Cut Line: (PGA) Show and Tell

By Rex HoggardJanuary 27, 2017, 2:48 pm

In this week’s edition, Tiger Woods returns to the Big Show at Torrey Pines, the PGA Merchandise Show rolls out all of the game’s newest toys, and the redesigned North Course shows well on Day 1 at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Made Cut

Best in Show. Perhaps the most apropos new gadget Cut Line was able to test drive this week at the PGA Show was the SkyCaddie Linx GT.

Although the GPS watch, which syncs with a smartphone application, is a robust distance-measuring device, it also doubles as an odometer to track steps, calories burned, etc. Cut Line’s one-day toll around the Show floor: 16,800 steps.

For buzz, we give a nod to Callaway Golf, which recently unveiled the GBB Epic driver. The company set up a pair of fitting bays in its sprawling booth to allow Show-sters to see the numbers for themselves and the two bays might have been the busiest range in America last week.

Oska Pulse earns a kudo for most intriguing pain relief device. According to the company, Oska uses pulsed electromagnetic field therapy to help relieve minor aches and pains. Although wildly anecdotal, after a single day on the Show flow (16,800 steps) we were intrigued by the Pulse’s results.

North-ern exposure. Players took their first turns around the new North Course at Torrey Pines this week with largely positive feedback.

The Tom Weiskopf redesign added nearly 200 yards to what is normally the more user friendly of the two Torrey Pines layouts, but the scoring average on Day 1 at the Farmers Insurance Open (70.75) was actually lower than it was for two rounds last year (70.93).

The biggest improvement appears to be the putting surfaces and even Phil Mickelson, who was excluded from bidding on the redesign project because of bizarre government rules, offered a relatively positive take on the makeover.

“My idea [for the redesign] was different, but Tom's got a great track record. He's a wonderful designer. He's done a lot of great courses and the course certainly is a good challenge,” said Mickelson, who shot a 1-under 71 on the North Course on Thursday.

Not exactly a rousing endorsement, but Weiskopf will take it.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Hail to the Chief. Earlier this month new PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan was asked how Donald Trump’s presidency could impact golf.

“We see president-elect Trump as being probably the best golfer to ever sit in office and probably the most golf knowledgeable,” Monahan said. “For the game, that’s a tremendous thing.”

On Wednesday, Monahan’s counterpart at the PGA of America had his turn to envision what having an avid golfer in the White House could mean to the game.

“When you have the leader of the country as a golf fan that’s got to be good for golf,” said Pete Bevacqua, the PGA’s CEO. “We all know that President Trump loves the game.”

The PGA came under fire during the presidential election because two of it’s future championships, the 2022 PGA Championship and ’17 Senior PGA, are scheduled to be played at Trump-owned courses, but Bevacqua said the PGA takes no vindication in the outcome of the election.

“We are not a political organization as far as getting involved in presidential politics, that’s not the role of the PGA of America. I happen to think sports transcends politics,” Bevacqua said. “We said regardless of the outcome of the election, we were going to conduct our championships at those courses either way.”

Tweet of the week: @TigerWoods “Big decision made. Find out tomorrow. –TW”

Nothing can set off the Twitter-verse like a vague promise of big news, and Woods’ missive on Tuesday threatened to break the Internet.

The world learned the next morning that Woods had signed an endorsement deal to play TaylorMade golf clubs, but the reality in his bag was a little different.

Although the deal is for Woods to play the company’s driver, fairway woods, irons and wedges, the 14-time major winner had only a TaylorMade driver and fairway woods in the bag when he teed off on Thursday at Torrey Pines for his first official start on Tour in 522 days.

It should have been no surprise that Woods, who also switched to a new golf ball (Bridgestone) this season, is taking a measured approach to his new toys, he needed nearly a decade to make the full transition to Nike equipment.

It may have been big news, but it’s clear Woods is in no big rush for a wholesale change.

Missed Cut

Life on the cutting edge. It’s been a confusing few weeks for Bryson DeChambeau, the forward-thinking Tour player who hopes to change the game for the better with ideas on equipment and the swing.

On the eve of last week’s CareerBuilder Challenge, DeChambeau was informed the “face on” or sidesaddle putter he’d been given initial approval to play may not be conforming. He played another, conforming version of the putter, but the confusing episode is another example of how golf needs to be simplified.

The USGA and R&A are closing in on a makeover of the Rules of Golf, a move that is reportedly aimed at simplifying what is an exceedingly esoteric rulebook. Although those changes won’t necessarily focus on the rules that govern equipment, it may be time to give that section of the rulebook a facelift as well.

Getty Images

Wie has hand surgery, out for rest of 2018

By Randall MellOctober 18, 2018, 9:43 pm

Michelle Wie will miss the rest of this season after undergoing surgery Thursday to fix injuries that have plagued her right hand in the second half of this year.

Wie announced in an Instagram post that three ailments have been causing the pain in her hand: an avulsion fracture, bone spurs and nerve entrapment.

An avulsion fracture is an injury to the bone where it attaches to a ligament or tendon.

View this post on Instagram

I think John Mayer once said, “Someday, everything will make perfect sense. So for now, laugh at the confusion, smile through the tears, be strong and keep reminding yourself that everything happens for a reason.” A lot of people have been asking me what’s been going on with my hand and I haven’t shared much, because I wasn’t sure what was going on myself. After countless MRI’s, X-rays, CT scans, and doctor consultations, I was diagnosed with having a small Avulsion Fracture, bone spurring, and nerve entrapment in my right hand. After 3 cortisone injections and some rest following the British Open, we were hoping it was going to be enough to grind through the rest of the season, but it just wasn’t enough to get me through. So I made the decision after Hana Bank to withdraw from the rest of the season, come back to the states, and get surgery to fix these issues. It’s been disheartening dealing with pain in my hand all year but hopefully I am finally on the path to being and STAYING pain free! Happy to announce that surgery was a success today and I cannot wait to start my rehab so that I can come back stronger and healthier than ever. Huge thank you to Dr. Weiland’s team at HSS for taking great care of me throughout this process and to all my fans for your unwavering support. It truly means the world to me. I’ll be back soon guys!!!! Promise

A post shared by Michelle Wie (@themichellewie) on

Dr. Andrew Weiland, an attending orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, performed the procedure.

“It’s been disheartening dealing with pain in my hand all year, but, hopefully, I am finally on the path to being and staying pain free,” Wie wrote.

Wie withdrew during the first round of the Ricoh Women’s British Open with the hand injury on Aug. 2 and didn’t play again until teeing it up at the UL International Crown two weeks ago and the KEB Hana Bank Championship last week. She played those events with what she hoped was a new “pain-free swing,” one modeled after Steve Stricker, with more passive hands and wrists. She went 1-3 at the UL Crown and tied for 59th in the limited field Hana Bank.

“After 3 cortisone injections and some rest following the British Open, we were hoping it was going to be enough to grind through the rest of the season, but it just wasn’t enough to get me through,” she wrote.

Buick LPGA Shanghai: Articles, photos and videos

Wie, who just turned 29 last week, started the year saying her top goal was to try to stay injury free. She won the HSBC Women’s World Championship in March, but her goal seemed doomed with a diagnosis of arthritis in both wrists before the year even started.

Over the last few years, Wie has dealt with neck, back, hip, knee and ankle injuries. Plus, there was an emergency appendectomy that knocked her out of action for more than a month late last season. Her wrists have been an issue going back to early in her career.

“I don’t think there is one joint or bone in her body that hasn’t had some sort of injury or issue,” Wie’s long-time swing coach, David Leadbetter, said earlier this year.

Getty Images

Woods receives his Tour Championship trophy

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 18, 2018, 8:57 pm

We all know the feeling of giddily anticipating something in the mail. But it's doubtful that any of us ever received anything as cool as what recently showed up at Tiger Woods' Florida digs.

This was Woods' prize for winning the Tour Championship. It's a replica of "Calamity Jane," Bobby Jones' famous putter. Do we even need to point out that the Tour Championship is played at East Lake, the Atlanta course where Jones was introduced to the game.

Woods broke a victory drought of more than five years by winning the Tour Championhip. It was his 80th PGA Tour win, leaving him just two shy of Sam Snead's all-time record.

Getty Images

Garcia 2 back in storm-halted Andalucia Masters

By Associated PressOctober 18, 2018, 7:08 pm

SOTOGRANDE, Spain  -- Ashley Chesters was leading on 5-under 66 at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters when play was suspended because of darkness with 60 golfers yet to complete their weather-hit first rounds on Thursday.

More than four hours was lost as play was twice suspended because of stormy conditions and the threat of lightning at the Real Club Valderrama in southern Spain.

Full-field scores from the Andalucia Valderrama Masters

English journeyman Chesters collected six birdies and one bogey to take a one-shot lead over Gregory Bourdy of France. Tournament host and defending champion Sergio Garcia was on 68 along with fellow Spaniards Alvaro Quiros and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, and Australia's Jason Scrivener.

''It's a shame I can't keep going because the last few holes were the best I played all day. Considering all the delays and everything, I'm very happy with 5 under,'' Chesters said. ''The forecast for the rest of the week is not very good either so I thought I'll just make as many birdies as I can and get in.''

Getty Images

Caddies drop lawsuit; Tour increases healthcare stipend

By Rex HoggardOctober 18, 2018, 3:33 pm

After nearly four years of litigation, a group of PGA Tour caddies have dropped their lawsuit against the circuit.

The lawsuit, which was filed in California in early 2015, centered on the bibs caddies wear during tournaments and ongoing attempts by the caddies to improve their healthcare and retirement options.

The caddies lost their class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court and an appeal this year.

Separately, the Association of Professional Tour Caddies, which was not involved in the lawsuit but represents the caddies to the Tour, began negotiating with the circuit last year.

“I told the guys, if we really want a healthy working relationship with the Tour, we need to fix this and open the lines of communication,” said Scott Sajtinac, the president of the APTC.

In January 2017, Jay Monahan took over as commissioner of the Tour and began working with the APTC to find a solution to the healthcare issue. Sajtinac said the Tour has agreed to increase the stipend it gives caddies for healthcare beginning next year.

“It took a year and a half, but it turned out to be a good result,” Sajtinac said. “Our goal is to close that window for the guys because healthcare is such a massive chunk of our income.”

In a statement released by the Tour, officials pointed out the lawsuit and the “potential increase to the longtime caddie healthcare subsidy” are two separate issues.

“Although these two items have been reported together, they are not connected. The PGA Tour looks forward to continuing to support the caddies in the important role they play in the success of our members,” the statement said.

Caddies have received a stipend from the Tour for healthcare for some time, and although Sajtinac wouldn’t give the exact increase, he said it was over 300 percent. Along with the APTC’s ability to now negotiate healthcare plans as a group, the new stipend should dramatically reduce healthcare costs for caddies.

“It’s been really good,” said Sajtinac, who did add that there are currently no talks with the Tour to created a retirement program for caddies. “Everybody is really excited about this.”