Cut Line: New Day, old court case, new media

By Rex HoggardNovember 13, 2015, 3:38 pm

Jason Day’s year keeps getting better, 2 1/2 years of litigation has done little to clarify Vijay Singh’s lawsuit against the PGA Tour, and the new golf year has brought with it new rules for video streaming.

Made Cut

Good year. Jason Day in 2015 won his first major, a three-stroke masterpiece at Whistling Straits over Jordan Spieth, moved to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking, and on Wednesday welcomed baby No. 2 to the family, Lucy Adenil.

Day, who turned 28 years old a day after Lucy was born, also won multiple Tour events (five) for the first time in his career and came up just short in the FedEx Cup race to Spieth.

And if all that wasn’t enough, the year’s not over for the Australian, who plans to play next month’s Hero World Challenge.

Not your average bridesmaid. Some would consider Kevin Kisner’s four runner-up finishes in 2015 missed opportunities, but the 31-year old figures his four also-rans are a sign of improvement.

“He has taken all the positives from playing that great,” said Kisner’s swing coach John Tillery. “He wants to win, but validation for him as a player is complete. He’s frustrated, but it’s been nothing but a confidence boost for him.”

Tillery also points out that Kisner has run into some “buzzsaws” this year, including a determined Jim Furyk at the RBC Heritage and red-hot Rickie Fowler at the Players.

It was a similar scenario last week at the WGC-HSBC Champions, when Kisner finished two strokes behind Russell Knox following a final-round 68.

It’s a matter of perspective - where some see a bridesmaid, Kisner chooses to focus on the opportunities that bring him one step closer to a breakthrough.

Tweet of the week.

His next haircut might be his last. The good news is that his first trip to the winner's circle, which came earlier this month at the CIMB Classic, won't be his last either.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Anti-doping dilemmas. As Vijay Singh’s lawsuit against the Tour slowly inches into its third year, it became clear last week via a litany of filings in the case just how nuanced the world of performance-enhancing drugs can be.

Singh was initially sanctioned to serve a 90-day suspension after admitting he used a banned substance (IGF-1), but the Tour later rescinded that suspension, with commissioner Tim Finchem explaining, “[the World Anti-Doping Agency] clarified that it no longer considers the use of deer antler spray to be prohibited unless a positive test results.”

Court documents paint a different picture. Just three days after the Sports Illustrated story was published that linked Singh to the use of the Ultimate Spray – and nearly three months before Finchem announced the Tour was dropping the case – WADA responded to a request for clarification on deer antler spray in an e-mail to Drug Free Sport New Zealand: “WADA takes a very similar approach for deer antler as we do for colostrum or some other dietary supplements . . . Deer Antler Spray is not prohibited per se, but WADA recommends athletes be extremely vigilant with this supplement because it may contain IGF-1.”

That “clarification” is just one of many examples of how Singh’s lawsuit, as well as the Tour’s anti-doping program, is far more complicated than some may think.

Caddie carousel. With few exceptions, nothing lasts forever, but some changes are more surprising than others.

While changing caddies is a part of life on the Tour, news this week that Matt Kuchar had split with longtime looper Lance Bennett qualified as a bona fide surprise.

“It’s a hard decision,” Kuchar told this week. “It’s hard to say, it was just one of those times where it was time to try something different.”

The move seems to have had a domino effect in the caddyshack, with Kuchar hiring John Wood, Hunter Mahan’s caddie, to replace Bennett.

There’s no word on where Bennett will land, or who will take Wood’s place on Mahan’s bag, but it will likely lead to more surprises in the caddie ranks.

Missed Cut

Up-stream moves. The Tour unveiled a new policy for streaming applications for this season, giving players guidelines for using applications like Periscope and Meerkat at tournament sites.

Players are allowed to stream video from practice areas and golf courses, but not during tournament or pro-am rounds. Stream any video for “commercial purposes" is also prohibited.

The Tour also added a final, heavy-handed clause to the new policy: “all media captured at, and/or emanating from, the site of a tournament, PGA Tour shall own all video streamed.”

Nothing like taking the “social” out of social media.

Getty Images

Fleetwood, with his fancy umbrella, fires 65 on Day 2

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 12:34 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tommy Fleetwood looked like an Open rookie when he set out on Friday under gray skies and a cold, steady rain.

Because the Englishman doesn’t have an equipment sponsor he made a quick turn through the merchandise tent for an umbrella – but at least he didn’t have to pay for it.

“We stole it,” he laughed when asked about his Open-brand umbrella. “We got one given for free, actually. We didn't steal it. We don't always carry an umbrella. So it just so happens this week that we've got a nice Open Championship [umbrella]. It looked quite nice, the yellow and the course.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

It was Fleetwood’s only rookie move on Day 2 at Carnoustie, posting a flawless 65 to move into an early tie for second place at 5 under par.

Fleetwood holds the competitive course record at Carnoustie, a 9-under 63 he shot last fall during the European Tour’s Dunhill Links Championship, but given Friday’s conditions and the difficulty of this course during The Open, his 65 on Friday might have been better.

“It's not a course record, but it's pretty good,” said Fleetwood, who was stroke behind leader Zach Johnson. “If you went out, you wouldn't really fancy being 6 under out there. So I think that's a good indication of how good it was.”

It was a dramatic turnaround for Fleetwood on Friday. He said he struggled with his ball-striking, specifically his tee shots, on Day 1, but he was able to turn things around with an hour-long session on the range following his opening round.

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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 10:15 am

Following an even-par 71 in the first round of the 147th Open Championship, Tiger Woods looks to make a move on Day 2 at Carnoustie.

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McIlroy responds to Harmon's 'robot' criticism

By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:53 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy said during his pre-championship news conference that he wanted to play more "carefree" – citing Jon Rahm’s approach now and the way McIlroy played in his younger days.

McIlroy got off to a good start Thursday at Carnoustie, shooting 2-under 69, good for a share of eighth place.

But while McIlroy admits to wanting to be a little less structured on the course, he took offense to comments made by swing coach Butch Harmon during a Sky Sports telecast.

Said Harmon:

“Rory had this spell when he wasn’t putting good and hitting the ball good, and he got so wrapped up in how he was going to do it he forgot how to do it.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“He is one of the best players the game has ever seen. If he would just go back to being a kid and playing the way he won these championships and play your game, don’t have any fear or robotic thoughts. Just play golf. Just go do it.

“This is a young kid who’s still one of the best players in the world. He needs to understand that. Forget about your brand and your endorsement contracts. Forget about all that. Just go back to having fun playing golf. I still think he is one of the best in the world and can be No.1 again if he just lets himself do it.”

McIlroy, who has never worked with Harmon, responded to the comments when asked about them following his opening round.

“Look, I like Butch. Definitely, I would say I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum than someone that's mechanical and someone that's – you know, it's easy to make comments when you don't know what's happening,” McIlroy said. “I haven't spoken to Butch in a long time. He doesn't know what I'm working on in my swing. He doesn't know what's in my head. So it's easy to make comments and easy to speculate. But unless you actually know what's happening, I just really don't take any notice of it.”

McIlroy second round at The Open began at 2:52 a.m. ET.

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How The Open cut line is determined

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:57 am

Scores on Day 1 of the 147th Open Championship ranged from 5-under 66 to 11-over 82.

The field of 156 players will be cut nearly in half for weekend play at Carnoustie. Here’s how the cut line works in the season’s third major championship:

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

• After 36 holes, the low 70 players and ties will advance to compete in the final two rounds. Anyone finishing worse than that will get the boot. Only those making the cut earn official money from the $10.5 million purse.

• There is no 10-shot rule. That rule means anyone within 10 shots of the lead after two rounds, regardless of where they stand in the championship, make the cut. It’s just a flat top 70 finishers and ties.

• There is only a single cut at The Open. PGA Tour events employ an MDF (Made cut Did not Finish) rule, which narrows the field after the third round if more than 78 players make the cut. That is not used at this major.

The projected cut line after the first round this week was 1 over par, which included 71 players tied for 50th or better.