachable par 5s, long par 4s. It’s just really a good venue,” Haigh said.

Translation: Things can get steamy in North Carolina in August, so bring some sun screen.


Missed Cut

PGA Tour. We’ve tried to make this plea before to PGA Tour HQ, but in light of a recent op-ed piece by performance-enhancing drug poster child Doug Barron it seems apropos to give it one more run.

According to Barron if his lawyers fail to reach a settlement with the Tour regarding his one-year suspension for violating the circuit’s performance-enhancing drug policy by the end of May he will proceed with his lawsuit, which, among other things, will require the Tour reveal the results of every drug test that has been administered.

“(His fellow players) know I'm not looking to start a witch hunt,” Barron wrote in the article which appeared on golf.com. “All I'm trying to do is clear my name and ensure that the Tour creates a transparent process so that all players with legitimate medical issues are treated equally.”

Neither “Cut Line” nor Barron are looking for a smoking gun, but considering the scrutiny the sport is already under perhaps it is time to talk.

Soren Hansen. There is something rotten in Denmark and, according to a Copenhagen court, it is the former European Ryder Cup player.

Hansen was found guilty of tax evasion from 2002 to 2006. He had claimed residency in tax-haven Monaco during the period, but the court thought otherwise and has fined him $1.1 million.

And Hamlet thought he was a cursed Dane.

Tour Pros. There was a time when the top players would line up to pay homage to one of the game’s best “Godfather” style. The line of those waiting to hold court with Byron Nelson was a “who’s who.” Now the tournament that carries the legend’s name, if not his aura, features a field that is more “who’s that?”

In 2006 Nelson’s tournament drew six of the top 10 players in World Ranking. Four months later, at the age of 94, Iron Byron died and on some level his tournament seems to have passed as well.

This year the Nelson has drawn just two top-20 players to “Big D” – with Hunter Mahan at No. 17 the top card. The golf course, the independent contractors will moan, is a Tour must miss and without Nelson’s personal touch the event seems as good a time as any to take a break.

Don’t like the golf course, fine. Schedule issues, of course. But for what Iron Byron did for the game, how about a little self-imposed one-and-three?

Getty Images

Fleetwood, with his fancy umbrella, fires 65 on Day 2

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 12:34 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tommy Fleetwood looked like an Open rookie when he set out on Friday under gray skies and a cold, steady rain.

Because the Englishman doesn’t have an equipment sponsor he made a quick turn through the merchandise tent for an umbrella – but at least he didn’t have to pay for it.

“We stole it,” he laughed when asked about his Open-brand umbrella. “We got one given for free, actually. We didn't steal it. We don't always carry an umbrella. So it just so happens this week that we've got a nice Open Championship [umbrella]. It looked quite nice, the yellow and the course.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


It was Fleetwood’s only rookie move on Day 2 at Carnoustie, posting a flawless 65 to move into an early tie for second place at 5 under par.

Fleetwood holds the competitive course record at Carnoustie, a 9-under 63 he shot last fall during the European Tour’s Dunhill Links Championship, but given Friday’s conditions and the difficulty of this course during The Open, his 65 on Friday might have been better.

“It's not a course record, but it's pretty good,” said Fleetwood, who was stroke behind leader Zach Johnson. “If you went out, you wouldn't really fancy being 6 under out there. So I think that's a good indication of how good it was.”

It was a dramatic turnaround for Fleetwood on Friday. He said he struggled with his ball-striking, specifically his tee shots, on Day 1, but he was able to turn things around with an hour-long session on the range following his opening round.

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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 10:15 am

Following an even-par 71 in the first round of the 147th Open Championship, Tiger Woods looks to make a move on Day 2 at Carnoustie.


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McIlroy responds to Harmon's 'robot' criticism

By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:53 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy said during his pre-championship news conference that he wanted to play more "carefree" – citing Jon Rahm’s approach now and the way McIlroy played in his younger days.

McIlroy got off to a good start Thursday at Carnoustie, shooting 2-under 69, good for a share of eighth place.

But while McIlroy admits to wanting to be a little less structured on the course, he took offense to comments made by swing coach Butch Harmon during a Sky Sports telecast.

Said Harmon:

“Rory had this spell when he wasn’t putting good and hitting the ball good, and he got so wrapped up in how he was going to do it he forgot how to do it.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“He is one of the best players the game has ever seen. If he would just go back to being a kid and playing the way he won these championships and play your game, don’t have any fear or robotic thoughts. Just play golf. Just go do it.

“This is a young kid who’s still one of the best players in the world. He needs to understand that. Forget about your brand and your endorsement contracts. Forget about all that. Just go back to having fun playing golf. I still think he is one of the best in the world and can be No.1 again if he just lets himself do it.”

McIlroy, who has never worked with Harmon, responded to the comments when asked about them following his opening round.

“Look, I like Butch. Definitely, I would say I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum than someone that's mechanical and someone that's – you know, it's easy to make comments when you don't know what's happening,” McIlroy said. “I haven't spoken to Butch in a long time. He doesn't know what I'm working on in my swing. He doesn't know what's in my head. So it's easy to make comments and easy to speculate. But unless you actually know what's happening, I just really don't take any notice of it.”

McIlroy second round at The Open began at 2:52 a.m. ET.

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How The Open cut line is determined

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:57 am

Scores on Day 1 of the 147th Open Championship ranged from 5-under 66 to 11-over 82.

The field of 156 players will be cut nearly in half for weekend play at Carnoustie. Here’s how the cut line works in the season’s third major championship:


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


• After 36 holes, the low 70 players and ties will advance to compete in the final two rounds. Anyone finishing worse than that will get the boot. Only those making the cut earn official money from the $10.5 million purse.

• There is no 10-shot rule. That rule means anyone within 10 shots of the lead after two rounds, regardless of where they stand in the championship, make the cut. It’s just a flat top 70 finishers and ties.

• There is only a single cut at The Open. PGA Tour events employ an MDF (Made cut Did not Finish) rule, which narrows the field after the third round if more than 78 players make the cut. That is not used at this major.

The projected cut line after the first round this week was 1 over par, which included 71 players tied for 50th or better.