Cut Line: Rory, Jack and gym time

By Rex HoggardSeptember 16, 2016, 4:49 pm

The PGA Tour takes a pause in the action before next week’s season finale, but Cut Line remains on the clock.

Made Cut

Picking your battles. Rory McIlroy has endured his share of slings and arrows this season, with much of the criticism focused on a pedestrian putter.

But after winning the Deutsche Bank Championship earlier this month, the Northern Irishman said it wasn’t the criticism about his putting that has bothered him as much as the second-guessing about his fitness program this season.

“For me getting in the gym, that's my pet peeve,” McIlroy said. “Someone that says to me you're in the gym too much, the reason that I play at such a high level, and hopefully will continue to play at a high level for the next 10, 15 years is because of the work I did in the gym.”

On some fronts, the modern tour player’s affinity for fitness is seen as a generational divide, but this week Jack Nicklaus had a slightly different take on the subject.

“When I grew up not even the football players lifted weights,” Nicklaus told ESPN Radio 980 in Washington, D.C. “My workout was playing other sports, today guys get into the single-minded, one-sport routine, I can’t stand that. Most athletes are gravitating to golf because it is such a difficult sport.”

Nicklaus’ take was neither an endorsement for nor an indictment against fitness, just a balanced perspective from someone who knows.

Two-way traffic. After nearly 10 years of tinkering the Tour seems to have found a balance between too much volatility and not enough movement in the playoffs.

Five players moved into the top 100 on the points list at The Barclays, six broke into the top 70 at the Deutsche Bank Championship and four cracked the top 30 with their play at the BMW Championship.

“I think we have it right now, or at least close to right,” Kevin Streelman said. “The movement seems about right, we had it a little too volatile a few years back and not enough movement at the beginning. You need to perform in the playoffs to move on.”

Finding a balance between rewarding regular-season play and the essence of a playoff has always been a challenge for golf, and there are some who still contend there’s too much movement. But at the moment, give the Tour credit for pulling off the unlikely – making (almost) everyone happy.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Center stage. For a tour that sometimes gets lost on a crowded golf calendar, this week’s Evian Championship is a chance for the LPGA’s best to savor a solo moment in the spotlight.

Thanks to the pre-Tour Championship “off week,” the LPGA’s Grand Slam finale in France is an opportunity for the circuit to make a statement without the distraction of a competing PGA Tour event.

That’s not always the case for the LPGA’s top events. The ANA Inspiration was played the week before the Masters this season; the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship was played the week before the U.S. Open; the U.S. Women’s Open was played the week before the Open Championship; and the Women’s British Open was held the same week as the PGA Championship.

The modern calendar makes its difficult for the LGPA to separate itself from the game’s other marquee events, but this week should give officials motivation to be more flexible and creative in the future with scheduling.

Pick of the bunch. If Monday’s captain’s picks for the U.S. Ryder Cup team didn’t exactly ring of a fresh start it’s because the three selections were well short of groundbreaking.

Captain Davis Love III went with Rickie Fowler (who was a pick in 2010), Matt Kuchar and J.B. Holmes (a pick in 2008). If’s far too early to consider Love’s picks either mistake or masterpiece, let there play decide that, but it is clear the bold choices some expected following last year’s Ryder Cup task force felt more like the status quo on Monday.

Love has a final pick to make following next week’s Tour Championship, and Captain America could still surprise some with that 11th-hour selection. But for now, the new-look U.S. team looks a lot like the old versions.

Missed Cut

Odds and ends. Dustin Johnson’s three-stroke victory at last week’s BMW Championship was the likely walk-off in the Player of the Year race, with the bomber grabbing his third Tour victory to tie Jason Day, with DJ holding a U.S. Open high card.

It is strange, however, that there’s not as much of a consensus for the Rookie of the Year race. Emiliano Grillo would seem to be the easy choice. The Argentine won his first start as a Tour member last fall at the Open, finished runner-up at The Barclays and, along with Si Woo Kim, is one of just two rookies to advance to the Tour Championship.

Despite that resume, a recent poll by your scribe indicated that Grillo was not a lock for the Rookie of the Year award, with some players mentioning Smylie Kaufman, who also won on Tour this season but finished the year 43rd on the FedEx Cup points list. Kim, who rallied late in the season with a victory at the Wyndham Championship, is also getting some RoY attention.

Kaufman is one of the Tour’s bright young players and enjoys an enthusiastic fan base, but this is not a popularity contest. Box up the RoY award and send it to Grillo.

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M. Jutanugarn eyeing first win with L.A. Open lead

By Associated PressApril 21, 2018, 1:50 am

LOS ANGELES - Moriya Jutanugarn took the lead into the weekend at the Hugel-JTBC L.A. Open in her latest bid to join younger sister Ariya as an LPGA winner.

Moriya Jutanugarn shot a bogey-free 5-under 66 on Friday at Wilshire Country Club to get to 8-under 134 in the LPGA Tour's first event in Los Angeles since 2005. The 23-year-old from Thailand started fast with birdies on the par-5 second, par-4 third and par-3 fourth and added two more on the par-4 11th and par-5 13th.

Ariya Jutanugarn has seven LPGA victories.

Marina Alex was second after a 68.

Full-field scores from the Hugel-JTBC Open

So Yeon Ryu was 6 under after a 69, and fellow South Korean players Inbee Park(71) and Eun-Hee Ji (69). Park was the first-round leader at 66. Lexi Thompsonwas 3 under after a 71.

Top-ranked Shanshan Feng followed her opening 74 with a 67 to get to 1 under.

Ariya Jutanugarn (71) was even par, and Michelle Wie (70) was 1 over. Brooke Henderson, the Canadian star who won last week in Hawaii, had a 79 to miss the cut.

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Garcia tosses driver, misses Valero cut

By Will GrayApril 21, 2018, 1:00 am

It wasn't quite to the level of his watery meltdown earlier this month at the Masters, but Sergio Garcia still got frustrated during the second round of the Valero Texas Open - and his driver paid the price.

Garcia had a hand in redesigning the AT&T Oaks Course along with Greg Norman several years ago, but this marked his first return to TPC San Antonio since 2010. After an opening-round 74, Garcia arrived to the tee of the short par-4 fifth hole and decided to get aggressive with driver in hand.

When his shot sailed well left, a heated Garcia chucked the club deep into the bushes that lined the tee box:

It took considerable effort for Garcia to find and retrieve the club amid the branches, and once he did things only got worse. He appeared to shank a chip once he got up to his ball, leading to a bogey on one of the easiest holes on a demanding track.

Garcia closed out his round with four straight pars, and at 2 over he eventually missed the cut by a shot. It marks the first time he has missed consecutive cuts on the PGA Tour since 2003, when he sat out the weekend at the AT&T Byron Nelson, Fort Worth Invitational and Memorial Tournament in successive weeks.

Garcia entered the week ranked No. 10 in the world, and he was the only top-20 player among the 156-man field. He missed the cut at the Masters in defense of his title after carding an octuple-bogey 13 on the 15th hole during the opening round.

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Johnson, Moore co-lead Valero Texas Open through 36

By Associated PressApril 21, 2018, 1:00 am

SAN ANTONIO - Zach Johnson was going nowhere in the Valero Texas Open when it all changed with one putt.

He made an 8-foot par putt on the 13th hole of the opening round to stay at 2 under. He followed with a big drive, a hybrid into 12 feet and an eagle. Johnson was on his way, and he kept right on going Friday to a 7-under 65 and a share of the 36-hole lead with Ryan Moore.

''You just never know. That's the beauty of this game,'' Johnson said. ''I felt like I was hitting some solid shots and wasn't getting rewarded, and you've just got to stay in it. You've got to persevere, grind it out, fight for pars. You just never know.''

Moore had three birdies over his last five holes for a 67 and joined Johnson at 9-under 135.

They had a one-shot lead over Grayson Murray (69) and Andrew Landry (67).

Ben Crane (66), Martin Laird (65) and David Hearn (68) were three shots behind. Billy Horschel and Keegan Bradley shot 71 and were four shots behind at 5-under 139.

Full-field scores from the Valero Texas Open

Valero Texas Open: Articles, photos and videos

Sergio Garcia, who consulted Greg Norman on the design of the AT&T Oaks Course at the TPC San Antonio, had a short stay in his first time at the Texas Open since 2010. Garcia shot an even-par 72, and at one point became so frustrated he threw his driver into the shrubs.

Garcia finished at 2-over 146 and missed the cut.

It was the first time since 2010 that Garcia missed the cut in successive starts. That was the PGA Championship and, 10 weeks later, the Castello Masters in Spain. This time, he missed the cut in the Masters and Texas Open three weeks apart.

Johnson, a two-time winner of the Texas Open, appeared to be headed to a short week until the key par save on the 13th hole, followed by his eagle, par and three straight birdies. He began the second round Friday with five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine, a sixth birdie on the par-4 first hole, and then an eagle on the short par-4 fifth when he holed out from a greenside bunker.

The only sour taste to his second round was a three-putt bogey from about 30 feet on his final hole. Even so, the view was much better than it was Thursday afternoon.

Moore thought he had wasted a good birdie opportunity on the par-5 14th hole when he left his 50-foot eagle putt about 6 feet short. But he made that, and then holed a similar putt from 8 feet for birdie on the next hole and capped his good finish with a 15-foot putt on the 17th.

''That was a huge momentum putt there,'' Moore said of the 14th. ''It was a tough putt from down there with a lot of wind. That green is pretty exposed and ... yeah, really short and committed to that second putt really well and knocked it right in the middle.''

The birdies on the 14th and 15th were important to Moore because he missed a pair of 10-foot birdie tries to start the back nine.

''So it was nice to get those and get going in the right direction on the back,'' he said.

The cut was at 1-over 145, and because 80 players made the cut, there will be a 54-hole cut on Saturday.

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Daly-Allen team grabs Legends of Golf lead on Day 2

By Associated PressApril 20, 2018, 11:14 pm

RIDGEDALE, Mo. - John Daly and Michael Allen took the second-round lead Friday in the cool and breezy Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf.

Daly and Allen shot an 8-under 46 on the Top of the Rock par-3 course with wind gusting to 15 mph and the temperature only in the high-50s at Big Cedar Lodge. They had three birdies on the front nine in alternate-shot play and added five more on the back in better-ball play to get to 13 under.

''Michael and I go back to the South African days in the late 80s and playing that tour,'' Daly said. ''We've been buddies since. He's just fun to play with. We feed off each other pretty good. And if he's not comfortable guinea-pigging on one hole, I'll go first.''

On Thursday, they opened with a 66 on the regulation Buffalo Ridge course. They will rotate to the 13-hole Mountain Top par-3 course on Saturday, and return to Top of the Rock for the final round Sunday.

''I went to high school in Jeff City, so it's cool to have the fans behind us,'' Daly said.

Allen won the PGA Tour Champions team event with David Frost in 2012 and Woody Austin in 2016.

''I'm just here to free up John,'' Allen said. ''It was fun. Luckily, I started making good putts today. We just want to keep the good times rolling.''

Full-field scores from the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf

Defending champions Vijay Singh and Carlos Franco were a stroke back along with Bernhard Langer-Tom Lehman and Paul Broadhurst-Kirk Triplett. Singh and Franco had a 7-under 32 in best-ball play at Mountain Top, and Lehman-Langer and Broadhurst-Tripplet each shot 6-under 48 at Top of the Rock.

''Part of the issue here is all the tees are elevated, so you're up high hitting to a green that's down below and the wind is blowing, and there is more time for that wind to affect it,'' Lehman said. ''If you guess wrong on the wind, you can hit a really good shot and kind of look stupid.''

Former UCLA teammates Scott McCarron and Brandt Jobe were two strokes back at 11 under with Steve Flesch and David Toms and the Spanish side of Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez. McCarron-Jobe had a 47, and Jimenez-Olazabal a 48 at Top of the Rock, and Tom Flesch shot 34 at Mountain Top.

First-round leaders Jeff Maggert and Jesper Parnevik had a 52 at Top of the Rock to fall three shots back at 10 under. Madison, Wisconsin, friends Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly also were 10 under after a 32 at Mountain Top. Jay Haas aced the 131-yard seventh hole at Mountain Top with a gap wedge. Haas and fellow 64-year-old Peter Jacobsen were 8 under after a 32.