Cut Line KOd by 2K10

By Rex HoggardDecember 17, 2010, 5:55 pm
By and large, 2010 was like Chinese food, leaving the masses bloated and spent before lapsing into hunger again 10 minutes later.

It was the year of the Europeans, apologies, grooves, rules, tweets, farewells and faux pas. “Cut Line” could barely keep up, but before we fall into a Tryptophan-induced coma we’ll take a look at the season’s ultimate winners, losers and others.

Made Cut

Europe. Quick, what do you get when you mix two Englishman, two Northern Irishmen and a German? Punch line: the opening act of a Mel Brooks comedy and a reason to watch golf in 2010. Ba-da-boom.

Who would have thought that as golf reeled in the aftermath of Nov. 27, 2009, the answer to all the game’s PR woes would come via the continent and a group that is as colorful as they are talented.

Lee Westwood is No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking math and in the minds of many on both sides of the pond; Graeme McDowell has a U.S. Open trophy, the Ryder Cup and a head-to-head with Tiger Woods on his mantel, and Rory McIlroy may not have been voted the PGA Tour’s Rookie of the Year but he is the 20-something with the most potential. And that’s ignoring the accomplishments of the brothers Molinari and Ian Poulter.

The old country never seemed so new and refreshing.

Lorena Ochoa. Going out on top is the toughest task in all of spots but the quiet Mexican did it with class and dignity.

In April at the age of 28 and No. 1 in the world ranking Ochoa announced that she would step down to spend more time with her family and her charitable work, proving once and for all Jerry Seinfeld’s point. She left us wanting more and we do.

Tweet of the Year. @PaulAzinger “I’ve arrived (at Celtic Manor)! But I’m unable to access the press room. What a difference a couple of years makes.”

Honorable mention: anything Tweeted by @WestwoodLee.
Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Phil Mickelson. Lefty covered it all in 2010 – the good, the bad and the ugly. To be fair, the second weekend in April and his magical Masters Sunday would easily qualify as a successful calendar if the other 51 weeks weren’t so pedestrian and peculiar.

Mickelson began the year with a controversial move to play legal-but-non-conforming wedges at Torrey Pines, a worthy protest for a bad rule that drew the ire of some frat brothers, came up short at Pebble Beach with weekend rounds of 73 and managed just a single top-10 finish after June.

Along the way he failed, repeatedly, to overtake Woods atop the world ranking, was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis and stunned the golf world with news he was a vegetarian.

Still, his 6-iron from the pine straw right of Augusta National’s 13th fairway was the shot of the year and his embrace of wife Amy behind the 18th green a few hours later is among the best snapshots in 2010.

Major misses. The year’s four Grand Slam stops were so eagerly anticipated that an emotional letdown was almost inevitable.

Woods’ surreal return at Augusta National somewhat tempered Mickelson’s emotional victory; McDowell’s Pebble Beach victory was certainly deserving but one walked away with the feeling the trophy went to the last man who remained upright; Louis Oosthuizen’s brilliance was anticlimactic after a series of unforgettable Old Course Opens, and Whistling Straits . . . well, Whistling Straits was a sandy mess that should be removed from the rota.

It was, in retrospect, the law of diminishing returns. If they aren't all special, none of them are.

No easy Ryder Cup. Mired by rain gear that didn’t work and Welsh weather that did, it’s easy to forget that the 2010 Ryder Cup produced the most dramatic finish in a decade and continued to rekindle a rivalry that seemed anything but just four short years ago.

Also lost amid the Welsh mud was the cementing of two legacies. Colin Montgomerie, whose Cup record is every bit as impressive as those Orders of Merit, went out on script and on top. While Corey Pavin, the bulldog with the major that always eluded Monty, well, he just went out.
Missed Cut

Rules of Golf. For those scoring at home there was Dustin Johnson in the bunker-that-shouldn’t-have-been at the PGA Championship, Brian Davis on a beach where he shouldn’t have been at Hilton Head, Juli Inkster swinging a swing aid she shouldn’t have been at the Safeway Classic . . . stop us if you’ve heard enough.

Often the Rules of Golf don’t make a lot of sense, but in 2010 the litany of high-profile violations seemed senseless to the extreme.

Purest will claim the rules, and our unquestioning adherence to them, are what make golf special. Perhaps, but until “Cut Line” catches a Tour type taking a mulligan off Augusta National’s 10th tee it is the overly convoluted rules, not a player’s confusion with them, that need to be fixed.

Tiger Woods. All things considered it could have been worse. There could have been protests, hecklers, untold sponsor and fan fallout and more than just a single missed cut.

In fact, considering his form in his playoff loss at his season-ending Chevron World Challenge earlier this month the swing, if not the psyche, appear to be trending in the right direction.

But when your career is measured by majors and your income measured by the millions, 2010 was a disappointment by any measure. He failed to win a Tour event for the first time as a professional, was never really in contention on Sunday at a major, ranked worse in nearly every major statistical category and begins 2011 as the favorite for only one postseason award – Comeback Player of the Year.

Out of the groove. The U.S. Golf Association, and by default the PGA Tour, wanted to make the game more demanding for a bomb-and-gouge set that had turned far too many venerable layouts into pitch-and-putts so they dialed back the grooves in irons, which was akin to slowing down race cars by mandating more windshield wipers.

In this case, statistics don’t lie. Proximity to the hole, fairways hit, greens hit and scoring averages were all counter intuitive to what officials had in mind which was a greater focus on accuracy and higher scores.

In essence, the USGA took the path of least resistance straight back to the drawing board.

“If they wanted to make a big impact the golf ball would do that,” Heath Slocum said.
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Arizona caps an improbable journey with a title

By Ryan LavnerMay 24, 2018, 3:49 am

STILLWATER, Okla. – Five hours before the final match at the NCAA Women’s Championship, Arizona coach Laura Ianello sat cross-legged on a couch in the Holiday Inn lobby and broke down four times in a half-hour interview.

It’s been that kind of exhausting season.

From poor play to stunning midseason defections to a stroke-play collapse, Ianello has felt uneasy for months. She has felt like she was losing control. Felt like her carefully crafted roster was coming apart.

So to even have a chance to win a NCAA title?

“I know what this team has gone through,” she said, beginning to tear up, “and you don’t get these opportunities all the time. So I want it for them. This could be so life-changing for so many of them.”

A moment that seemed impossible six months ago became reality Wednesday at Karsten Creek.

Arizona continued its magical run through the match-play bracket and knocked off top-ranked Alabama to capture its third NCAA title, with junior Haley Moore – who first rose to fame by making the cut at an LPGA major as a 16-year-old – rolling in a 4-footer to earn the clinching point in extra holes.

All throughout nationals Arizona was fueled by momentum and adrenaline, but this was no Cinderella squad. The Wildcats were ranked ninth in the country. They won twice this spring. They had four medalists. They were one of the longest-hitting teams in the country.

But even before a miracle end to NCAA stroke play, Arizona needed some help just to get here.

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Team scoring

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Individual scoring

On Christmas Day, one of the team’s best players, Krystal Quihuis, texted Ianello that she was turning pro. It may have been a gift to her parents, for their years of sacrifice, but it was a lump of coal in Ianello’s stocking.

“I was absolutely heartbroken,” she said. “It was devastating.”

Even more bad news arrived a few weeks later, when junior Gigi Stoll told Ianello that she was unhappy, homesick and wanted to return to Portland, Ore. Just like that, a promising season had gone off the rails.

Ianello offered her a full release, but Stoll looked around, found no other suitors and decided to remain with the team – as long as she signed a contract of expected behavior.

“It was the most exhausting two months of my life,” Ianello said. “We care so much about these freakin’ girls, and we’re like, Come on, this is just a small, little picture of your life, so you don’t realize what you’re possibly giving up. It’s so hard to see that sometimes.”

Stoll eventually bought in, but the rest of the team was blindsided by Quihuis’ decision.

“We became even more motivated to prove we were a great team,” said junior Bianca Pagdanganan.

It also helped that Yu-Sang Hou joined the squad in January. The morale immediately improved, not least because the players now could poke fun at Hou; on her fourth day on campus she nearly burned down the dorm when she forgot to add water to her mac-and-cheese.

Early on Ianello and assistant Derek Radley organized a team retreat at a hotel in Tucson. There the players created Oprah-inspired vision boards and completed exercises blindfolded and delivered 60-second speeches to break down barriers. At the end of the session, they created T-shirts that they donned all spring. They splashed “The Great Eight” on the front, put the state of Arizona and each player’s country of origin on the sleeves, and on the back printed their names and a slogan: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

“I can’t think of anything else that better embodies this team,” Radley said.

This spring, they rallied together and finished no worse than fourth in a tournament. Through three rounds of stroke play here at the NCAA Championship, they used their distance advantage and sat third in the standings. Then they shot 17 over par in the final round, tumbling outside the top-8 cut line.

They were down to their final chance on the 72nd hole, needing an eagle to tie, as Pagdanganan lined up her 30-footer. She dramatically drained the putt, then gathered her teammates on the range.

“This means we were meant to be in the top 8,” she said. Less than an hour later, they beat Baylor in the team playoff to earn the last match-play berth.

Ianello was so amped up from the frenetic finish that she slept only three hours on Monday night, but they continued to roll and knocked off top-seeded UCLA in the quarterfinals, beating a pair of Player of the Year contenders, Lilia Vu and Patty Tavatanakit, in the process. In the afternoon semifinals, they jumped all over Stanford and won easily.

It was a cute story, the last team into the match-play field reaching the final match, but a stiffer challenge awaited the Wildcats Wednesday.

Alabama was the top-ranked team in the country. The Tide were a whopping 110 under par for the season, boasting three first-team All-Americans who were so dominant in their first two matches that they trailed for only two of the 99 holes they played.

Ianello already seemed to be bracing for the result on the eve of the final match.

“Win or lose,” she said, “this has been a hell of a ride.”

But their wild ride continued Wednesday, as Hou won four holes in a row to start the back nine and defeat Alabama’s best player, Lauren Stephenson, who had the best single-season scoring average (69.5) in Division I history.

Then sophomore Sandra Nordaas – the main beneficiary after Quihuis left at the midway point of the season – held on for a 1-up victory over Angelica Moresco.

And so Arizona’s national-title hopes hinged on the success of its most mercurial player, Moore. In the anchor match against Lakareber Abe, Moore jumped out to a 2-up lead at the turn but lost the first three holes on the back nine.

By the time Radley sped back to help Moore, in the 12th fairway, she was frazzled.

“But seeing me,” Radley said, “I saw a sense of calm wash over her.”

Moore played solidly for the rest of the back nine and took a 1-up lead into the home hole. She didn’t flinch when Abe hit one of the shots of the entire championship – a smoked 3-wood to 12 feet to set up a two-putt birdie and force extras – and then gave herself 4 feet for the win on the first playoff hole. She sank the putt and within seconds was mobbed by her teammates.

In the giddy aftermath, Ianello could barely speak. She wandered around the green in a daze, looking for someone, anyone, to hug.

The most trying year of her career had somehow ended in a title.

“At some moments, it felt impossible,” she said. “But I underestimated these young women a little bit.”

Getty Images

Pac-12 continues to dominate women's golf

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 24, 2018, 3:04 am

Arizona's national women's golf championship marked the fourth consecutive year in‌ which the women's Division I national title was won by a Pac-12 Conference team. All four championships were won by different schools (Stanford, 2015; Washington, 2016; Arizona State, 2017; Arizona, 2018). The Pac-12 is the only conference to win four straight golf championships (men or women) with four different schools.

Here are some other statistical notes from the just-concluded NCAA Div. I Women's Golf Championship:

• This is the second time that Arizona has won the national title the year after rival Arizona State won it. The last time was 1996.

• Arizona now has three women's golf national championships. The previous two came in 1996 and 2000.

• Arizona is only the sixth school to win three or more Div. I women's golf championships, joining Arizona State (8), Duke (6), San Jose State (3), UCLA (3) and USC (3).

• Arizona's Haley Moore, who earned the clinching point on the 19th hole of her match with Alabama's Lakareber Abe, was the only Arizona player to win all three of her matches this week.

• Alabama's Kristen Gillman and Cheyenne Knight also went 3-0. Gillman did not trail in any match.

• Since the match-play format was instituted in 2015, Arizona is the lowest seed (8) to claim the national title. The seeds claiming the national championship were Stanford (4) in 2015; Washington (4) in 2016; and Arizona State (3) in 2017.

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High school seniors win U.S. Amateur Four-Ball

By Associated PressMay 24, 2018, 1:44 am

TEQUESTA, Fla. - The 18-year-old Hammer, from Houston, is set to play at Texas next fall. Barber, from Stuart, Fla., also is 18. He's headed to LSU.

''Growing up watching U.S. Opens and U.S. Amateurs on TV, I just knew being a USGA champion is something that I desperately wanted,'' said Hammer, who qualified for a U.S. Open three years ago at 15. ''And to finally do it, it feels incredible. It feels as good, if not better, than I thought it would. And especially being able to do it with Garrett. It's really cool to share this moment.''

Hammer and Cole won the par-4 eighth with a birdie to take a 2-up lead. They took the par-4 10th with a par, won the par-5 13th with an eagle - Barber hit a 4-iron from 235 yards to 3 feet - and halved the next two holes to end the match.

''Cole didn't want me to hit 4-iron,'' Barber said. ''He didn't think I could get it there. I was like, 'I got it.' So I hit it hard, hit pretty much a perfect shot. It was a crazy shot.''

The 32-year-old Dull is from Winter Park, Fla., and the 42-year-old Brooke from Altamonte Springs, Fla.

''Cole Hammer is a special player,'' Brooke said. ''Obviously, he's going to Texas (and) I'm not saying he is Jordan Spieth, but there are certain things that he does.''

In the morning semifinals, Hammer and Barber beat Idaho high school teammates Carson Barry and Sam Tidd, 5 and 4, and Brooke and Dull topped former Seattle University teammates Kyle Cornett and Patrick Sato, 4 and 3.

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Watch: Pumped up Beef deadlifts 485 lbs.

By Grill Room TeamMay 24, 2018, 12:19 am

Andrew "Beef" Johnston has been playing some solid golf on the European Tour this season, and he is clearly pumped up for one of the biggest weeks of the year at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

Judging from the video below, Beef will have no problems lifting the trophy on Sunday as he reportedly deadlifted 220 kg ... (Googles kilogram to pounds converter, enters numbers) ... that's 485 lbs!

@beefgolf with a new deadlift PB 220kg ! #youcantgowronggettingstrong

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