Cut Line: Talking Turkey

By Rex HoggardOctober 12, 2012, 8:08 pm

Hard to say whether this week’s Turkish Airlines World Golf Finals will help that country’s bid for the 2020 Olympics, but at least they have a golf course. Officials in Rio are still waiting for their TBD site, while anyone holding out hope John Daly will do the right thing, and play Q-School, should get used to disappointment.

Made Cut

Talking Turkey I. Give credit to organizers for wooing eight of the world’s top players to Antalya resort and delivering large crowds; now comes the hard part.

The Turkish Airlines World Golf Finals – an unsanctioned event that featured Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods, the world’s Nos. 1 and 2 – was billed as a global introduction as the country attempts to gain momentum for its ’20 Olympic bid.

Other than an embarrassing headbutting, by the director of the Turkish Golf Federation, no less, the event delivered, but the real test will be next year’s Turkish Open, the penultimate event on the 2013 European Tour schedule that will feature a proper field.

As for the headbutting, Cut Line will let it slide. Had U.S. Golf Association executive director Mike Davis headbutted “Bird Man” at this year’s U.S. Open we may have been spared his continued foolishness.

Captain America. Tiger Woods acknowledged this week that he would one day look forward to captaining a U.S. Ryder Cup team. In related item, the sun rose in the East.

“One day that would be fantastic,” Woods said. “It would be a huge honor; hopefully it doesn’t happen in the near future. I would like to be able to play for a lot more teams, but certainly one day, when my career is slowing down or it’s over, it would be huge to be part of a Ryder Cup from the captaincy side.”

What’s surprising is the amount of push-back Woods’ seemingly innocent take has caused. A healthy amount of the 133 comments on regarding the news blasted “Red Shirt” for, well, stating the obvious, primarily because of his pedestrian record in the matches (13-17-3).

But if a player’s record were the litmus test for captaincy we may have never gotten Paul Azinger (5-7-3) in the big chair, or America’s only victory in the biennial event in the last decade.

Tweet of the week: @JasonDufner “Don’t ever sit by one of those customer service counters at the airport. People getting hot and angry! Toxic energy.”

Guy doesn’t say much, but when he talks, eh, tweets, it’s gold.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Blame it on Rio. Architect Gil Hanse told Cut Line last month that he expects to break ground on the Olympic golf course in Brazil sometime this month and a PGA Tour official confirmed this week that the project was still on schedule despite a lingering land dispute.

Ty Votaw, the Tour’s executive vice president of communications and international affairs, said the plan is to have a test event at the Olympic course in 2015 and a recent mayoral election in Rio should help the project stay on schedule.

Luckily for Hanse & Co., there are 31 days in October.

European Tour. The circuit’s move to include starts in the Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup and Seve Trophy toward a player’s minimum number of starts seems long overdue, as if European players have a harder week on their schedule every two years than Samuel Ryder’s soiree.

But Cut Line had to wonder why officials stopped short of the team Grand Slam and didn’t dub the Tavistock Cup an official start. Seems like there are more European Tour players living in Orlando, Fla.’s Lake Nona and Isleworth communities than London.

Handle with care. A decision on anchoring and long putters is due this fall from the U.S. Golf Association and Royal & Ancient and news this week that the implement landed one Tour type on the DL likely won’t help matters.

Spencer Levin, who was spotted by Cut Line at TPC Boston last month practicing with a short putter, tore a ligament in his left thumb handling a long putter and had season-ending surgery on Tuesday in Los Angeles.

Levin tweaked his thumb while practicing with the long putter three weeks ago. Although the golf world is still unsure if the long putter will be legal, this latest episode suggests they can be lethal.

Missed Cut

Talking Turkey II. It seems altruism only goes so far, at least when it comes to the PGA Tour and the circuit’s need to protect its sponsors.

All eight players at this week’s Turkish Airlines World Golf Finals had to request “competing-event releases” to play the big-money boondoggle and, according to multiple sources, those releases came with strings that stretch all the way back to California.

The “Turkish Eight” had to agree to play the Open at least once over the next three years, a quid pro quo that is not uncommon for top players looking to take their talents to the four corners of the globe.

So, let’s get this straight. Growing the game and aiding Turkey’s Olympic bid, albeit for a healthy payday, is fine, just not at the expense of a longtime sponsor. Got it.

Daly dose. Bless “JD” and his big-hitting heart. He’s making the Fall Series rounds in his annual dash to earn his Tour card. Just don’t expect him to play Q-School like the rest of the play-for-pay world.

For the seventh consecutive year Daly – who is currently 137th in earnings and has not finished inside the top 125 in cash since 2005 – has not signed up to play the Fall Classic, but it seems he has no problem accepting sponsor exemptions at any Tour stop that will have him, including next week’s McGladrey Classic.

If tournament directors still consider Daly a draw worth burning a coveted exemption, fine, but it’s time for the Tour to step in and require players to make a good-faith attempt at relevancy via Q-School in order to collect those freebies.

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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 10:15 am

Following an even-par 71 in the first round of the 147th Open Championship, Tiger Woods looks to make a move on Day 2 at Carnoustie.

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McIlroy responds to Harmon's 'robot' criticism

By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:53 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy said during his pre-championship news conference that he wanted to play more "carefree" – citing Jon Rahm’s approach now and the way McIlroy played in his younger days.

McIlroy got off to a good start Thursday at Carnoustie, shooting 2-under 69, good for a share of eighth place.

But while McIlroy admits to wanting to be a little less structured on the course, he took offense to comments made by swing coach Butch Harmon during a Sky Sports telecast.

Said Harmon:

“Rory had this spell when he wasn’t putting good and hitting the ball good, and he got so wrapped up in how he was going to do it he forgot how to do it.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“He is one of the best players the game has ever seen. If he would just go back to being a kid and playing the way he won these championships and play your game, don’t have any fear or robotic thoughts. Just play golf. Just go do it.

“This is a young kid who’s still one of the best players in the world. He needs to understand that. Forget about your brand and your endorsement contracts. Forget about all that. Just go back to having fun playing golf. I still think he is one of the best in the world and can be No.1 again if he just lets himself do it.”

McIlroy, who has never worked with Harmon, responded to the comments when asked about them following his opening round.

“Look, I like Butch. Definitely, I would say I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum than someone that's mechanical and someone that's – you know, it's easy to make comments when you don't know what's happening,” McIlroy said. “I haven't spoken to Butch in a long time. He doesn't know what I'm working on in my swing. He doesn't know what's in my head. So it's easy to make comments and easy to speculate. But unless you actually know what's happening, I just really don't take any notice of it.”

McIlroy second round at The Open began at 2:52 a.m. ET.

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How The Open cut line is determined

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:57 am

Scores on Day 1 of the 147th Open Championship ranged from 5-under 66 to 11-over 82.

The field of 156 players will be cut nearly in half for weekend play at Carnoustie. Here’s how the cut line works in the season’s third major championship:

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

• After 36 holes, the low 70 players and ties will advance to compete in the final two rounds. Anyone finishing worse than that will get the boot. Only those making the cut earn official money from the $10.5 million purse.

• There is no 10-shot rule. That rule means anyone within 10 shots of the lead after two rounds, regardless of where they stand in the championship, make the cut. It’s just a flat top 70 finishers and ties.

• There is only a single cut at The Open. PGA Tour events employ an MDF (Made cut Did not Finish) rule, which narrows the field after the third round if more than 78 players make the cut. That is not used at this major.

The projected cut line after the first round this week was 1 over par, which included 71 players tied for 50th or better.

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The Open 101: A guide to the year's third major

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:30 am

Take a look at some answers to frequently asked questions about The Open:

What's all this "The Open" stuff? I thought it was the British Open.

What you call it has historically depended on where you were. If you were in the U.S., you called it the British Open, just as Europeans refer to the PGA Championship as the U.S. PGA. Outside the U.S. it generally has been referred to as The Open Championship. The preferred name of the organizers is The Open.

How old is it?

It's the oldest golf championship, dating back to 1860.

Where is it played?

There is a rotation – or "rota" – of courses used. Currently there are 10: Royal Birkdale, Royal St. George's, Royal Liverpool and Royal Lytham and St. Annes, all in England; Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland and St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Royal Troon, Turnberry and Muirfield, all in Scotland. Muirfield was removed from the rota in 2016 when members voted against allowing female members, but when the vote was reversed in 2017 it was allowed back in.

Where will it be played this year?

At Carnoustie, which is located on the south-eastern shore of Scotland.

Who has won The Open on that course?

Going back to the first time Carnoustie hosted, in 1931, winners there have been Tommy Armour, Henry Cotton (1937), Ben Hogan (1953), Gary Player (1968), Tom Watson (1975), Paul Lawrie (1999), Padraig Harrington (2007).

Wasn't that the year Hogan nearly won the Slam?

Yep. He had won the Masters and U.S. Open that season, then traveled to Carnoustie and won that as well. It was the only time he ever played The Open. He was unable to play the PGA Championship that season because the dates conflicted with those of The Open.

Jean Van de Velde's name should be on that list, right?

This is true. He had a three-shot lead on the final hole in 1999 and made triple bogey. He lost in a playoff to Lawrie, which also included Justin Leonard.

Who has won this event the most?

Harry Vardon, who was from the Channel Island of Jersey, won a record six times between 1896 and 1914. Australian Peter Thomson, American Watson, Scot James Braid and Englishman J.H. Taylor each won five times.

What about the Morrises?

Tom Sr. won four times between 1861 and 1867. His son, Tom Jr., also won four times, between 1868 and 1872.

Have players from any particular country dominated?

In the early days, Scots won the first 29 Opens – not a shocker since they were all played at one of three Scottish courses, Prestwick, St. Andrews and Musselburgh. In the current era, going back to 1999 (we'll explain why that year in a minute), the scoreboard is United States, nine wins; South Africa, three wins; Ireland, two wins; Northern Ireland, two wins; and Sweden, one win. The only Scot to win in that period was Lawrie, who took advantage of one of the biggest collapses in golf history.

Who is this year's defending champion?

That would be American Jordan Spieth, who survived an adventerous final round to defeat Matt Kuchar by three strokes and earn the third leg of the career Grand Slam.

What is the trophy called?

The claret jug. It's official name is the Golf Champion Trophy, but you rarely hear that used. The claret jug replaced the original Challenge Belt in 1872. The winner of the claret jug gets to keep it for a year, then must return it (each winner gets a replica to keep).

Which Opens have been the most memorable?

Well, there was Palmer in 1961and '62; Van de Velde's collapse in 1999; Hogan's win in 1953; Tiger Woods' eight-shot domination of the 2000 Open at St. Andrews; Watson almost winning at age 59 in 2009; Doug Sanders missing what would have been a winning 3-foot putt at St. Andrews in 1970; Tony Jacklin becoming the first Briton to win the championship in 18 years; and, of course, the Duel in the Sun at Turnberry in 1977, in which Watson and Jack Nicklaus dueled head-to-head over the final 36 holes, Watson winning by shooting 65-65 to Nicklaus' 65-66.

When I watch this tournament on TV, I hear lots of unfamiliar terms, like "gorse" and "whin" and "burn." What do these terms mean?

Gorse is a prickly shrub, which sometimes is referred to as whin. Heather is also a shrub. What the scots call a burn, would also be considered a creek or stream.