Cut Line: Singh, Paddy part of bizarre week

By Rex HoggardMay 3, 2013, 3:36 pm

Vijay Singh was cleared to play by the PGA Tour’s anti-doping lords, but decided to withdraw from the Wells Fargo Championship; Padraig Harrington doesn’t approve of  long putters, but used one on Thursday at Quail Hollow; and golf’s rule makers approved of Augusta National’s use of Rule 33-7 last month, but have never used the mulligan clause themselves. It’s all part of a bizarro world edition of Cut Line.

Made Cut

Gratitude. This much hasn’t been made of dead grass since the 2004 Shinnecock Hills Open.

A total of eight players withdrew from this week’s Wells Fargo Championship following Friday’s commitment deadline. Perhaps all of those early exits were injury related (Vijay Singh, sore back; Dustin Johnson, irritated left wrist; etc.), but the perception up and down the Quail Hollow Club practice tee this week was that they didn’t want to putt on the course’s less-than-perfect greens.

To be sure, the conditions at Quail Hollow are not what players have come to expect at what qualifies as a bono fide mid-major, but in fairness the course begins a major overhaul on Monday to begin preparations for the 2017 PGA Championship and some moving pains were inevitable.

“This tournament does everything as well as you can do it, whether it's for the fans, whether it's for the players, the media, everything is so good,” Phil Mickelson said. “I hate to see one off-year the tournament take a beating, because this place has meant a lot to the Tour because it's made everybody else compete with this tournament.”

And before we declare the Charlotte gem a goat track, consider that the layout ranked 14th on Tour last year in putting average (1.800). Thursday’s average at the Wells Fargo was 1.844.

There may be greener grass, but not many tournaments that are better than the Wells Fargo.


Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

PGA Tour. Backed into a corner by a suddenly vague testing agency and faced with the unenviable option of suspending a Hall of Famer based on a dubious doping violation Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., played the only hand they had.

The Tour’s decision not to sanction Vijay Singh – who admitted in January to taking a supplement that contained a banned substance (IGF-1) – may leave everyone in search of a shower, but after the World Anti-Doping Agency did an 11th hour head fake it was the lesser of various evils.

The larger concern, however, is the cloud of uncertainty left behind by WADA’s decision. In one breath, the agency told the Tour IGF-1 is “not considered prohibited,” but went on to explain “Players should be warned that in the case of a positive test for IGF-1, or HGH, it would be considered an adverse analytical finding.”

In the world of anti-doping, mixed messages can lead to mangled legacies. And that just won’t do.

Vijay Singh. Maybe the Fijian’s back really did go south this week at Quail Hollow, but there is no escaping the fact that it did so just as the Tour announced it would not be sanctioning him for his use of the infamous deer-antler spray.

Singh doesn’t owe the media, or anyone else, an explanation or a statement regarding his bout with the circuit’s anti-doping laws, but he could certainly aid the healing process with an honest and public account of what transpired.

It seems Singh made an honest mistake and had no interest in gaining a competitive advantage through his use of the deer-antler spray, but even his own frat brothers were left with the feeling that the Tour played favorites.

“I’ve got nothing against Vijay – he’s done a lot; he’s a Hall of Famer – but you just don’t come out and admit that you used a banned substance, then Mr. Finchem and the Tour don’t punish him for it,” Tommy Gainey said Wednesday. “I’ve got a problem with that as a player. Because now it’s on the banned substance list, so there’s no gray area. Either he did or he didn’t. He admitted he did, but he got no punishment. I just think it’s going to open the door for a lot of bad things to happen.”

Maybe a media mea culpa by Singh won’t help that perception, but it can’t hurt.

Tweet of the week: @BobEstesPGA “One of the main lessons to be learned from this whole fiasco is that deer-antler spray (or even the mention of it) is not good for your back.”

Have always been a fan of Estes’ candid take on all things Tour related, but we just realized he’s a “must follow” thanks to missives like this.

Late to the party. Although Padraig Harrington’s decision to add a belly putter to his bag for this week’s stop at Quail Hollow is understandable – he ranks 96th on Tour in strokes-gained putting – the Irishman’s take on the equipment change was all at once enlightening and confusing.

“The R&A and USGA support the Rules of Golf, and (anchoring) is well within the rules,” Harrington said. “I think (anchoring) is bad for the game of golf. But if something’s going to help me for the next 3 ½ years, I’m going to use it. It’s the same as the box grooves. It’s hurt me deeply having the box grooves banned. I knew it wasn’t good for my game, but it was for the good of the game.”

Of course, that he opened with an 80 on Day 1 at Quail Hollow and had 32 putts anecdotally suggests Paddy’s belly putter may not survive 3 ½ years.


Missed Cut

After further review. Tiger Woods’ incorrect drop and the curious decision that led Augusta National to forgo his disqualification at last month’s Masters continues to generate reaction and headlines.

On Wednesday, the USGA and R&A supported the decision and issued a joint statement on the issue.

“Given the unusual combination of facts – as well as the fact that nothing in the existing rules or decisions specifically addressed such circumstances of simultaneous competitor error and committee error – the committee reasonably exercised its discretion under Rule 33-7 to waive the penalty of disqualification,' the statement read in part.

While it is encouraging to see golf’s power brokers agree on, well  . . . anything these days, it is curious that the decision came a full 19 days after the offending drop by Woods. It also should be pointed out this is not the “joint statement” we were expecting from the USGA and R&A. #Anchoring?

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Texas Open purse payout: Landry doubles earnings

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 23, 2018, 11:42 am

Andrew Landry won the Valero Texas Open for his first career PGA Tour victory. In the process, he doubled his season earnings. Here's a look at how the purse was paid out at TPC San Antonio.

1 Andrew Landry -17 $1,116,000
T2 Trey Mullinax -15 $545,600
T2 Sean O'Hair -15 $545,600
4 Jimmy Walker -14 $297,600
5 Zach Johnson -13 $248,000
6 Joaquin Niemann -12 $223,200
7 Ryan Moore -11 $207,700
T8 Chris Kirk -10 $179,800
T8 Andrew Putnam -10 $179,800
T8 Kevin Streelman -10 $179,800
T11 Ben Crane -9 $136,400
T11 Billy Horschel -9 $136,400
T11 Martin Laird -9 $136,400
T11 Richy Werenski -9 $136,400
15 Brandt Snedeker -8 $111,600
T16 Aaron Baddeley -7 $96,100
T16 David Hearn -7 $96,100
T16 Grayson Murray -7 $96,100
T16 Vaughn Taylor -7 $96,100
T20 Dylan Frittelli -5 $67,167
T20 Retief Goosen -5 $67,167
T20 Chesson Hadley -5 $67,167
T20 Denny McCarthy -5 $67,167
T20 Johnson Wagner -5 $67,167
T20 Nick Watney -5 $67,167
T26 Corey Conners -4 $46,810
T26 Jim Furyk -4 $46,810
T26 Keith Mitchell -4 $46,810
T26 J.J. Spaun -4 $46,810
T30 Kevin Chappell -3 $37,665
T30 Austin Cook -3 $37,665
T30 Ernie Els -3 $37,665
T30 Jamie Lovemark -3 $37,665
T30 J.T. Poston -3 $37,665
T30 Brendan Steele -3 $37,665
T36 Zac Blair -2 $26,694
T36 Harris English -2 $26,694
T36 Jason Kokrak -2 $26,694
T36 Nicholas Lindheim -2 $26,694
T36 Troy Merritt -2 $26,694
T36 Sam Ryder -2 $26,694
T36 Ollie Schniederjans -2 $26,694
T36 Brian Stuard -2 $26,694
T36 Kevin Tway -2 $26,694
T45 Keegan Bradley -1 $17,732
T45 K.J. Choi -1 $17,732
T45 Si Woo Kim -1 $17,732
T45 Hunter Mahan -1 $17,732
T45 Ben Martin -1 $17,732
T45 Ben Silverman -1 $17,732
T51 Ricky Barnes E $14,508
T51 Zecheng Dou E $14,508
T51 Beau Hossler E $14,508
T51 Matt Kuchar E $14,508
T51 Danny Lee E $14,508
T51 David Lingmerth E $14,508
T51 Graeme McDowell E $14,508
T58 Abraham Ancer 1 $13,578
T58 Lanto Griffin 1 $13,578
T58 Anirban Lahiri 1 $13,578
T58 Adam Schenk 1 $13,578
T58 Daniel Summerhays 1 $13,578
T58 Julian Suri 1 $13,578
T64 Joshua Creel 2 $12,958
T64 Charley Hoffman 2 $12,958
T64 Peter Malnati 2 $12,958
T64 Andrew Yun 2 $12,958
T68 Matt Atkins 4 $12,462
T68 Steve Marino 4 $12,462
T68 Rod Pampling 4 $12,462
T68 Michael Thompson 4 $12,462
72 Ethan Tracy 8 $12,152
MDF Cameron Champ 2 $11,966
MDF Xander Schauffele 2 $11,966
MDF Joel Dahmen 3 $11,594
MDF Bill Haas 3 $11,594
MDF Brandon Harkins 3 $11,594
MDF Hudson Swafford 3 $11,594
MDF John Senden 4 $11,284
MDF Brice Garnett 8 $11,160
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M. Jutanugarn finally joins sister in LPGA winner's circle

By Associated PressApril 23, 2018, 1:42 am

LOS ANGELES - Moriya Jutanugarn won the Hugel-JTBC L.A. Open by two shots for her first victory in six years on the LPGA Tour, joining sister Ariya as the second siblings to win on the tour.

The 23-year-old from Thailand shot a 3-under 68 for a 12-under 272 total Sunday at Wilshire Country Club in the tour's return to Los Angeles after a 13-year absence.

Jutanugarn won in her 156th start after three career runner-up finishes, including at the Honda LPGA Thailand in February. She had 21 top-10 finishes before winning.

Seven-time winner Ariya tied for 24th after a 70. She joined the predominantly Asian crowd to follow her older sister's final holes, crying as Moriya two-putted to close out the win.

Annika and Charlotta Sorenstam were the first sisters to win on the LPGA Tour.

Hall of Famer Inbee Park shot a 68 to tie for second with Jin Young Ko (70).

Park had opportunities, but she wasn't able to put pressure on Jutanugarn playing in the final threesome. However, Park will return to No. 1 in the world when the rankings come out Monday, knocking off top-ranked Shenshen Fang, who tied for 12th.


Full-field scores from the Hugel-JTBC Open


Jutanugarn began the final round with a two-shot lead and never wavered in fulfilling the potential she first displayed as the LPGA Rookie of the Year in 2013. After a birdie at the second hole, she reeled off nine consecutive pars before sinking birdie putts at 12 and 13.

She overcame a tee shot that narrowly missed going out of bounds for another birdie at 15 to lead by three.

Jutanugarn ran into trouble on the par-4 16th. Her approach landed on the green and rolled off it, stopping inches from dropping into a bunker. Her chip shot ran well past the hole and her par putt just missed catching the edge of the cup. That left her with a short putt for bogey, her first in her previous 28 holes, trimming her lead to two shots.

Ko's tee shot on 18 landed about 4 feet from the hole, giving her a chance to cut Jutanugarn's lead to one shot with the Thai facing a long birdie attempt.

But Ko missed, leaving Jutanugarn room to maneuver. Her birdie putt came up a couple feet short, but she calmly parred the hole to win. Ariya rushed onto the green and joined others in emptying water bottles on her sister before they embraced.

So Yeon Ryu (68) finished fourth at 7 under. American Emma Talley (67) and Eun-Hee Ji (71) tied for fifth at 6 under, making Ji one of four South Koreans to place in the top five.

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After Further Review: Tour players embracing new ideas

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 23, 2018, 1:26 am

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

On players embracing new ideas on the PGA Tour ...

PGA Tour players are trying to tell commissioner Jay Monahan something: They like new.

In the second year of the two-man team format at the Zurich Classic, 10 of the top 14 players in the world have signed up, including all four reigning major champions. It’s the first time all four have been in the same field since the Tour Championship. If the laid-back event offered world-ranking points – it doesn’t, and that’s part of the appeal – the winner would have received 62 points. That’s the same as the Genesis Open.

Sure, some sponsor obligations are involved in boosting the field here, but there’s no other way to look at this: Today’s PGA Tour players are not only willing to play events that are a departure from the 72-hole, stroke-play norm. They’re encouraging it. - Ryan Lavner


On Moriya Jutanugarn's breakthrough win ...

As much love as there is between the Jutanugarn sisters, it couldn’t have been easy for Moriya, watching her baby sister, Ariya, soar past her as one of the LPGA’s dominant stars the last few years. Mo, though, never betrayed an inkling of frustration or envy.

That’s what made Mo’s breakthrough LPGA victory Sunday at the Hugel-JTBC LA Open especially meaningful for everyone who has admired Mo’s devotion to her sister. Mo was always a fixture, waiting in the wings to celebrate whenever Ariya hoisted a trophy.

So emotions were high late Sunday, with Ariya waiting in the wings this time, with Ariya sobbing in Mo’s arms after the victory was secured. It was heartwarming for more than Apple, the mother who raised these talented, loving sisters. As always, Apple was there, too, soaking both her daughters in tears of joy. – Randall Mell


On the tough scheduling decisions facing the PGA Tour ...

According to multiple sources, officials at Colonial are poised to announce a new sponsorship agreement with Charles Schwab Corporation on Monday.

While this is good news for the folks in Fort Worth, Texas, who were in danger of finding themselves on the wrong side of timing, there remain some tough decisions to be made in the next few weeks.

If the PGA Tour’s plan is to end its season before Labor Day beginning in 2019, something must give. Currently, the Houston Open, a staple on Tour since 1946, and The National are without sponsors. When the music stops in a few weeks and the circuit announces the ’19 schedule, there’s a good chance one, or both, of those events will be the victims of bad timing. – Rex Hoggard

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Triplett hole-out wins Legends of Golf playoff

By Associated PressApril 23, 2018, 12:12 am

RIDGEDALE, Mo. - Kirk Triplett holed out from a bunker for birdie on the first playoff hole Sunday in the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf to lift himself and partner Paul Broadhurst past Bernhard Langer and Tom Lehman.

''Well, you're trying to make it, but you know realistically it doesn't go in very often,'' Triplett said. ''You're trying to give your partner a free run at it. You don't want to hit it up there 20 feet past or do something silly. I'm just trying to hit it the right distance and get it on the right line.''

Langer and Lehman took it in stride.

''You kind of learn to expect it,'' Lehman said. ''These guys out here are so good and Kirk Triplett is a magician around the greens. The odds of making that shot are probably not good, but you certainly expect him to hit a great shot and he did and it went in.''

Lehman and Langer missed birdie putts after Triplett holed out.

''I kind of felt like we both hit pretty good putts, misread them, both of them,'' Lehman said. ''I hit mine probably too hard and Bernhard's was too soft, but you have to hand it to the guys who hit the shot when they have to hit it.''


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


Broadhurst and Triplett closed with a 6-under 48 on the Top of the Rock par-3 course to match Langer and Lehman at 24 under. Langer and Lehman had a 47, playing the front nine in alternate shot and the back nine in better ball.

The 56-year-old Triplett won his sixth PGA Tour Champions title.

''That's a big roller-coaster - three good shots and mine, right?'' Triplett said. ''I'm feeling a little dejected walking down that fairway there, a little sheepish. To knock it in it just reminds you, this game, you know, crazy stuff.''

Broadhurst claimed his third senior victory.

''I don't get too emotional, but that was something special,'' the 52-year-old Englishman said.

Spanish stars Miguel Angel Jimenez and Jose Maria Olazabal had a 48 to tie for third with 2017 winners Vijay Singh and Carlos Franco. Singh and Franco, the third-round leaders, shot 50.

Mark Calcavecchia-Woody Austin (48), John Daly-Michael Allen (49), Steve Stricker-Jerry Kelly (50) and David Toms-Steve Flesch (52) tied for fifth at 20 under.