Cut Line Slow Play Slow Learner

By Rex HoggardOctober 22, 2010, 10:02 pm
Consider this week’s “Cut Line” the year’s tortoise edition as one of the longest seasons comes to a sluggish conclusion. From slow play in Bermuda to a slow learner in Las Vegas what golf needs now more than ever is European Tour official John Paramor’s stopwatch, or a fast-forward button.

Made Cut

Links golf. It’s always been one of life’s true mysteries, like Lady Gaga and stroke-and-distance penalties, that the Scottish Open has been played on a distinctly parkland layout for the better part of two decades.

But that idiosyncrasy seems certain to change thanks to ongoing financial troubles at Loch Lomond, the event’s current venue, and the sponsor’s desire to attract a better field the week before the Open Championship.

“Barclays would like us to play the event on a links course in the hope of attracting a more world-class field,” European Tour director Keith Waters said. “Even though we have an agreement with Barclays up to and including 2012, we know they want to go beyond that. So if we can move quickly the 2011 Scottish Open will be played elsewhere.”

Now, if only someone would explain Lady Gaga to us.

Memorials. It’s been an emotional few days for PGA Tour types.

On Oct. 14 Bubba Watson’s father, Gerry, died after a lengthy battle with throat cancer, and early Thursday morning Shaun Micheel’s mother, Donna, passed away due to complications from lung cancer.

“Every day that we have her on this earth is a blessing,' Micheel said at the John Deere Classic earlier this year.

Nothing puts golf in perspective like losing a loved one.
Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

WGC-HSBC Champions. Next week’s Shanghai stop seems to have it all – a stellar field that will include Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, a $7 million purse and a cozy spot within the World Golf Championship fold.

The event’s official money asterisk, however, continues to loom. Although an HSBC victory is considered official, money earned does not count toward a player’s Tour earnings.

Officials made the distinction because holding such an event the week before the Tour finale at Disney could cause upheaval on the money list, but HSBC deserves better. Either find a better date for the event or count it toward next year’s money list and leave the gray area to the lawyers.
Missed Cut

Slow play. When a fourball of the game’s best players, none of whom were named Kevin Na or Ben Crane, can’t cover 18 holes on an otherwise deserted golf course in less than five hours it’s time to stop pointing fingers and start coming up with solutions.

Ernie Els, Martin Kaymer, David Toms and Graeme McDowell needed five hours, 16 minutes to play the first round at this week’s PGA Grand Slam of Golf in Bermuda without another soul on the golf course and an army of forecaddies helping them along.

Note to the PGA of America, which runs the Grand Slam as well as the Ryder Cup and PGA Championship, if you really want to grow the game it’s time to do something about slow play. You’re on the clock.

Tweet of the week: ogilviej (Joe Ogilvie): “Skycaddie saves 15-20 minutes off a round of Tour golf. No brainer. Golf hates technology, I get it, but also a realist. Downside is zero.”

Enablers. We addressed this in last week’s edition but felt it was worth revisiting as golf’s Fall Classic gets underway this week at first stage sites from Kannapolis, N.C., to Santee, Calif.

For the fifth consecutive year John Daly is poised to finish outside the top 125 in earnings and for the fifth consecutive year the big man has taken a pass on Q-School.

“I don’t know why you wouldn’t (play Q-School),” David Duval, who played Q-School last year, told the Associated Press.

“You do what you need to if you’re serious about playing great golf. I’m sure at some point, the people at these tournaments who decide on sponsor exemptions look at who goes to Q-School and tries to do it themselves. Because they know you’re working, you’re going. You’ve got to make an effort on your own. Some people don’t even try.”

Daly, hardly the only Tour type to shun Q-School but easily the most high profile, is culpable of indifference at best and self-entitlement at worst, but tournament directors who continue to dole out exemptions to the likes of Daly also deserve part of the blame. We believe the term is enabling.

Anthony Kim. We’ve seen this act before. So had Robert Allenby, which is why he referred to AK at the 2009 Presidents Cup as the “current John Daly” and suggested Kim had been out until 4 a.m. the night before the duo’s singles match at Harding Park.

We’ve also seen Kim denounce the high life for the straight and narrow before, all of which makes this week’s late-night lapse in Las Vegas seem sadly familiar. According to reports in the Las Vegas Review-Journal Kim was admonished for being loud and rowdy at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino late Monday night.

“Anthony Kim is an animal 115 bottles then to top it off a 25k bottle of Dom, which he showered the dance floor with,” Palms Casino’s DJ Exodus tweeted at 3:02 a.m. Tuesday.

Kim, who later withdrew from this week’s Las Vegas Tour stop citing a lingering thumb injury, is a grown man and can live his life however he wishes, but the sad sequel seems like such a waste.
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Alabama faces 'buzzsaw' Arizona for NCAA title

By Ryan LavnerMay 23, 2018, 2:00 am

STILLWATER, Okla. – There was no way Laura Ianello could sleep Monday night, not after that dramatic ending at the NCAA Women’s Championship. So at 12:15 a.m., the Arizona coach held court in the laundry room at the Holiday Inn, washing uniforms and munching on mozzarella sticks and fried chicken strips from Sonic, her heart still racing.

Ianello got only three hours of sleep, and who could blame her?

The Wildcats had plummeted down the team standings during the final round of stroke-play qualifying, and were 19 over par for the day, when junior transfer Bianca Pagdanganan arrived on the 17th hole.

“Play the best two holes of your life,” Ianello told her, and so Pagdanganan did, making a solid par on 17 and then ripping a 6-iron from 185 yards out of a divot to 30 feet. There was a massive leaderboard positioned to the right of the par-5 18th green, but Pagdanganan never peeked. The only way for Arizona to force a play-five, count-four playoff with Baylor and reach match play was to sink the putt, and when it dropped, the Wildcats lost their minds, shrieking and jumping over the ropes and hugging anyone in sight.

Watching the action atop the hill, Alabama coach Mic Potter shook his head.

“I was really glad we didn’t win the tiebreaker for the No. 1 seed,” he said, “because they’re a buzzsaw with a lot of momentum.”

Given new life, Arizona dispatched Baylor by three strokes in the playoff, then turned its attention to top-seeded UCLA in the quarterfinals on Tuesday morning.

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Scoring and TV times

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Full coverage

Facing two first-team All-Americans, the Wildcats beat them, too, continuing the curse of the medalist. In the afternoon, worried that the adrenaline would wear off, Ianello watched her squad make quick work of Stanford, 4-1.

“They’ve got a lot of great momentum, a lot of great team energy,” Stanford coach Anne Walker said. “They thought they were going home, and now they’ve got a chip on their shoulder. They’re playing with an edge.”

After a marathon doubleheader Tuesday at Karsten Creek, Arizona now has a date with Alabama in the final match of this NCAA Championship.

And the Wildcats better rest up.

Alabama looks unstoppable.

“They’re rolling off a lot of momentum right now,” Ianello said. “We know Alabama is a good team. But they’re super excited and pumped. It’s not the high of making it [Monday]; now they’ve got a chance to win. They know they have to bring it.”

Even fully rested, Arizona will be a significant underdog against top-ranked Alabama.

After failing to reach match play each of the past two years, despite being the top overall seed, the Tide wouldn’t be stopped from steamrolling their competition this time.

They roughed up Kent State, 4-1, in the quarterfinals, then frontloaded their lineup with three first-team All-Americans – Lauren Stephenson, Kristen Gillman and Cheyenne Knight – in their semifinal tilt against Southern Cal.

Potter said that he was just trying to play the matchups, but the move sent a clear signal.

“It gets pretty tedious when you never miss fairways and hole a lot of putts and your opponent knows that you’re not going to spray it,” Potter said. “That’s tough to match up against.”

They breezed to the first three points, draining any drama out of the semifinals. Of the 99 holes that Bama’s Big 3 played Tuesday, they trailed after only two.

“We’re always consistent,” Stephenson said, “and that’s exactly what you need in match play. Someone has to go really low to beat us.”

That Arizona even has that chance to dethrone the Tide seemed inconceivable a few months ago.

The Wildcats had a miserable fall and were ranked 39th at the halfway point of the season. On Christmas Day, one of the team’s best players, Krystal Quihuis, sent a text to Ianello that she was turning pro. Once she relayed the news, the team felt abandoned, but it also had a newfound motivation.

“They wanted to prove that they’re a great team, even without her,” Ianello said.

It also was a case of addition by subtraction: Out went the individual-minded Quihuis and in came Yu-Sang Ho, an incoming freshman whom Ianello described as a “bright, shining light.”

Because incorporating a top-tier junior at the midway point can be intimidating, Ianello organized a lively team retreat at the Hilton El Conquistador in Tucson, where they made vision boards and played games blindfolded.

They laughed that weekend and all throughout the spring – or at least until Pagnanganan made that last-ditch eagle putt Monday. Then tears streamed down Ianello’s face.

Folding uniforms after midnight, she regaled Alabama assistant coach Susan Rosenstiel with stories from their emotional day on the cut line, not even considering that they might face each other two days later for a national title. She was too delirious to ponder that.

“I feel like a new mother with a newborn baby,” Ianello said. “But we’re going off of adrenaline. This team has all the momentum they need to get it done.”

Yes, somehow, the last team into the match-play field might soon be the last team standing.

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Pairings, tee times set for championship match

By Jay CoffinMay 23, 2018, 1:02 am

STILLWATER, Okla. – Alabama coach Mic Potter has three first-team All-Americans on this team. It’s little surprise that all three are going out first in the Crimson Tide’s championship match against Arizona Wednesday at Karsten Creek.

Potter tinkered with his lineup in both the quarterfinal victory over Kent State and the semifinal win over USC. But with the NCAA title on the line, this one was a no brainer.

“We don’t want to sacrifice anything,” Potter said. “We just want to give ourselves a chance to win every match.”

Arizona kept its lineup the same all day Tuesday in defeating Pac-12 foes UCLA and Stanford in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively. That meant junior Bianca Pagdanganan, the Wildcats grittiest player this week, was in the last match of the day. She won twice.

Now, with all the marbles riding on the championship match, Arizona coach Laura Ianello moved Pagdanganan up to the third spot to assure that her match is key to the final outcome.

Junior Haley Moore, Arizona’s best player all year, is in the fifth spot and will face Alabama senior Lakareber Abe.

“Win or lose tomorrow, this has been a helluva ride,” Ianello said.

Alabama (2) vs. Arizona (8)

3:25PM ET: Lauren Stephenson (AL) vs. Yu-Sang Hou (AZ)

3:35PM ET: Kristen Gillman (AL) vs. Gigi Stoll (AZ)

3:45PM ET: Cheyenne Knight (AL) vs. Bianca Pagdanganan (AZ)

3:55PM ET: Angelica Moresco (AL) vs. Sandra Nordaas (AZ)

4:05PM ET: Lakareber Abe (AL) vs. Haley Moore (AZ)

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Women's NCAA finals: Arizona vs. Alabama

By Jay CoffinMay 22, 2018, 11:49 pm

STILLWATER, Okla. – It’s the SEC vs. the Pac 12 for the women’s NCAA Championship; Alabama vs. Arizona, to be more specific.

Both the Crimson Tide and Wildcats cruised in their respective semifinal matches Tuesday at Karsten Creek. Alabama easily beat USC, 3-1-1; Arizona defeated match-play juggernaut Stanford, 4-1.

Alabama’s top three players, Lauren Stephenson, Kristen Gillman and Cheyenne Knight were unstoppable forces in both matches on the marathon day. Stacked in the top three positions in the semifinals all three won their matches on the 17th hole, making the last two matches inconsequential.

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Scoring and TV times

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Full coverage

Arizona, the eighth seed, won as decisively as second-seeded Alabama, but needed a miracle to be in this position in the first place.

Junior Bianca Pagdanganan drained a 30-footer for eagle on the last hole of stroke play on Monday to get the Wildcats into a playoff against Baylor, which they won on the second hole. Then on Tuesday, presumably running on fumes, they downed top-seeded UCLA in the morning, then crushed Pac-12 foe Stanford in the afternoon.

Pagdanganan, Gigi Stoll and Hayley Moore each won both matches for Arizona on the hot, draining day.

“I don’t want to let them down so I do my best to rise to the occasion,” Pagdanganan said.

Said Arizona coach Laura Ianello: “How many players, when you tell them under pressure that you need them, can really handle it,” Ianello said about Pagdanganan. “This kid can.”

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NCAA DI Women's Champ.: Scoring, TV times

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 11:30 pm

The NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championship is underway at Kartsen Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

After three days of stroke play, eight teams advanced to the match-play portion of the championship. Quarterfinals and semifinals were contested Tuesday, with the finals being held on Wednesday. Golf Channel is airing the action live.

Wake Forest junior Jennifer Kupcho won the individual title. Click here for live finals action, beginning at 4 p.m. ET.


TV Times (all times ET):

4-8PM: Match-play finals (Click here to watch live)