Cut Line Return of the Thrill and the chill

By Rex HoggardFebruary 4, 2011, 9:45 pm
  • Waste Management Phoenix OpenThere will be no cut, or thaw, it seems, on Friday at TPC Scottsdale, but like the festivities at the boisterous 16th hole, “Cut Line” must go on.

Among this week’s “dos” and “don’ts” is a rookie who learned the hard way not to poke a sleeping Tiger and a veteran who seems to have awoken from a long competitive slumber.



Made Cut

Phil the Thrill. Whether Phil Mickelson is prepared to emerge from his post-Masters abyss remains to be seen, but his runner-up showing last week at Torrey Pines was a good sign for Lefty and for golf.

As for those who mistook Lefty’s 72nd hole histrionics for theatrics, know that there was a method to Mickelson’s madness. “If you know how many times in a year he hits the pin it was a no-brainer,” said his caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay of the duo’s decision to tend the pin from 80 yards at the last. “These guys hit flags and we’d be feeling pretty disgusted if it hit the flag and went in the soup.”

Now if Lefty had gone all Babe Ruth from 260 yards on his second shot at No. 18 on Sunday, that would have been over the top.

Featured groups. Last week the new initiative gave us a Tiger Woods-Rocco Mediate reunion at Torrey Pines and fans at TPC Frost Delay, eh . .. Scottsdale were treated to Mickelson-Bubba Watson II for Rounds 1 and 2.

The move has delivered compelling matchups and increased fan interest with little push back from the Tour’s rank-and-file.

In fact, “Cut Line” would like to suggest a couple pairings we’d like to see: Ben Crane and Rory Sabbatini (because slow play jokes never get old), Woods and Brendan Steele (so the rookie can apologize in person), Watson-Martin Kaymer-Dustin Johnson (because Johnson never got his chance at last year’s PGA Championship) and Anthony Kim-Robert Allenby (so AK can beat the Aussie on a full night’s sleep).

Bend it like Bubba. Watson’s second PGA Tour victory was notable for several reasons, but not the least of which was the golf course on which he won.

Torrey Pines’ South Course, although not exactly up to 2008 U.S. Open standards, was dry and fast, which normally wouldn’t suit Watson’s roping style of play. Yet for the week the lanky left-hander ranked first in the field for greens in regulation despite hitting just half his fairways.

“His game is interesting,” said Jhonattan Vegas, who was paired with Watson on Sunday at Torrey. “But nobody said you have to play this game a certain way.”

Translation: repeatable, not pretty, wins.

Tweet of the week: @jamielovemark “Bets for (number) of holes played (Thursday) due to frost. Playing 18 holes: 35/1. Playing 9-17 holes: 12/1, playing <9: 1/1, iPad fully charged: 1/99.”

Odds the rookie resurfaces on “Cut Line’s” Tweet of the Week? Even money.


Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

The man of Steele. As lessons go, this one was particularly harsh. But as many before Brendan Steele have realized (see Ames, Stephen, 2006 WGC-Accenture Match Play) anything having to do with Woods is going to be magnified to the extreme.

It’s little surprise then that the rookie is playing spin control after telling Sports Illustrated last Sunday at Torrey, “I don't think (Woods) gave it everything today. Once it started going in the wrong direction, I don’t think it had his full attention.”

Steele later said his comments were “twisted and misconstrued” and sent a letter of apology to Woods.

By all accounts Steele is a solid sort, which should help him weather the self-inflicted storm. As for Woods, “Cut Line” walked a few holes with the world No. 3 on Sunday and didn’t see a man in a hurry to make a flight, just a player who is adrift in the mean middle ground between a swing that works on the range but only sporadically on the golf course.

The Greatest Party on Grass. Whether you love or hate TPC Scottsdale’s raucous 16th hole, the one-off is an interesting diversion from the norm.

As one Tour veteran told us late Sunday on his way out of San Diego, “Me and TPC Scottsdale haven’t been on speaking terms the last few years.”

Think of the par-3 party as pro golf’s version of cabbage on New Year’s Day, once a year is fine, once a week would be grounds for a hunger strike.


Missed Cut

Designated dilemma. Mickelson said all one needs to know about the failed designated tournament proposal, “There isn't one. There isn't a policy.”

Although PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said he was receiving positive feedback from players who are being asked to voluntarily add an event to their schedule they ordinarily wouldn’t play, Mickelson’s curt take on the voluntary “policy” spoke volumes.

Many observers have likened the proposal to revenue sharing Tour style, saying that a top player may add a wanting event but likely at the expense of a tournament they normally would have played.

What’s next, a lockout?

Official World Golf Ranking. “Cut Line” can’t pretend to understand the math or madness behind the ranking, but the two-year rolling window, aggravated by Woods’ competitive freefall, has created a curious lineup.

Current No. 1 Lee Westwood has just two worldwide wins in the last 12 months, while Martin Kaymer, who can overtake Westwood with a win this week in Qatar, has four “Ws” in the last five months, including his PGA triumph.

Top-10 finishes are fine to measure money list success, but when the debate turns to who is the world’s best at a particular moment it is about victories, particularly victories in majors, that matter. Nothing else.

Getty Images

2018 NCAA Golf Championships TV Schedule

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 21, 2018, 12:29 pm

Golf Channel will shine a spotlight on college golf across the next two weeks at the 2018 NCAA Division I Women’s and Men’s Golf National Championships. With more than 60 hours of live tournament and news coverage on-site from Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater Oklahoma (Monday-Wednesday May 21-23 and May 28-30), Golf Channel’s coverage connects 18 straight days of live tournament golf.

Watch live coverage of the NCAA Golf Championships beginning Monday, May 21 at 4pm ET on Golf Channel and streaming.

Keep up with the social media conversation by following Golf Channel on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Join in by using #NCAAGolf 

Golf Channel NCAA Women’s Golf Championships Coverage (all times ET)

Monday, May 21: Individual National Championship  4-8 p.m. (Live)

Tuesday, May 22:Quarterfinals, Team Match Play 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (Live)

Tuesday, May 22: Semifinals, Team Match Play 4-8 p.m. (Live)

Wednesday, May 23:Team Match Play National Championship 4-8 p.m. (Live)

 

Golf Channel NCAA Men’s Golf Championships Coverage (all times ET)

Monday, May 28: Individual National Championship 4-8 p.m. (Live)

Tuesday, May 29: Quarterfinals, Team Match Play 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (Live)

Tuesday, May 29: Semifinals, Team Match Play 4-8 p.m. (Live)

Wednesday, May 30: Team Match Play National Championship 4-8 p.m. (Live)

Getty Images

AT&T Byron Nelson purse payout: Wise a millionaire

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 21, 2018, 12:05 pm

PGA Tour rookie Aaron Wise earned his first Tour title on Sunday at the AT&T Byron Nelson. Here's a look at how the purse was paid out at Trinity Forest:

1 Aaron Wise -23 $1,386,000
2 Marc Leishman -20 $831,600
T3 Branden Grace -19 $400,400
T3 J.J. Spaun -19 $400,400
T3 Keith Mitchell -19 $400,400
T6 Ryan Blaum -16 $257,950
T6 Kevin Na -16 $257,950
T6 Jimmy Walker -16 $257,950
T9 Adam Scott -15 $207,900
T9 Charles Howell III -15 $207,900
T9 Kevin Tway -15 $207,900
12 Brian Gay -14 $177,100
T13 Rory Sabbatini -13 $148,867
T13 Ethan Tracy -13 $148,867
T13 Matt Jones -13 $148,867
T16 Russell Knox -12 $115,500
T16 Hideki Matsuyama -12 $115,500
T16 Bronson Burgoon -12 $115,500
T16 Derek Fathauer -12 $115,500
T16 Joel Dahmen -12 $115,500
T21 Jordan Spieth -11 $80,080
T21 Billy Horschel -11 $80,080
T21 Robert Garrigus -11 $80,080
T21 Peter Uihlein -11 $80,080
T21 Martin Piller -11 $80,080
T26 Tyler Duncan -10 $55,825
T26 Anirban Lahiri -10 $55,825
T26 Parker McLachlin -10 $55,825
T26 Martin Flores -10 $55,825
T26 J.T. Poston -10 $55,825
T26 Shawn Stefani -10 $55,825
T32 Cody Gribble -9 $39,116
T32 Johnson Wagner -9 $39,116
T32 Geoff Ogilvy -9 $39,116
T32 Nick Taylor -9 $39,116
T32 C.T. Pan -9 $39,116
T32 Scott Piercy -9 $39,116
T32 Nicholas Lindheim -9 $39,116
T32 Fabian Gomez -9 $39,116
T32 Beau Hossler -9 $39,116
T32 Nate Lashley -9 $39,116
T42 Zac Blair -8 $23,184
T42 Abraham Ancer -8 $23,184
T42 Maverick McNealy -8 $23,184
T42 Denny McCarthy -8 $23,184
T42 Jonathan Byrd -8 $23,184
T42 Eric Axley -8 $23,184
T42 Sam Ryder -8 $23,184
T42 Brian Stuard -8 $23,184
T42 J.B. Holmes -8 $23,184
T42 Sung-hoon Kang -8 $23,184
T42 Andrew Putnam -8 $23,184
T53 Ben Crane -7 $17,659
T53 Steve Wheatcroft -7 $17,659
T53 Troy Merritt -7 $17,659
T53 Patrick Rodgers -7 $17,659
T53 Corey Conners -7 $17,659
T53 Robert Streb -7 $17,659
T59 Ryan Armour -6 $16,632
T59 Peter Malnati -6 $16,632
T59 Vaughn Taylor -6 $16,632
T59 Dominic Bozzelli -6 $16,632
T59 Adam Schenk -6 $16,632
T59 Hudson Swafford -6 $16,632
T59 Michael Thompson -6 $16,632
T66 Matt Atkins -5 $15,862
T66 Roberto Diaz -5 $15,862
T66 T.J. Vogel -5 $15,862
69 Sang-Moon Bae -4 $15,554
T70 Tom Lovelady -3 $15,246
T70 Cameron Percy -3 $15,246
T70 Rod Pampling -3 $15,246
73 Brian Davis -1 $14,938
74 Mark Wilson 1 $14,784
75 Robert Allenby 2 $14,630
Getty Images

Howell, Uihlein qualify for U.S. Open via OWGR

By Will GrayMay 21, 2018, 11:02 am

Charles Howell III and Peter Uihlein both used strong play at the AT&T Byron Nelson to maintain their positions inside the top 60 in the latest Official World Golf Ranking, thereby ensuring exemptions to next month's U.S. Open.

Howell moved up three spots to No. 56 in the world thanks to a T-9 finish at Trinity Forest. He'll make his 10th career U.S. Open appearance, but just his second since 2009. Howell missed the cut at Olympic in 2012.

Uihlein finished T-21 in Dallas, which was barely enough to hold onto a top-60 spot as he actually fell two positions to No. 59. The former U.S. Amateur champ will make his third U.S. Open appearance and second in as many years.


Updated Official World Golf Ranking


The drama for the final spot came down to the wire on Sunday, where Adam Scott's bid to unseat Chesson Hadley at No. 60 came up just short. Needing a solo ninth-place finish, Scott ended up in a three-way tie for ninth to begin the new week at No. 61. Hadley, who didn't play the Nelson, remained No. 60 and will make his U.S. Open debut.

Others to punch tickets to Shinnecock Hills include No. 52 Luke List, No. 53 Chez Reavie and No. 57 Dylan Frittelli. A second and final top-60 cutoff will be done based off the June 11 world rankings following the FedEx St. Jude Classic, with U.S. Open sectional qualifying conducted in England and the U.S. on June 4.

The only change among the top 10 in the rankings this week came at No. 10, where Paul Casey moved past Tommy Fleetwood despite an off week for both players. Justin Thomas remains world No. 1 for a second week, followed by Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Jon Rahm and Justin Rose. Rickie Fowler remains No. 6, with Jason Day, Rory McIlroy, Hideki Matsuyama and Casey rounding out the top 10.

Taking the week off following a T-11 finish at The Players Championship, Tiger Woods fell two spots to No. 82.

Getty Images

After Further Review: Nelson lost in the shuffle?

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 21, 2018, 3:40 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the Nelson's future ...

If the goal was “different” by bringing the AT&T Byron Nelson to Trinity Forest, consider it achieved. But bringing a world-class field south of Dallas could still be tricky.

Yes, the tournament can always rely on local resident and AT&T spokesman Jordan Spieth to throw his hat in the ring. But even with Spieth strolling the fairways this week, the field strength was among the worst all season for a full-point event.

The debut of the sprawling, links-like layout likely did little to sway the undecideds, with only the third round offering the challenging conditions that course co-designer Ben Crenshaw had envisioned. And the schedule won’t do them any favors next year, as a revamped itinerary likely puts the Nelson right before the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black.

The course will inevitably get better with age, and Spieth expects positive word of mouth to spread. But it might be a while before the stars truly align for an event that, for the moment, feels lost in the shuffle of a hectic schedule. – Will Gray


On Jordan Spieth's putting ...

Jordan Spieth’s putting is plainly bad right now, but it isn’t going to stay this bad forever.

He is the second ranked player on Tour in strokes gained: tee-to-green, just like he was last year. This putting slump has lingered, but it’s unfathomable to think this guy just forgot how to putt.

Sooner rather than later he’s going to remember he’s Jordan Spieth and the 40-footers are going to start pouring in. He’ll be telling Greller to go get the ball because he’s too far away and the tee is in the other direction.

Bottom line, the ball striking is for real and the putting slump will pass. He’ll win soon – maybe even as soon as this week. – Nick Menta


On golf and gambling ...

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court over tuned a federal ban on sports betting in most states, a move the PGA Tour and many professional sports leagues embraced as a tool to both build fan interest and grow revenue.

Experts estimate sports betting could become a $150-$200 billion annual industry, and even a small piece of that could be significant for golf, but there will be risks.

Unlike any other sport, golf is played on multiple fields simultaneously, which inherently creates risks when gambling is introduced to the equation. Although the Tour has gone to great pains to head off any potential problems, like all bets gambling comes with great rewards, and great risks. – Rex Hoggard