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Cut Line Hope weather warnings

Two words that may have never been uttered at the Bob Hope Classic: Monday finish. But then the phrase “lift, clean and place” doesn’t seem apropos either when you’re playing golf in the Coachella Valley. “Hope Weather,” however, has forced tournament officials to expand their vocabularies this week.

“Cut Line” will shoulder on though because, as everyone knows, everything breaks toward Indio and cuts are made to be missed.

Made Cut

Player ownership. As a rule, input flows in one direction when it comes to PGA Tour players. From more playing opportunities to bigger shrimp at the buffet, the circuit’s suggestion boxes are filled with ways to make Tour-dom better, but rarely do these suggestions come with individual action items.

It’s a reality that makes this week’s news of a new Fall Series event an encouraging diversion from the norm because it seems it was players, not Tour types, who got dirty to close this deal.

The McGladrey Classic, which will be played at Sea Island (Ga.) Resort this October, is more than a post-Tour Championship diversion thanks in large part to the efforts of Zach Johnson and Davis Love III, both of whom are on the Tour’s Policy Board and Sea Island residents.

“We can make it a model for guys to see how to get involved with a tournament,” said Mark Love, Davis’ brother and the new event’s executive director. “This is a chance for (other players) to see the importance of becoming more active in the sponsorship area.”

The opportunities are endless. May we suggest the Cheesehead Classic presented by Wisconsin’s own Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly with all proceeds to benefit the Brett Favre Withdrawal Fund.

Jack Nicklaus. Old golf scribes will tell you the Golden Bear invented the “scrum,” the informal give and take between legend and media that makes the modern press conference seem like a physics lecture. Whether Nicklaus was the pioneer doesn’t seem to matter when you’re talking with him because it’s clear he’s perfected the art.

On Thursday Nicklaus turned 70 and the thought occurs that Tiger Woods will probably overtake the Golden Bear in the Grand Slam race, but he will likely never live up to Nicklaus’ ability to connect with the press or the people.

Among the highlights of this sporting life, we’ve watched Michael Jordan dunk a basketball, Woods rifle a 3-iron and Nicklaus explain things as only an 18-time major champion can.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish

eGolf Professional Tour. Let’s be clear, Doug Barron and common sense have the look of victims if you consider the Tour has granted other players exemptions to use some of the same drugs that the journeyman tested positive for last year and Barron’s decision to continue his legal challenge of his one-year suspension promises to shed light on what has been a murky process.

News last week, however, that Barron will continue to ply his trade this year on the North Carolina mini-tour smacks of economic expediency. For a $2,250 membership fee competitive integrity has been put on hold.

It’s hard to believe Barron is guilty of anything more than legal naiveté, but that’s for the courts to decide not a mini-tour in need of members.

Democracy. Asked earlier this week if the PGA Tour is rethinking its policy of granting members conflicting event releases commissioner Tim Finchem quickly dismissed the notion.

Although the timing is not ideal with a handful of top Tour members chasing appearance fees across the globe at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship while Bob Hope Classic officials glad-hand potential sponsors like a Massachusetts Democrat, professional golf is a collection of independent contractors and you don’t torch the Bill of Rights just because the freedom of speech clause is inconvenient.

The old Tour axiom is that every player is a Republican until they miss a cut, then they are Democrats. Add a rough economic environment and some struggling events to the mix and it seems we’ve also got a few socialist sprinkled in there as well.

Missed Cut

Hope-less. No sponsor, no top 20 players in the world and now there appears to be a hole in the dome that once protected Bob Hope’s annual soiree from the elements and second guessing.

Truth is, the Hope has been on varying stages of outpatient care ever since the host with the most stopped wheeling around the Coachella Valley in that tricked up E-Z-Go, and it’s tough to blame the demise of Detroit on tournament director Michael Milthorpe.

Some of what ails the Hope, however, was self-inflicted. The move to oust George Lopez as host, the wind-blown experiment at the Classic Club and a dogmatic affinity to an unpopular five-round format have not helped the tournament.

Or, as Hope once deadpanned, “I’ve always been in the right place and time. Of course, I steered myself there.”

Reality. As we approach the two-month anniversary of “Black Friday” it seems surreal has become the standard when it comes to Woods.

If Woods is in a Mississippi sex rehab clinic (nine words we never thought we’d pen) as last week’s grainy photos suggest – although the Zapruder film seems more conclusive by comparison – then fans of the player, if not the man, should be encouraged by his attempt to battle his demons.

As for fans of the golfer, Woods seems focused on a much more important match right now. One that’s not going to be influenced by the major championship schedule or the call of Augusta.