Cut Line: Haste management

By Rex HoggardFebruary 3, 2012, 11:50 pm

In honor of the toughest – and most creative – crowd in golf at this week’s Waste Management Phoenix Open, your correspondent takes a hard line on a collective meltdown Down Under, a letdown in logic at the Qatar Masters and an inexplicably prolonged countdown for an Olympic venue.

Made Cut

Sweet 16th. In a game mired in a monotonous march of stroke-play events and declining participation, TPC Scottsdale’s 16th hole is golf’s home run derby and slam dunk contest all rolled into a singularly raucous package.

Most players admit they wouldn’t want a steady diet of party holes like Scottsdale’s 16th each week, but as a one-off it is largely embraced.

“It's probably my favorite par 3 on Tour,” Rickie Fowler said. “You walk in, it's a full stadium, and a lot of times come Friday, Saturday, you're almost playing it a little bit shorter just because when you get in there you get pumped up a bit and the ball seems to go a little bit further.”

Golf’s version of the WWE may not be worth replicating, but for one week a year it’s worth every cheer and jeer.

Arron Oberholser. The last time AO hit a shot that counted on the PGA Tour George W. Bush was in the White House and Tiger Woods was still firmly planted atop golf’s hierarchy.

Following endless hours of rehabilitation and multiple hand and hip surgeries one of the circuit’s most affable players returned to the fold this week for the Waste Management Phoenix Open. It is his first Tour start since the 2009 Frys.com Open.

The Scottsdale resident turned 37 on Thursday and was serenaded by the boisterous masses on the 16th tee, missed the green with his tee shot, was soundly booed and signed for an opening 72.

“Tough crowd indeed,” Oberholser tweeted. “But so much fun. (No.) 16 is the coolest hole in pro golf.”


Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Blame it on Rio. Reason No. 987 why golf may have been better off without a seat at the Olympic table: the selection of an architectural team to design and build the host course for the 2016 Games has been pushed back until March.

The eight finalists for the design bid expected the announcement to be made Friday but the selection committee, which is of unknown size and makeup, is delaying the news until the International Olympic Committee is in Brazil next month.

This move further delays what has been an exceedingly drawn-out process, even by golf standards, and will limit the amount of time the winning bid will have to build an appropriate venue. This may come as a surprise to the IOC, but designing golf courses is a tad more complicated than simply growing grass.

Pro Bono work. Give Phil Mickelson credit for wanting to upgrade Torrey Pines’ North course and serious style points for offering his architectural services free of charge, but Lefty set off alarms with his vision of a nip/tucked North last week.

“Kind of a rough canyon look, if you will, where I’m going to make the hard holes harder, but I’m going to make the easier holes easier,” said San Diego native Mickelson.

We’ve heard this before, back in 2001 when Rees Jones dutifully reworked the South course into shape for the 2008 U.S. Open. The retooled South delivered one of the most exciting championships in modern history by creating a demanding layout that quickly fell out of favor with the locals, including Mickelson who has become one of the most outspoken critics of Jones.

Lefty’s heart and handiwork are in the right place; we just hope he doesn’t inadvertently spoil one of the most soulful walks in all of golf.


Missed Cut

Blunder Down Under. These are the facts. Annie Choi, Corie Hou and Inhong Lim teed off Thursday at the Australian Ladies Masters with what can only be described as a loose understanding of the local rules, signed for rounds of 70, 81 and 80, respectively, and were rounded up in what must be the first triple disqualification in the history of the game.

The threesome was disqualified after playing one hole of their second round for misinterpreting a local ruling on Day 1 that allowed preferred lies on fairways but not in the rough.

Accidents and misunderstandings happen – see Johnson, Dustin, 2010 PGA Championship – but this seems a tad extreme.

Tweet of the week: @StewartCink “I’m not injured, except for [a] slightly bruised ego.” The former British Open champion sent fans and media types scurrying for information after signing for an opening-round 83 in Scottsdale. You have to love that kind of honesty in 140 characters or less.

European Tour. It is the enablers, not the enabled, that have missed the mark when it comes to John Daly.

After Daly played his own version of wash, rinse, repeat late last year at the Australian Open he should have become persona non grata anywhere players are paid to play the game.

Instead officials at this week’s Qatar Masters, with what must have been tacit approval by the European Tour, decided ticket sales and exposure were more important than upholding principles and extended an invitation to Daly.

On Thursday Daly said he was “shocked” he played so well on Day 1 in Qatar. Not as shocked as Cut Line is that there seems to be no statute of limitations on second chances when it comes to “Long John.”

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Koepka: Second-place finishes becoming 'annoying'

By Al TaysMay 28, 2018, 12:02 am

Brooks Koepka didn't go down without a fight.

Trailing Justin Rose by four shots going into the final round of the Fort Worth Invitational, Koepka shot his second 7-under 63 of the week - and made up precisely one shot. He finished solo second at 17 under par, three shots behind Rose.

He could only marvel at the Englishman's performance in closing with a 6-under 64.

"It was pretty impressive," he said. "Justin played well. Hat's off to him. Any time you can come into a lead with four shots and play the way he did today, that's impressive."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Although Koepka was pleased with his own play - especially his putting - he said it felt "annoying" to come in second. Again.

"I feel like we've had so many second-place finishes," he said. "Always seem to run into a buzz saw, whatever it is."

Since May of 2016, Koepka has five solo second-place finishes and one T-2. But he also has a U.S. Open title, won last year at Erin Hills. He'll attempt to defend that title June 14-17 at Shinnecock Hills. "It's nice to finally be playing well and get going into the season," he said. "Kind of peaking right where I need to be."

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Minjee Lee birdies 18 to win on her birthday

By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:59 pm

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Minjee Lee's task was simple: A birdie on No. 18 would win her the tournament. It was a manageable par 5, the easiest hole on the course in the final round.

After a good drive, her second shot came closer to trouble than much of the gallery probably realized.

''I almost clipped the tree,'' Lee said. ''I overcut it a little bit, but it finished out in a good position.''

Lee's shot came to rest just to the right of the green, and from there it was a simple chip and putt for the birdie that gave her a one-stroke win over In-Kyung Kim at the LPGA Volvik Championship on Sunday. Lee, who turned 22 on Sunday, won for the first time since 2016. It was the Australian's fourth career victory.

Lee three-putted for a bogey on No. 17, dropping into a tie with Kim, who finished her round about the same time. So Lee needed a birdie to win on 18. The 18th hole was 470 yards Sunday. There were 44 birdies there in the final round.


Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


''The tee was up,'' she said. ''I was pretty confident that I could get there in two if I had a good drive.''

Lee made her winning putt from about 3 feet. She finished at 4-under 68 and 16 under for the tournament. Kim (67) shot a 32 on the back nine and birdied No. 18, but it wasn't enough to force a playoff at Travis Pointe Country Club.

''I kind of knew that 16 was the number and I mean, I give my best,'' Kim said. ''I make some good shots and birdies.''

Moriya Jutanugarn (65) finished third at 14 under.

Lee took a two-stroke lead into the final round, and that was her margin over playing partner Stacy Lewis before Lewis (71) bogeyed No. 7 and 8. Kim emerged as the biggest threat to Lee when she birdied four of the first five holes on the back nine. Lewis is playing four months' pregnant with her first child.

Kim and Lee were briefly tied at 15 under, but then Lee made a tap-in birdie on the par-5 14th, while Kim bogeyed 15. Lee saved par on 15 despite a wayward drive into a bunker.

''I wasn't sure where I was score-wise then. That par 5 is reachable in two, so I think a lot of people would have made birdie there,'' Lee said. ''The next tee shot I just pulled into the bunker. ... I think that was really important for me to hole that par putt just to keep the momentum going.''

Lee had gone 38 consecutive holes without a bogey before making one on the par-4 17th. That, combined with Kim's birdie on 18, left the two golfers tied, but Lee still had the 18th to come.

Su Oh (68) and Lindy Duncan (69) finished at 13 under, and Megan Khang (67) was another stroke back. Lewis finished at 11 under along with Ariya Jutanugarn (69) and Danielle Kang (70).

Lewis birdied three of the first six holes, but Lee did as well.

''It's hard to get close when somebody does that,'' Lewis said. ''She played great all day and played solid. When she needed to make a par putt, she did, and didn't make any mistakes.''

Lee lost this event by one stroke last year. Shanshan Feng, the 2017 winner , finished tied for 21st this time.

The LPGA has had a different winner in each of its 13 tournaments this year. The U.S. Women's Open starts Thursday at Shoal Creek.

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Spieth: Improvement is 'right around the corner'

By Al TaysMay 27, 2018, 10:50 pm

Not that Dallas native Jordan Spieth didn't enjoy the two-week home game that is the AT&T Byron Nelson and the Fort Worth Invitational - he certainly did. But he's eager to get out of town, too.

"It was a great showing these last couple weeks by the fans," Spieth said after closing with a 2-under 68, a 5-under total and a T-32 finish. "Obviously extremely appreciative here in DFW. Wish I could do more. These couple weeks can be a bit taxing, and it's awesome to kind of have that support to carry you through.

"So, you know, I had a great time these couple weeks on and off the golf course as I always do, but I'm also really excited to kind of get out of town and kind of be able to just go back to the room and have nothing to do at night except for get ready to play the next day."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Spieth will have that experience this coming week in Dublin, Ohio, site of the Memorial. He's hopeful of improving on his T-21, T-32 finishes the past two weeks, and he thinks the main thing holding him back - his putting - is ready for a turnaround.

"I think good things are about to come," he said. "I feel a good run coming for the second half of the season. Today was - each day I've felt better and better with the wedges and the putter and the short game; today was no different. My only bogey being just kind of trying to do too much on a par-5; 3-wood into the hazard.

"So, you know, I'm getting into where I'm not making bogeys, and then soon - the not making bogeys is great, and soon I'll get back to the five, six birdies around and shoot some low rounds.

"So I know it's right around the corner."

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Broadhurst fires 63 to easily win Senior PGA

By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:45 pm

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. – Paul Broadhurst wishes he had played this well in his 23 years on the European Tour.

''I know a lot more about my swing now and I guess you get that with age and experience,'' the 52-year-old Englishman said after shooting an 8-under 63 on Sunday to win the Senior PGA Championship by four strokes and match the best 72-hole score in tournament history.

Broadhurst finished at 19-under 265 at Harbor Shores for his second senior major victory. The 63 was the best fourth-round score by a winner. Rocco Mediate also shot 19 under at Harbor Shores in 2016.

Also the 2016 British Senior Open winner, Broadhurst led the field with 26 birdies and passed third-round co-leaders Tim Petrovic and Mark McCarron with a 4-under 31 on the back nine.

Petrovic was second after a 69. McCarron had a 70 to tie for third at 14 under with Jerry Kelly (65).


Full-field scores from the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship


Broadhurst earned a career-high $585,000 for his fourth PGA Tour Champions victory and moved to the top of the money list. He won six times on the European Tour, was a 1991 Ryder Cup player for Europe and has three European Senior Tour victories.

''It was really a special week,'' he said. ''It got a little bit tense out there. I knew I was playing well but I didn't seem to making any progress against Tim Petrovic. He was side-by-side on the back nine it seemed.''

He learned his lead was three strokes standing on the 18th tee when his caddie asked a television announcer.

''So we put my driver away and reached for the rescue club,'' he said. ''If I made a 5 there that would be fine.''

Broadhurst started the round two strokes behind Petrovic and McCarron, birdied the first hole and was tied with Petrovic for the lead by the turn. He took his first lead with a birdie on the 12th hole, led by two after 16 and birdied the final two holes, including a dramatic 40-foot putt for birdie at the 18th hole.

''I guess it would have been a bit of anti-climax if I would have three-putted the last green, but that would have given Tim a chance of holing his second shot,'' he said. ''I actually spoke to my caddie about that going down the last - we don't want to three-putt and five him the opportunity because stranger things have happened in golf. To see it go in the middle of the hole was just a special feeling.''

Petrovic said missed birdie putts on Nos. 7 and 8 were costly, but it might not have mattered with the way Broadhurst was playing.

''In hindsight it was all for naught,'' he said. ''He was so far ahead of us. Hat's off the guy. It was a great week - we just got beat. When he made the putt on 18 ahead of us I almost started clapping in the fairway and waving a white towel. It was well-deserved. That was great playing. He won the championship for sure.''

Broadhurst shot 72 in the first round, started rolling in putts with a 66 in the second round and was 15 under on the weekend. In addition to the leading 26 birdies, he topped the putts per greens in regulations numbers for the tournament as well with a 1.574 average.

''I wasn't aware I made that many birdies,'' he said. ''That's pretty impressive around this course.''

He said his game has long been unpredictable.

''I'm not blessed with a consistent swing like Bernhard Langer, but when it's on, it works,'' he said. ''If I'm putting well, then anything can happen, really.''