Cut Line: Plenty of short stories in golf

By Rex HoggardApril 15, 2016, 6:23 pm

This week’s edition of Cut Line focuses on short stories – like Harbour Town’s comparatively short, 6,973-yard test, Vijay Singh’s short-sighted Olympic decision, and Dawie van der Walt’s short fuse.

Made Cut

Safe Harbour (Town). Last week at Augusta National, Jack Nicklaus made what has become his annual stand against distance gains and the length modern pros hit the golf ball.

“I think with the length the guys hit today, the simplest solution is change the frigging golf ball,” Nicklaus said. “The golf ball goes so far. Augusta National is about the only place, the only golf course in the world, that financially can afford to make the changes that they have to keep up with the golf ball.”

Although no one is disputing the Golden Bear’s take, it is worth pointing out that there is still a place in the game for the short and subtle.

The par-3 12th hole at Augusta National, the shortest hole on the iconic golf course at 155 yards, decided the outcome of the Masters when Jordan Spieth deposited two golf balls in Rae’s Creek.

And at only 6,973 yards, Harbour Town, among the Tour’s shortest layouts and the site of this week's RBC Heritage, regularly proves a worthy test of the game’s best.

“It's a classic Pete Dye, one of his earlier [designs],” first-round co-leader Luke Donald said. “Not very long, small greens. You get some wind here. Anywhere from 10 to 14 [under] wins here. He had a blank canvas to work on Whistling Straits - 8,000 yards, bunkers everywhere, and what does Jason Day shoot? It's built to be a major championship and he shoots 20 under.”

Length has always been an advantage in golf, but there is still something to be said for big things coming in small packages.

The Bohn Revival. Jason Bohn, who ordinarily would not be considered one of the sullen types on Tour, was particularly bouncy this week at the RBC Heritage.

The 42-year-old was making his first start since suffering a heart attack in February at the Honda Classic, and the opportunity to return to the Tour was something to be savored.

“The opportunity that I have to play again is huge,” Bohn said. “The fact that I did it this quickly is a little surprising to me. I thought I might be out for a few months. Very grateful and thrilled to be here.”

According to Bohn’s doctors, the two-time Tour winner’s left anterior descending artery, also known as the “widow maker,” was 99 percent blocked and he needed surgery to insert a stent.

Bohn has never been the type of player lacking  perspective, but his brush with mortality certainly gave him a reason to expand his outlook.

“It's definitely put life into a bigger picture, just realizing how quickly it can all go away,” he said.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Olympic games. With the notable exception of Adam Scott, players likely bound for this year’s Olympics have said all the right things, explaining the importance of golf’s return to the Games and the benefits of playing for country and medals.

This week, however, Vijay Singh broke rank and – along with Miguel Angel Jimenez, the first alternate for Spain – withdrew his name from the Olympic pool.

“The timing of it, you know I have to focus over here [the PGA Tour]. I would like to play the Olympics, but the Zika virus, you know and all that crap,” Singh told Golf

Singh also mentioned the distance athletes will have to travel to participate in this year’s Rio Games as a reason to skip the Olympics, and it’s hard to question the Fijian’s decision.

Still, for Olympic organizers Singh’s withdrawal may set a dangerous precedent for other players who have said all the right things publicly, but privately questioned many aspects of this year’s Games.

Captain conundrum. This week’s announcement that Steve Stricker will captain the U.S. Presidents Cup team next year was met with a chorus of kudos from those he may lead next fall at Liberty National in New Jersey, but the move did prompt other questions.

Stricker was named one of Davis Love III’s vice captains for this year’s Ryder Cup and would seem to fall into a legacy role as a future Ryder Cup captain.

The problem is this: Only Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus have captained both teams, and on both occasions they led the Presidents Cup squad after taking their turns as Ryder Cup captains.

“I think what we went through with the task force and the committee, we're going to look at the most qualified guy, no matter what,” Love said this week. “I think when you've seen the last two Ryder Cups are [Tom] Watson and me, it's a blank sheet of paper.”

Stricker would be a popular choice in either role, and it turns out he may be a trail blazer.

Missed Cut

Tweet of the week: @Dawie1983 (Dawie van der Walt): “Gota [sic] love a guy who gets an invite into a Tour event and then WD after the first round. #hangitupmike”

The South African was referring to Mike Weir, who was playing this week’s RBC Heritage on a sponsor exemption but withdrew from the event after an opening 78.

Van der Walt, the second alternate into this week’s field, didn’t end up getting a tee time at Harbour Town and frustration boiled over onto social media. He later clarified his statement with a second tweet, “I should not have said that, it’s nothing against [Weir] it’s just you’re hurt and WD and other could have played.”

For Weir, who has dealt with a litany of injuries in recent years, his withdrawal is hardly surprising or suspect, and van der Walt’s frustration seemed to have less to do with Weir than it does an increasingly limited schedule for Tour graduates as the circuit inches toward the summer months.

Riding the bench is never easy for an athlete. Doing so with access to Twitter can be explosive.

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Rose's Saturday 64 matches Carnoustie Open record

By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 1:03 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Justin Rose needed to sink a 14-foot putt on the final hole Friday just to make the cut on the number at The Open.

Freewheeling when he came to the course Saturday, Rose tied the lowest score ever recorded in an Open at Carnoustie.

Entering the weekend nine shots off the lead, the world No. 3 carded a bogey-free, 7-under 64 to at least make things interesting. It won’t be known for several hours how many shots Rose will be behind, but his back-nine 30 gives him an opportunity, if the wind blows 25 mph Sunday as forecast, to challenge the leaders.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

After all, Paul Lawrie was 10 shots back entering the final round here in 1999.

“I think the birdie on 18 last night freed me up, and I’m just very happy to be out on this golf course and not down the road somewhere else this morning,” said Rose, who is at 4-under 209. “So that might have been part of the shift in mindset today. I had nothing to lose from that point of view.”

Rose’s 64 matched Steve Stricker and Richard Green’s record score at Carnoustie (2007).

It also was Rose’s career-low round in a major.

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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 21, 2018, 12:45 pm

Tiger Woods, in search of his 15th career major championship title, started the weekend six off the lead at Carnoustie. We're tracking him in Round 3 of The Open.

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Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 12:20 pm

NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

Saturday, Day 3 (Times ET)

4:30-7AM (Watch): Sunny skies and birdies were on the menu early in Round 3, as Justin Rose made his way around Carnoustie in 64 strokes. Click here or on the image below to watch.

Friday, Day 2 (Times ET)

8:20AM-3PM (Watch): As the skies cleared on Friday afternoon, defending champion Jordan Spieth made a run to try and regain the claret jug. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

1:30-8:20AM (Watch): On a rainy Friday morning at Carnoustie, Rory McIlroy shot 69 to reach 4 under, while Zach Johnson fired a 67 for the early lead. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Brooks Koepka, Ian Poulter and Cameron Smith.

Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.

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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 8:30 am

You want to watch the 147th Open? Here’s how you can do it.

Golf Channel and NBC Sports will be televising 182 hours of overall programming from the men's third major of the year at Carnoustie

In addition to the traditional coverage, the two networks will showcase three live alternate feeds: marquee groups, featured holes (our new 3-hole channel) and spotlight action. You can also watch replays of full-day coverage, Thursday-Sunday, in the Golf Channel app, NBC Sports apps, and on  

Here’s the weekly TV schedule, with live stream links in parentheses. You can view all the action on the Golf Channel mobile, as well. Alternate coverage is noted in italics:

(All times Eastern; GC=Golf Channel; NBC=NBC Sports; or check the GLE app)

Monday, July 16

GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (

GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (

GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (

Tuesday, July 17

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

Wednesday, July 18

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

Thursday, July 19

GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (

GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

Friday, July 20

GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

Saturday, July 21

GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (

Sunday, July 22

GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM ( Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (