Cut Line: Honoring Huber

By Rex HoggardJanuary 6, 2012, 6:09 pm

According to the schedule the 2012 season gets underway this week, although the late start and light field at Kapalua certainly test the boundaries of the term “grand opening.” Luckily for Cut Line the new year provides plenty fodder to fill the void, from Royal Portrush’s slow climb back to international prominence to Jeff Overton’s curious deal cutting.

Made Cut

Jim Huber. The majors won’t be the same this year. The PGA Grand Slam of Golf may never recover, not after losing Huber, who died on Monday at 67.

The Emmy Award-winning Huber was a staple at the major championships, but it was at the 2011 Grand Slam event in Bermuda that we got to know and respect his work. During the evening Q&A with the four players Huber directed traffic and defied reason with his depth of knowledge, grilling David Toms on details of his 2001 PGA victory that even the champion didn’t remember.

His essays will be missed at this year’s major stops, but his spot at the Grand Slam of Golf may never be replaced.

A trip north. Perhaps news that the Irish Open will return to Royal Portrush for the first time since 1947 isn’t exactly stop-the-press stuff, but for the venerable links it could be a sign of things to come.

Following Portrush resident Darren Clarke’s Open Championship victory last year there was a groundswell of support for the game’s oldest championship to return to Northern Ireland for the first time since 1951.

The first step in that process was to bring a lesser event to Portrush to test the course and infrastructure, and June’s Irish Open qualifies as a good litmus test. As for those who say Royal Portrush is too remote and inaccessible to host an Open we have three words for you – Royal St. George’s.

Tweet of the Week: @DarrenClarke60 “Press conference (Friday) at Royal Portrush at 2 p.m. re: Irish Open then Van Morrison in concert tomorrow night in Belfast. #properweekend”

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Player Advisory Council. Votes for this year’s 16-man PAC will be finalized on Friday in Hawaii but if player reaction is any indication this will feel more like a straw poll than a Super Tuesday.

“(Tour officials) don’t listen to what is said (in PAC meetings) so there’s really no use,” said one former PAC member.

Considering the sweeping changes currently being purposed to the Q-School and Nationwide Tour process as well as the circuit’s schedule it’s in the rank-and-file’s best interest to embrace activism not apathy right now.

Gary Woodland. The hard-swinging former college point guard is a breath of fresh air among the play-for-pay set and his recent move from Hambric Sports Management to Mark Steinberg and Excel Sports qualifies as one of those circle-of-life deals, but the big man may have run through an unfortunate stop sign in the process.

Woodland’s manager at Hambric was Blake Smith, the son of affable swing coach Randy Smith who had been working with Woodland since 2005. In the wake of Woodland’s move, the elder Smith decided it was best if the two no longer worked together.

Switching agents, and caddies, is part of the game, but this has the feel of needless collateral damage.

An active lifestyle. In the same news cycle, Lucas Glover injured his knee in a paddle boarding incident and Paul Casey may have landed himself on the extended DL with a dislocated shoulder while snowboarding.

The NFL is always considered the Tour’s major rival, so much so officials moved this week’s finish in Hawaii to Monday to avoid the first weekend of playoff action, but it seems it’s the X Games with which Camp Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., should really be concerned.

Missed Cut

Hyundai Tournament of Champions. On paper this is a non-issue, a handful of the world’s best golfers playing in paradise and in primetime on the East Coast. In practice, however, the boffo blockbuster has started to feel more like golf’s version of Survivor Island.

Eleven players who were qualified for the Hyundai failed to make the trip this week, the largest number of no-shows since the event moved to Kapalua in 1999, and the 28-man field ties the record for the thinnest tee sheet.

Billed as golf’s All-Star game, attendance at Kapaula has felt more like the slam dunk contest in recent years. Missing from the opener are Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t played the Hyundai since 2001, world No. 1 Luke Donald and three of the four major champions from 2011.

The move to a Monday finish to avoid going head-to-head with the NFL playoffs will help, but unless officials find a way to improve attendance the Hyundai will continue to feel more like a soft opening.

Jeff Overton. The Tour player pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct following an incident on Dec. 10 in Bloomington, Ind., while charges of resisting law enforcement and public intoxication were dismissed.

Overton must complete 30 hours of community service and pay $165 in administrative cost, which, considering officers initially claimed he was not cooperative and was shouting at bystanders from his limousine, seems like a good deal.

Overton’s lawyer, however, wanted his day in court. “I would have like to take this to trial,” Sam Shapiro said. In December Overton told the Bloomington Herald-Times: “I feel my rights were violated. I'm sitting in my own limo and got pulled out. other than that, I'm going to let my lawyer handle it.”

Reading between the lines here, but it’s hard to tell if Overton did the right thing, or the easy thing.

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Lewis hopes to win at Volvik with baby on the way

By Randall MellMay 27, 2018, 12:55 am

Stacy Lewis was listening to more than her caddie on her march up the leaderboard Saturday at the Volvik Championship.

Pregnant with her first child, she is listening to her body in a new way these days.

And she could hear a message coming through loud and clear toward the end of her round at Travis Point Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich.

“The little one was telling me it’s dinnertime,” Lewis said.

Lewis birdied five of the last six holes to shoot 5-under-par 67 and move into position to make a Sunday run at winning her 13th LPGA title. She is two shots behind the leader, Minjee Lee, whose 68 moved her to 12 under overall.

Sunday has the makings of a free for all with 10 players within three shots of the lead.

Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship

Lewis, 33, is four months pregnant, with her due date Nov. 3. She’s expecting to play just a few more times before putting the clubs away to get ready for the birth. She said she’s likely to make the Marathon Classic in mid-July her last start of the season before returning next year.

Of course, Lewis would relish winning with child.

“I don’t care what limitations I have or what is going on with my body, I want to give myself a chance to win,” she told at the Kingsmill Championship last week.

Lewis claimed an emotional victory with her last title, taking the Cambia Portland Classic late last summer after announcing earlier in the week that she would donate her entire winnings to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in her Houston hometown.

A victory Sunday would also come with a lot of emotion.

It’s been an interesting year for Lewis.

There’s been the joy of learning she’s ready to begin the family she has been yearning for, and the struggle to play well after bouncing back from injury.

Lewis missed three cuts in a row before making it into the weekend at the Kingsmill Championship last week. That’s one more cut than she missed cumulatively in the previous six years. In six starts this year, Lewis hasn’t finished among the top 50 yet, but she hasn’t felt right, either.

The former world No. 1 didn’t make her second start of 2018 until April, at the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration. She withdrew from the HSBC Women’s World Championship in late February with a strained right oblique muscle and didn’t play again for a month.

Still, Lewis is finding plenty to get excited about with the baby on the way.

“I kind of had my first Mother’s Day,” Lewis told last week. “It puts golf into perspective. It makes those bad days not seem so bad. It helps me sleep better at night. We are just really excited.”

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Rose hasn't visited restroom at Colonial - here's why

By Nick MentaMay 27, 2018, 12:20 am

In case you're unaware, it's pretty hot in Texas.

Temperatures at Colonial Country Club have approached 100 degrees this week, leaving players to battle both the golf course and potential dehydration.

With the help of his caddie Mark Fulcher, Fort Worth Invitational leader Justin Rose has been plenty hot himself, staking himself to a four-shot lead.

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

"Yeah, Fulch has done a great job of just literally handing me water bottle after water bottle. It seems relentless, to be honest with you," Rose said Saturday.

So just how much are players sweating the heat at Colonial? Well, it doesn't sound like all that water is making it all the way through Rose.

"I haven't even seen the inside of a restroom yet, so you can't even drink quick enough out there," he shared.

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Up four, Rose knows a lead can slip away

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 11:21 pm

Up four shots heading into Sunday at the Fort Worth Invitational, Justin Rose has tied the largest 54-hole lead of his PGA Tour career.

On the previous two occasions he took a 54-hole Tour lead into the final round, he closed.

And yet, Rose knows just how quickly a lead can slip away. After all, it was Rose who erased a six-shot deficit earlier this season to overtake Dustin Johnson and win the WGC-HSBC Championship. 

"I think I was in the lead going into the final round in Turkey when I won, and I had a four-shot lead going into the final round in Indonesia in December and managed to put that one away," Rose said Saturday, thinking back to his two other victories late last year.

"I was five, six back maybe of DJ, so I've got experience the other way. ... So you can see how things can go both ways real quick. That's why there is no point in getting too far ahead of myself."

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

Up one to start the third round Saturday, Rose extended his lead to as much as five when he birdied four of his first six holes.

He leads the field in strokes gained: tee-to-green (+12.853) and strokes gained: approach-the-green (+7.931).

Rose has won five times worldwide, including at the 2016 Rio Olympics, since his last victory in the United States, at the 2015 Zurich Classic.

With a win Sunday, he'd tie Nick Faldo for the most PGA Tour wins by an Englishman post-World War II, with nine.

But he isn't celebrating just yet.

"It is a big lead, but it's not big enough to be counting the holes away. You've got to go out and play good, you've got to go out positive, you've got to continue to make birdies and keep going forward.

"So my mindset is to not really focus on the lead, it's to focus on my game tomorrow and my performance. You know, just keep executing the way I have been. That's going to be my challenge tomorrow. Going to look forward to that mindset."

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Grillo still hunting follow-up to debut win

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 10:53 pm

Following a round of 1-under 69 Saturday, Emiliano Grillo will enter Sunday's final round at Colonial four shots behind leader Justin Rose.

Grillo is hunting his first win since he took the 2015 Safeway Open in his rookie debut as a PGA Tour member. 

The young Argentinian finished 11th in the FedExCup points race that season, contending in big events and finishing runner-up at the 2016 Barclays.

In the process, Grillo had to learn to pace himself and that it can be fruitless to chase after success week to week.

"That was a hot run in there," Grillo said Saturday, referring to his rookie year. "I played, in 2016, I played the majors very well. I played the big tournaments very well. I was in contention after two, three days in most of the big events.

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

"I think, you know, I wanted to do better. I pushed for it. Some of the tournaments I ended up being 50th or 60th just because I wanted to play. I wanted to play well so badly. That played against me, so I learned from that. In that rookie year, I learned that."

Grillo was still plenty successful in his sophomore season, advancing to the BMW Championship last fall.

But now he's beginning to regain some of that form that made him such an immediate success on Tour. Grillo has recorded four top-10 finishes year - a T-9 at Mayakoba, a T-8 at Honda, a T-3 at Houston, and a T-9 at Wells Fargo - and will now look to outduel U.S. Open champs in Rose and Brooks Koepka on Sunday at Colonial.

"Well, he's top 10 in the world, so everything he does he does it pretty well," Grillo said of Rose. "You know, he does his own thing. Like I say, he's top 10 in the world. Nothing wrong with his game. ...

"He's in the lead on a Sunday. Doesn't matter where you're playing, he's got to go out and shoot under par. He's got 50 guys behind him trying to reach him, and I'm one of those. I've just got to go out and do what he did today on those first five or six holes and try to get him in the early holes."