Cut Line: Spieth starts strong; Mickelson 'hopeful'

By Rex HoggardJanuary 15, 2016, 7:20 pm

Jordan Spieth highlights this week’s edition following a victory on Sunday at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and an even bigger haul on Wednesday in the boardroom.

Made Cut

A Coke and a smile. The debate over whether golf is entering the Jordan Spieth era is a trail that, at least right now, has no end, but there was no denying the 22-year-old’s influence following an eventful week both on and off the golf course.

Spieth began his season with an eight-stroke victory in Maui last week to quiet the concerns over a possible fall off from last year’s brilliant performance, and on Wednesday he announced he had signed a multi-year endorsement deal with Coca-Cola.

In the same news cycle, Golf Digest released its list of top earners for 2015 with Spieth unseating Tiger Woods atop the heap with $53 million in on- and off-course earnings.

Woods, who had been No. 1 on the annual list since it began in 2002, slipped to third behind No. 2 Phil Mickelson, who had a reported $52.3 million in earnings despite a relatively pedestrian year on the course.

Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Rickie Fowler, to name a few, may eventually overtake Spieth, but until then it’s Jordan’s world.

A new beginning. As Tim Clark completed his week at the RSM Classic late last year he was approached by a pair of reporters who were looking for reaction to his final Tour round with an anchored putter.

“I don’t care,” he sighed.

The South African was resigned to the impending ban on the anchored stroke, which began last week at the Tournament of Champions, and despite his early objections to the new rule he seemed to look forward to the long debate ending.

“Honestly, I’ve been putting so bad no matter what I’ve used,” he said in October at Sea Island (Ga.) Resort. “Once it’s done I can move on and get to work on something and stick with it.”

With that fresh perspective came some positive results on Thursday at the Sony Open, where he opened with a 66 thanks in large part to a strokes gained-putting average of 2.63.

If Clark continues to trend in this direction he may end up thanking the U.S. Golf Association and Royal & Ancient for the rule change ... or not.

Requited Love. For the better part of three decades Davis Love III has been what scribes would consider a “go to” player when it came to all things golf.

After multiple stints on the PGA Tour policy board, a turn as the U.S. Ryder Cup captain (with a second chance looming later this year) and a lifetime between the ropes, Love can handle a delicate policy question with the same ease as a 2-iron off a hanging lie.

This week the Golf Writers Association of America recognized that commitment to cooperation when the organization named Love the recipient of the Jim Murray Award, which is given annually to the player who “demonstrates cooperation and accommodation to the media.”

In a time when the relationship between player and press has grown increasingly strained, Love is a beacon of accommodation regardless of how ridiculous the question may be (and we’ve asked some dreadful questions in our time).

As Love explained last fall after a lengthy Q&A regarding Tiger Woods’ upcoming 40th birthday, “It’s fine. It’s my job ... I’m the captain.”

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

What will Phil do next? Speaking of Mickelson, the southpaw was on Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive” on Wednesday and painted an interesting picture of his future.

Mickelson described his outlook for 2016 as “optimistic, but I’m also nervous.” He left swing coach Butch Harmon last year and has reportedly started a rather dramatic swing overhaul under the watchful eye of Australian instructor Andrew Getson.

After failing to advance to the Tour Championship for the second consecutive year in 2015, Mickelson plans to get his season underway at next week’s CareerBuilder Challenge.

“I’m hopeful that this off-season, the work I've put in, will get my swing back on the plane that it has been in the past, and allow me to hit the shots I've been able to hit as I did in the past,” Lefty said.

Tweet of the week: @TigerWoods “Had fun teaming up with [Michelle Wie] today for @TWFoundation. Thanks for the assist. #GoStanford

The goods news: Woods was at a golf course. The bad news: he didn’t appear to be hitting golf balls. #Progress.

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Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”