Cut Line: McIlroy can change narrative of lost year

By Rex HoggardNovember 1, 2013, 4:17 pm

The PGA Tour’s Asian swing ends this week and Cut Line breaks down the far-fetched (Simon Dyson) and the far out (Rory McIlroy) from the Far East.

Made Cut

Lost season? Many pundits declared Rory McIlroy’s 2013 a wasted year long before he failed to advance to East Lake for the Tour Championship, and maybe a victory this week at the WGC-HSBC Champions will simply be the metaphorical cherry atop the trash sandwich.

Consider, however, how a victory this week in China against an A-list field would be viewed in historical context. A triumph would be his seventh Tour tilt and give him a victory in each of his first four seasons. It would also pave the way to the European Tour’s season-ending event in Dubai, which he is currently not qualified for, and set him up for a potential finish that could well change the conversation.

Currently tied for second and five strokes back at the HSBC, the Ulsterman could well manage a walk-off finish to ’13 and quiet the critics. That is if they are even still listening.

Ko-rect. LPGA commissioner Michael Whan wisely ended any speculation as to Lydia Ko’s future this week when the circuit announced it would waive its minimum age requirement and allow the 16-year-old to take up membership in 2014.

Ko turns 17 on April 24 and has already proven she is tour-tested, having won twice on the LPGA.

“We are looking forward to having Lydia as a full-time member for the 2014 season. It is not often that the LPGA welcomes a rookie who is already a back-to-back LPGA Tour champion,” Whan said in a statement on Monday.

Whan’s measured approach to waiving the age requirement is understandable, but as the game continues to trend younger and younger, officials must realize that, at least in the women’s game, 16 is the new 26.

Tweet of the week:

Note to self: Be sure to Trick or Treat in Peterson’s neighborhood next year.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

China Syndrome. The independent contractors can play when and where they please, a truth that is unchanged even if said contractor is Tiger Woods. Yet the world No. 1’s absence from the HSBC field is a time-and-place head scratcher.

Woods has played the World Golf Championships event twice, in 2009 and ’10, but the event’s newfound status as an official Tour stop would have seemed to be a perfect time to give the HSBC another try.

He was in China on Monday after all for an 18-hole exhibition against McIlroy, and, according to media reports, he is scheduled to attend another outing in Asia before heading home.

“I do think that's something, from the Tour's point of view, that does need to be looked at,” Giles Morgan, global head of sponsorship and events for HSBC, told The Associated Press this week. “I'm not here to knock Tiger at all, because I feel that he's been absolutely instrumental in the growth. But we've reached a point where it's not about individuals. It's about growing the game of golf globally.”

Since the WGCs began in 1999, Woods has played in 41 of 44 championships and won 18 of them.

In short, he has been good to the global golf concept and they have given back in kind. Scheduling issues are understandable – Woods is playing next week’s European Tour event in Turkey – but if the stars didn’t align properly enough this week for him to play one has to question if they ever will?

Crime & punishment. News this week that the European Tour has convened a disciplinary hearing to address Simon Dyson’s disqualification from last week’s BMW Masters may be understandable.

What is not so clear are suggestions that Dyson could face a possible expulsion from the tour for tapping down a spike mark that was in his line.

While the violation was clear, and, according to European Tour officials, Dyson didn’t even remember doing it, the idea that he could be banned for life seems extreme considering there has been no suggestion that he habitually violates the rules.

Dyson’s punishment for his violation was a disqualification. For the circuit to consider more sanctions just seems like piling on.

Missed Cut

Hall call. Although news last month that the World Golf Hall of Fame was taking a year off to overhaul its induction system was encouraging, it is concerning that it came to such extreme measures.

Just ask David Graham. The two-time major champion, who is at home in Texas recovering from heart surgery, was recently inducted into the Texas Hall of Fame.

“It was really nice. They called me about a month ago and told me. It was a great honor,” Graham said. “It’s just not the Hall I was hoping (to be inducted into).”

Graham, like many of the game’s veterans, has waited patiently, hopefully to get the call from St. Augustine, Fla., that he would be enshrined, and he views the current overhaul as a sad episode in the Hall’s history.

“Clearly it has become a political Hall of Fame, and it’s a shame the powers have allowed that to happen,” Graham told Cut Line. “That place is supposed to be a shrine. It’s not supposed to be abused. It should never have gotten to where they need an announcement that they need to rethink the Hall of Fame. That’s a shame. I hope (PGA Tour commissioner Tim) Finchem considers the Hall of Fame an important part of his legacy.”

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Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”