Cut Line: Tiger's HOF induction on hold; eyes Riv return

By Rex HoggardApril 1, 2016, 7:35 pm

Fifty becomes the new 40 for potential World Golf Hall of Famers, Tiger Woods talks of Tinsel Town return and more trouble surfaces for Australian golf in this week’s edition.

Made Cut

Good Hall call. When the World Golf Hall of Fame overhauled its selection system in 2014 the creation of a 16-person committee was the centerpiece of what was a dramatic change.

Left unchanged, however, was the minimum age for selection, which was 40 years old for both male and female candidates.

The problem with setting the bar so early is that many of today’s top players remain active and competitive well into their 40s and even 50s.

Davis Love III, who is not a member of the Hall of Fame but with 21 PGA Tour titles is a likely future inductee, won last fall at the Wyndham Championship at 51 and has shown no signs of going quietly into his golden years.

Nor is it likely that Tiger Woods, who turned 40 last December, has much interest at the moment in taking his place in the Hall.

But change continued with this week’s news that the minimum age for Hall of Fame consideration has been bumped up to 50, proving once and for all that like wine, Tour players actually do get better with age.

One more year. The Tour announced last week that commissioner Tim Finchem had been given a one-year extension to remain in charge in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., but the 68-year-old said he doesn’t plan to hang around that long.

Finchem said he still has a handful of projects he’d like to wrap up before he sails into retirement, and that deputy commissioner Jay Monahan was already handling the circuit’s day-to-day operations.

Finchem, who took over as commissioner in 1994, said he could do the job for another six years, but that it was time to allow another, younger, perspective to take over.

The reality is the policy board would have likely given Finchem another half dozen years in the big chair if he wanted to stay given his track record, but knowing when to step down is a sign of a truly astute leader.

Tweet of the week:

Cut Line normally doesn’t celebrate the arrival of newborns, but Zachariah’s birth is truly a win-win for the Englishman, who can now play the Masters after telling reporters he wouldn’t make the transatlantic trip for the year’s first major if his son hadn’t arrived this week.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

California dreaming. The Los Angeles-area Tour stop was Tiger Woods’ first start in the big leagues back in 1992 and given his ties to southern California it was not a surprise that he announced this week he will become the host of the event.

What some might find surprising is Woods’ newfound commitment to Los Angeles.

Woods has played the event 11 times, including twice as an amateur, but he hasn’t been back to Riviera since 2006 and hasn’t shown much interest in a return trip in recent years.

But Woods’ involvement in the event, which will also have a new sponsor in 2017 (Hyundai), has changed that outlook.

“It means a lot to contribute to a community that has supported me and my foundation for more than 20 years,” Woods said in a statement. “I’m committed to playing in my foundation’s events, and it will be exciting to return to Riviera.”

R&R. When Jason Day completed his final round last September at the Tour Championship it was the beginning of what amounted to a 2 1/2-month hiatus from golf.

By comparison, Jordan Spieth capped his historic season with a global tour that included stops in China, Australia, the Bahamas, Abu Dhabi and Singapore.

Spieth has played 11 events since the end of last season, a crowded dance card that many say has led to his relatively pedestrian play the last few weeks (to be fair, he did win the Tournament of Champions by eight strokes to start the year).

Although Day did participate in the Presidents Cup in October, he’s played just six stroke-play events since last year at East Lake, and has now won back-to-back Tour events including last week’s WGC-Dell Match Play and is the preemptive favorite heading into the Masters.

Players map out schedules based on all number of reasons and it’s hard to blame Spieth for wanting to see the world, but the facts speak for themselves – one player embraced rest and relaxation and is now the world No. 1. The other is Spieth.

Missed Cut

Trouble in Oz. News this week the Australian Masters has been placed in indefinite limbo was all at once curious and concerning.

The event, which dates to 1979, is owned by IMG. Officials said they are in the process of “reimagining” the tournament, and it will not be played this year.

That two of the top six players in the World Golf Ranking are Australian and the sport, at least at the highest level, has never been more popular or healthier Down Under is what’s surprising. Australians like Adam Scott have done their part to support the Aussie Masters, as well as the Open and PGA. It’s time for the organizers and sponsors to do the same.

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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.”

Getty Images

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.”

Getty Images

After 36, new Open favorite is ... Fleetwood

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 7:49 pm

With a handful of the pre-championship favorites exiting early, there is a new odds-on leader entering the third round of The Open at Carnoustie.

While Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner share the 36-hole lead, it's England's Tommy Fleetwood who leads the betting pack at 11/2. Fleetwood begins the third round one shot off the lead.

Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at golfodds.com.

Tommy Fleetwood: 11/2

Zach Johnson: 13/2

Rory McIlroy: 7/1

Jordan Spieth: 8/1

Rickie Fowler: 9/1

Kevin Kisner: 12/1

Xander Schauffele: 16/1

Tony Finau: 16/1

Matt Kuchar: 18/1

Pat Perez: 25/1

Brooks Koepka: 25/1

Erik van Rooyen: 50/1

Alex Noren: 50/1

Tiger Woods: 50/1

Thorbjorn Olesen: 60/1

Danny Willett: 60/1

Francesco Molinari: 60/1