ATLANTA – With just 54 of the world’s best in action on the main stage this week – 30 at the Tour Championship and 24 at the Solheim Cup, both no-cut stops – it seems apropos that Cut Line’s weekly lineup would be filled from the gallery.
To Greg Norman’s strangely motivational take on Tiger Woods to John Daly’s strange behavior, it has been the action outside the ropes that has been all at once compelling and confounding.
FixIt Cup? For five years we’ve heard the FedEx Cup is too confusing, too contrived, too ill-fitting a concept for a game that values majors above all else. But as Friday’s leaderboard unfolded at the Tour Championship, it was difficult to separate historic fact from the sea of hyperbole.
At the close of business the top of the marquee read Adam Scott – who is also currently projected to hit the $10 million FedEx Cup jackpot – K.J. Choi, Jason Day, Luke Donald and Bubba Watson. Not exactly a “B” list of the Tour’s rank and file. And the record further shows that the Cup has been won in the past by Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh and Jim Furyk. Again, not a bad group to round out anyone’s fourball.
The science and semantics may be a golf ball shy of a full sleeve, but considering how the last few Grand Slams have played out there have been some major leaderboards that should be as lucky as the Tour Championship's.
East Lake: No, not the Rees Jones restoration of the old Donald Ross gem, although we are certainly glad to see the former is having a better week. It’s the East Lake Foundation that’s 4 up on conventional wisdom and cruising.
One former Georgia Tech golfer reminisced this week how far the club and surrounding neighborhood have come. Before the revitalization there was an automatic press during rounds when gunshots were heard and players rarely played Nos. 3, 4 and 5 late in the day for fear they’d be robbed.
Now the club and surrounding community is a blueprint for other troubled neighborhoods across the country, but to hear Tom Cousins, the 79-year-old patriarch of the East Lake project, they haven’t accomplished anything yet.
“Warren Buffett told me, ‘I want to see this done in every U.S. city before I die.’ I told him we’re the same age so we better hurry up . . . or live until we’re 110,” Cousins smiled.
Sean Foley: The thoughtful swing coach was due for a good run and it came in a rush the last week or so. Just days after his newborn son, Kieran Malcolm, returned home from an Orlando, Fla.-area hospital with an inspiring clean bill of health, one of Foley's players, Justin Rose, won the BMW Championship.
Kieran was born on Aug. 26 with congenital diaphragmatic hernia, a life-threatening condition in which an abnormal opening in the diaphragm can lead to parts of the stomach or other abdominal organs moving into the chest cavity
“They said he’d probably be in the hospital 15 weeks and he came home last week. All the doctors were amazed,” Foley told Cut Line late Sunday. “It makes bogeys and everything else, well, basically unimportant.”
Funny how perspective whips nitpicking every time.
Tweet of the week: @JasonDufner “Thanks to Eric [sic] “whatever your last name is” from the Morning Drive, I am on my way to Atlanta. #motivation.”
Erik Kuselias was glad to help.
Missed Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)
Greg Norman: Imagine the chances that the Shark would ruffle feathers this month and the offending event would have nothing to do with his Presidents Cup picks, which are due on Tuesday.
In an item that promises to go directly to the U.S. Presidents Cup team’s bulletin board, Norman told Golf Magazine that Woods lacks the “street smarts” to fully recover his game.
“He thinks everything's OK because his world is so cocooned,” Norman added.
Stephen Ames thought it wise to poke the bear once and he turned into 9-and-8 road kill at the 2006 WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.
Sergio Garcia: The man who has taken on the golf gods and the fashion police can now be called the unofficial spokesman for everything that is wrong with professional golf’s “Generation Me.”
Following last Saturday’s second-round 67 at the BMW Championship “El No-no” was asked his plans for Sunday’s closing turn considering his precarious position on the leaderboard (T-7) and the FedEx Cup standings (53rd).
“I just want to get done,” he said.
In Garcia’s defense, the BMW was his 21st worldwide start this year and his on-course haul this season on the PGA Tour is a paltry $1.5 million. Greece isn’t the only thing in Europe that should be embracing austerity.
John Daly: Speaking of coddled headliners with a light grasp on reality, “Big John” stretched the bounds of the ugly American on Friday at the Austrian Open.
On the 15th hole during the second round, Daly was informed by a tournament official that he’d taken an incorrect drop away from a television tower and would be penalized two strokes for the infraction.
After a lengthy discussion with the official, Daly decided to go with “Plan B” and walked off the golf course. The incident came just a few holes after Daly had thrown a golf club into a water hazard.
It’s time for Daly to change his catch phrase from “Grip it and rip it” to simply “Get a grip.”
LPGA: At best, the tour’s handling of the Lexi Thompson affair is an administrative snafu, at worst an inexplicable example of misplaced showmanship. Either way, a circuit in desperate need of a break breezed right past the “free money” sign on the way to the soup line.
Cut Line has to believe that the 16-year-old phenom has a date with a tour card next week following her historic victory on Sunday in Alabama, a poorly conceived pause to keep from overshadowing this week’s Solheim Cup. But the damage is done.
LPGA commissioner Michael Whan should have been waiting for Thompson on the 72nd hole on Sunday with a trophy in one hand and a tour card in the other. Instead, the circuit offered administrative double-talk and what should have been a hallmark moment delivered only a flurry of petitions and postulations.
File this under unsolicited advice, but when the future calls, it is best not to let it go straight to voicemail.