From social media-fueled spats, to very private decisions, golf’s marquee made plenty of news last week; very little of it, unfortunately, occurred on the golf course. And Cut Line counts ’em all in a viral edition of “he said, he said and he said.”
Tiger Woods. For all those who had the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and Bryon Bell on the bag in the office pool it’s time to collect. For the rest of us it’s time to hope for the best, as in is the game’s most-talked-about left knee and Achilles tendon ready for prime time?
Although Woods spent all day with swing coach Sean Foley on Friday knocking off the rust, that falls well short of his normal tune-up routine – a regimen that used to include a week’s full of two-a-days in the lab at Isleworth. But, as Woods said earlier this month at the AT&T National, maybe this time really is different.
As one longtime PGA Tour trainer told us Friday when asked if 11 weeks is enough time to heal an ailing knee and Achilles tendon? “Should be. The only issue is game speed vs. practice speed,” the trainer said.
Or, in NASCAR terms, it’s time to see if Woods can go from zero to 120 mph in four short days.
Carnoustie Golf Club. The bulldog of the British Open rotation made a predictably mean cameo for the ladies this week at the Women’s British Open, and two rounds into the fray “Carnasty” has lived up to its reputation, with the lone exception the curiously short par-5 17th hole, which played as a 459-yard par 4 for the men in 2007.
Only 46 players are below par through two rounds. Wind, no wind, rain, no rain, men, women, it seems Carnoustie is an equal opportunity offender.
This is the first time the women’s championship is being played on the Scottish layout and we're willing to wager a large portion of our meager weekly paycheck that many in the field are hoping it will be another couple hundred years before the event goes back to the venerable links.
Tweet of the week: @RyanPalmerPGA: “Wow. Talk about bold. I say I get 20 of my peers and they get 20 and let’s go have some fun! Trust me boys, it’s not that easy!”
Palmer’s tweet was in response to John Peterson’s comments following his runner-up finish to fellow amateur Harris English at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Invitational on Sunday.
“I knew I could beat all those guys,” Peterson told Golf World magazine. “The top guys in college, the top 20 or 30 guys, can beat the top 20, 30 guys on the PGA Tour.”
Peterson’s youthful machismo is refreshing but entirely misplaced. Until you’ve got a six-pack of majors on the wall, humility is always the preferred medium.
Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)
LPGA. Lexi Thompson finished 10 shots clear of the field at the tour’s first stage of Q-School yet she won’t be able to celebrate her victory or even rent a car to drive to second stage for that matter.
At 17 years old, Thompson clearly has the game to compete at the highest level, but we knew that long before she posted three rounds of 66 and one 67 at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla.
Cut Line is still not convinced that the youthful phenom has all the other skills required to be a professional. Thompson has the talent to become a world beater . . . some day. Leapfrogging stops along the way, however, helps no one – especially Thompson.
We’ve seen this show before when the lead character was named Michelle Wie. Think it was a comic-tragedy.
Tweet of the week II: @JayATownsend (on-air analyst for BBC radio Jay Townsend): “(Rory McIlroy) should hire Stevie Williams, as I thought (McIlroy’s caddie J.P. Fitzgerald) allowed some shocking course management today.”
McIlroy responded in a tweet, “Well, I stand by my caddie.” Townsend, a former tour professional, is one of the best in the business and is paid to make those kinds of observations. McIlroy did the right thing standing by Fitzgerald, and Townsend was equally principled. You don’t have to agree with him, or even follow him in Twitter for that matter, but you can’t question his right to do his job.
Darren Clarke critics. Although we’re not sure who would bash the Northern Irishman, he took time this week to answer some of the criticism that has been lobbed in his direction since his emotional victory at Royal St. George’s.
“I drink a little bit too much, smoke a little bit too much and enjoy myself a little bit too much at times,' Clarke said. 'It's the way I relax and I don't intend to change that in any way, shape or form.”
Just to be clear, what exactly didn’t the critics like about Clarke?
Tiger Woods. On Thursday the world’s 21st-ranked player announced the “where” (WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and PGA Championship, if all goes well in Ohio) and we now know the “who,” as in schoolmate Bryon Bell’s position as his new caddie.
There is some history here for Bell, who has been a member of Team Tiger for years and has run his golf course design business. Bell caddied for Woods when he won the 1999 Buick Invitational and at the 1996 U.S. Amateur.
I know Woods said this time was different, and getting rid of veteran looper Steve Williams last week certainly qualifies, but Bell was implicated in some media reports for having a hand in Woods’ 2009 sex scandal.
Woods’ manager has said there is no long-term plan in place to replace Williams just yet, but doesn’t having Bell around create the wrong kind of speculation?