Cut Line: Taking long view on Beem, Tiger, Portrush

By Rex HoggardOctober 23, 2015, 3:15 pm

In a “long view” edition of Cut Line, Royal Portrush’s time arrives after a half-century wait, while Tiger Woods’ time on the bench remains uncertain.

Made Cut

Royal return. After a 68-year hiatus the game’s oldest championship will return to one of the game’s best golf courses.

The R&A announced on Monday that the 2019 Open Championship will be played at Royal Portrush, the Northern Irish gem that last hosted the event in 1951.

Although it took plenty of leg work to bring Portrush back into the Open fold – including a dramatic restructuring of the course that includes two new holes to replace the 17th and 18th, which will be used for the championship’s corporate village – those who lobbied for the event, most notably high-profile locals Darren Clarke and Rory McIlory, proved to be too persuasive to ignore.

As an aside, if you’re looking for an early favorite to win the ’19 Open may we suggest McIlroy, who as a 16-year-old set the Royal Portrush course record with a 61.

That’s Rich. Depending on how things play out next fall at the Ryder Cup, Rich Beem probably shouldn’t expect a Christmas card from U.S. captain Davis Love III.

That is, of course, if Ian Poulter makes next year’s European team and does what Ian Poulter does best, which is beat Americans in the biennial event.

Poulter, who dropped out of the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking and lost his spot in next month’s WGC-HSBC Champions, needed to play the Hong Kong stop to maintain his European Tour status and remain eligible for next year’s Ryder Cup.

Beem, who was already in Hong Kong preparing to play the event on a sponsor exemption, gave up his spot in the field so Poulter could play.

“I saw Rich in the hotel this morning, so I went over and said, ‘That's awfully kind of you to do this,’” said Poulter after an opening 3-under 67 on Thursday. “He didn't have to, but he was nice enough to do it, and yeah, I have to thank him for that.”

If the odd turn of events leads to another historic Ryder Cup for Poulter, and another European victory, Beem shouldn’t expect the same level of gratitude from Love and the U.S. team.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Good news, bad news. Tiger Woods resurfaced this week at an event he had planned to play before being sidelined by his second back surgery earlier this year.

That’s the good news. The bad is that it’s about as close to a competition as he will get for some time.

“I'll start my rehab soon, but it's a long and tedious process. The last time, it took me a long time to come back,” Woods said at the Bridgestone America’s Golf Cup in Mexico. “Some of the guys who have had it [microdiscectomy surgery] done said it took them over a year to be pain free. I hope it doesn't take me that long to be pain free.”

Woods said he’s facing a “long and tedious rehab” and that he’s hopeful he can return to the Tour “early in 2016.” While that’s probably not what fans want to hear from the former world No. 1, after numerous starts and stops in recent years another extended break may be his only chance to finally break free from the DL.

Tweet of the week:

Everybody loves the long ball, even Koepka who is one of the PGA Tour’s longest, and this week’s World Long Drive Championship was certainly entertaining, but some purists used the event to lament what they see as continued out-of-control distance gains.

Tour statistics, however, suggest otherwise. Although the driving distance leaders have varied the last five years – from J.B. Holmes’ circuit-leading 318-yard average in 2011, to Luke List’s 306 yards in ’13 and last season’s 317-yard average by Dustin Johnson – the overall Tour average has remained surprisingly flat over that period.

In 2011, the circuit average was 290 yards, compared to 289 yards last season, suggesting that while the long ball is still entertaining, it is, at least at the highest level, not the uncontrollable force some think it to be.

Missed Cut

Travel warnings. Players were warned in an email from the Tour on Thursday of potential risks associated with a recent typhoid outbreak and poor air quality in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, site of next week’s CIMB Classic.

According to the email obtained by Cut Line, there have been more than 30 cases of typhoid reported in Kuala Lumpur since the beginning of August, and players were also warned of poor air quality due to severe drought conditions.

While this is the cost of doing business in far-flung locales, and according to officials hasn’t led to rash of withdrawals, what is curious is that the Tour didn’t send a similar warning to any caddies.

Communication between the circuit and caddies has broken down this year since a lawsuit was filed in February in U.S. District Court by a group of caddies against the Tour.

Legal proceedings have a tendency to cool relationships, but issues of public safety should be above the fray.

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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.”