Cut Line: 'Tis the season

By Rex HoggardDecember 3, 2011, 12:29 am

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – There is no cut at Tiger Woods’ 18-man member-member at Sherwood Country Club or the PGA Tour Qualifying School Tournament, although there will be those wishing there were after a few more days in the Coachella Valley, but Cut Line carries on.

Besides, if this segment of the schedule is supposed to be the game’s silly season, why does it feel so serious?

Made Cut

Tiger Woods. It seems rumors of his demise have been greatly exaggerated, at least that’s the vibe within “Team Tiger” and beyond. In order, Woods finished third at the Australian Open, secured the winning point for the American side at the Presidents Cup and signed a new bag deal.

A win this week at his Chevron World Challenge, where he is leading by three strokes through two windy rounds, would make the off-season taste a little better but either way the progress he’s talked about on the practice tee in south Florida is starting to manifest itself when it counts.

“I know I’m playing better and it’s nice to see my position on the leaderboard equate to it,” Woods said on Friday.

Comebacks are curious things, and rarely do they go to script, but it’s impossible to ignore “red shirt’s” momentum.

Q-School. No, not that institution that is akin to professional dental surgery, but the eclectic collection of players who have braved heavy winds and even weightier pressure this week in the California desert.

Ty Tryon, Sam Saunders and Doug Barron may not earn their Tour cards this week, but they’ve proven why the Fall Classic is the best in reality TV.

Sweeping changes have been proposed for the current Nationwide Tour/Q-School model that will, essentially, water down the current version of the Fall Classic. Maybe these alterations are for the best, but the Darwinistic simplicity and drama of Q-School will be missed.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Rory McIlroy. Tough to criticize the Ulsterman for his decision to play next year’s Irish Open instead of the AT&T National, which will be played at Congressional, but the entire affair has the feel of a missed opportunity.

After McIlroy lapped the field at Congressional in June at the U.S. Open, an encore would have added an entirely new level of interest to the AT&T, but his attendance in Ireland will be, as one newspaper explained, “a mega-boon.”

In truth, this isn’t a Rory problem so much as it is a scheduling problem. When personal loyalties are pitted against professional advancement no one wins.

World Cup. Ever since the event lost its World Golf Championship affiliation in 2007, the World Cup has been dying a slow death. News that the event’s sponsor was not pleased with the product only accelerated that truth.

Omega president Stephen Urquhart vented publicly following last week’s event, which featured the first American victory in 11 years, saying, “China is too immature a market to put the World Cup where it should be. It's too early for China to support by itself a tournament on this scale.”

There is a seemingly obvious fix for the current cup concerns, however. Following the International side’s defeat at last month’s Presidents Cup, some suggested the “Rest of the World” players could benefit from playing another team event during even years.

During Ryder Cup years, the World Cup could pit the top 12 players from the southern hemisphere against those from the northern hemisphere who were not from the United States or Europe.

It’s a dramatic change to the current format, but so is extinction.

Missed Cut

The death of ball-striking. Professional golf is a putting contest, has been since long before driver heads and golf balls were put on HGH, or whatever it is they do to make traditional courses obsolete, but as Cut Line scrolled through the season-ending statistics, one line jarringly proved that point.

Just once in the last four seasons has the man who has won the ball-striking category – a combination of driving accuracy, length and greens in regulation –  kept his Tour card

Boo Weekley led this year’s ball-striking field and finished 180th in earnings. Charles Warren was last year’s front-runner and was 149th on the money list. Ditto for 2008 leader Joe Durant (129th in cash). Jonathan Byrd in 2009 is the lone exception and he was a pedestrian 67th in earnings.

Ben Hogan once reasoned that too much importance was given to putting. Maybe the “Hawk” was onto something.

Robert Allenby. He was a flyer pick for International captain Greg Norman, spent the week before the matches complaining about the greens at the Australian Open and was the only player at Royal Melbourne to get blanked (0-4-0). So it only makes sense that the Australian would do some soul searching and blame anyone who was within a sand wedge of his locker for his performance.

The issue escalated into a heated exchange with Geoff Ogilvy – who Allenby teamed with in Saturday foursomes at Royal Melbourne and is one of the game’s most endearing and respectful players – at the Australian PGA.

Two years ago at Harding Park Allenby accused Anthony Kim of carousing late into the night before his Sunday singles match, which he soundly lost to Kim, 5 and 3.

We suggest Allenby find a 2-for-1 special on perspective, and a mirror while he’s at it.

Tweet of the week: @geoffogilvy “Warms the heart to see Robert (Allenby) playing so well this week (at the Australian PGA).”

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Chamblee comments on Choi's unique step-through swing

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 24, 2018, 3:55 pm

The golf world found itself enamored with a largely unknown journeyman this weekend.

Ho-sung Choi went from 554th in the world to No. 1 in the hearts of all those who swing the golf club just a little bit differently thanks to his run at the Korean Open.

The 44-year-old with the exaggerated step through impact found himself two off the pace through 54 holes and in contention for one of two available invitations to this year's Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Choi fell out of the hunt for tournament title and the Open exemption with a final-round 74, but nonetheless left an impression with his tie for fifth.

Asked about Choi's swing Saturday night, Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee offered the following:

"If Chi Chi Rodriguez and Gary Player had a golf school, what would their first professional golfer swing like? Voila," Chamblee said.

"Both those legends had walk through finishes, but Ho Sung has taken this move to a new level with a borderline pirouette to keep from hanging back.

"In an era when professional golfers get accused of having golf swings that all look alike, I’ve never seen anyone swing quite like Ho Sung Choi.

"I can’t wait to try this on the range tomorrow."

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Wallace holds off Olesen to win BMW International

By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 3:43 pm

PULHEIM, Germany - England's Matt Wallace shot a 7-under 65 to hold off a record-breaking charge from Thorbjorn Olesen and win the BMW International Open on Sunday.

Wallace finished on 10-under 278 - just ahead of Olesen, Mikko Korhonen and 2008 winner Martin Kaymer, whose chances took a blow with a bogey on the 17th hole.

''I want to keep building on this,'' Wallace said after his third European Tour win. ''Obviously this gives me a lot of confidence to go on and play well and I want to kick on and hopefully do this in the bigger events from now on.''

Full-field scores from the BMW International Open

Olesen had played himself into contention with the lowest round in tournament history, with nine birdies and an eagle for an 11-under 61. It was the lowest round of his European Tour career and it gave the Dane a three-shot lead before the final group had even teed off.

''I was just trying today to go out there and build on my game, see if I could shoot a low score,'' Olesen said. ''Obviously as the round progressed I kept on thinking birdies and trying to make the round better. Finishing with four birdies was pretty nice.''

Wallace turned in 34 but then made five birdies in seven holes from the turn to edge a shot past Olesen. He waited as Kaymer and Korhonen went close with rounds of 68 and 67, respectively.

England's Aaron Rai and Denmark's Lucas Bjerregaard finished joint-fifth with rounds of 69.

Sunghyun Park (left) and Minchel Choi (right). Getty Images

Choi, Park qualify for Carnoustie from Korean Open

By Nick MentaJune 24, 2018, 2:54 pm

Two players - Minchel Choi and Sanghyun Park - qualified for next month's Open Championship at Carnoustie via the Open Qualifying Series on Sunday.

Choi (69) held off Park (66) to win the Korean Open by two shots.

This was the Qualifying Series debut for the Korean Open, whiched awarded Open Championship exemptions to the tournament's top two finishers inside the top eight and ties who were not already qualified.

Choi, the 532nd-ranked player in the Official World Golf Ranking, punched his ticket in his first professional win.

Park, the 146th in the world, is a six-time Korean Tour champion who has already won twice this season. 

Both players will be making their first ever major starts.

“I am absolutely honored to be playing in The Open and I wanted to win this championship to give me [that] opportunity," Choi said. "I cannot believe that I have won today. I am so happy and excited."

“It is a great honor to have qualified for The Open and make my first appearance in the championship," Park added. "I’ve watched The Open on television every single year and I can’t really believe that I have qualified, it is amazing."

The Open Qualifying Series continues next week at the Open de France, where as many as three exemptions will be awarded to the three leading players inside the top 10 and ties who are not already qualified.

The 147th Open will be held at Carnoustie from July 19-22.

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Minjee Lee co-leads Walmart NW Arkansas Championship

By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 12:25 am

ROGERS, Ark. - Minjee Lee wasn't all that concerned when she missed her first cut of the year this month at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

The ninth-ranked Australian has certainly looked at ease and back in form at Pinnacle Country Club in her first event since then.

Lee and Japan's Nasa Hataoka each shot 6-under 65 on Saturday to share the second-round lead in the NW Arkansas Championship 13-under 129. Lee is chasing her fifth victory since turning pro three years ago. It's also an opportunity to put any lingering frustration over that missed cut two weeks ago behind her for good.

''I didn't particularly hit it bad, even though I missed the cut at ShopRite, I just didn't really hole any putts,'' Lee said. ''I'd been hitting it pretty solid going into that tournament and even into this tournament, too. Just to see a couple putts roll in has been nice.''

The 22-year-old Lee needed only 24 putts during her opening 64 on Friday, helping her to match the low round of her career. Despite needing 28 putts Saturday, she still briefly took the outright lead after reaching as low as 14 under after a birdie on the par-5 seventh.

Full-field scores from the Walmart Arkansas Championship

Lee missed the green on the par-4 ninth soon thereafter to lead to her only bogey of the day and a tie with the 19-year-old Hataoka, who is in pursuit of her first career win.

Hataoka birdied six of eight holes midway through her bogey-free round on Saturday. It was yet another stellar performance from the Japanese teenager, who has finished in the top 10 in four of her last five tournaments and will be a part of Sunday's final pairing.

''I try to make birdies and try to be under par, that's really the key for me to get a top ten,'' Hataoka said. ''Golf is just trying to be in the top 10 every single week, so that's the key.''

Third-ranked Lexi Thompson matched the low round of the day with a 64 to get to 11 under. She hit 17 of 18 fairways and shot a 5-under 30 on her opening nine, The American is in search of her first win since September in the Indy Women in Tech Championship.

Ariya Jutanugarn and Celine Boutier were 10 under.

First-round leader Gaby Lopez followed her opening 63 with a 75 to drop to 4 under. Fellow former Arkansas star Stacy Lewis also was 4 under after a 72.