Cut Line: USGA bats .500

By Rex HoggardMay 22, 2015, 9:23 pm

In this week’s Cut Line, the powers that be at the USGA make the right call for an Open qualifier, but the jury is still out on the Chambers Bay experiment.


Made Cut

Common sense goes 1 up. It’s not often that the USGA gets style points for doing the right thing (see “Bay Watch” item below), as opposed to what is correct according to the small print.

But in this case the USGA deserves kudos for allowing Alison Lee to switch her qualifying site this week for the U.S. Women’s Open. Lee was preoccupied on Monday at the LPGA’s Kingsmill Championship, where she finished third, and couldn’t make it to her scheduled qualifier on Monday in Virginia.

Instead, the USGA allowed Lee to switch to a qualifier in California on Wednesday where she carded a two-round total of 2-over 144 to earn a spot in the Women’s Open.

Now, if only the Rules of Golf had the same “sanity clauses.”

Tweet of the week: @Alisonn_Lee (Alison Lee) “Had a 3:05 time [Sunday] then 7 a.m. [Monday]. I also have to forfeit playing the Women’s Open qualifier tomorrow. I’ve definitely had better days.”

Lee followed that tweet on May 17 with another the next day, “Playing at Goose Creek [Mira Loma, Calif.] tomorrow for the U.S. Women’s Open. Thanks @USGA.”

When more is more. Detractors will point to Rory McIlroy’s 71-78--MC at the BMW PGA Championship as evidence that the world No. 1 is playing too much golf, and maybe there is something to that notion.

McIlroy has been unbeatable the last few weeks, winning the WGC-Cadillac Match Play and Wells Fargo Championship, but the BMW PGA was his fourth consecutive week and it seems like the Northern Irishman hit the metaphorical wall in England where he missed the cut.

But McIlroy doesn’t adhere to the less-is-more philosophy made so popular by Tiger Woods, electing instead to take advantage of courses where he has played well in the past and the good vibes he’s earned over the last few weeks.

That take has McIlroy batting .500 in his last four events with next week’s Irish Open at Royal County Down looming. It may not be a perfect model for everyone, but it certainly works for him.


Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Scheduling difficulties. It’s always tough to criticize players for their schedules, considering the independent contractors can plan as they please, but Patrick Reed’s decision to skip this week’s BMW PGA Championship seems curious.

Reed said last week at Quail Hollow that he was looking forward to playing the BMW PGA, along with the Irish Open, as part of his new commitment to European Tour membership, but on Saturday he informed tournament officials at the BMW PGA that he wouldn’t be playing the event because of “family reasons.”

Instead, Reed is playing this week’s Crowne Plaza Invitational, which he would have had to commit to by last Friday afternoon at the latest.

Reed told Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte that he decided to play Colonial following the death of his wife’s cousin on Tuesday night.

Scheduling issues come up in every walk of life and this certainly was an unavoidable absence, but better communication likely would have alleviated the confusion.


Missed Cut

Hope-less. It was 29 years ago when the PGA West Stadium Course last hosted a round during the Bob Hope Classic, and that didn’t go very well.

At the time, Ken Green said the only thing the course needed was a few sticks of dynamite, and the amateurs that are just as much a part of the show at the CareerBuilder Challenge found the Stadium Course akin to dental surgery.

So forgive Cut Line if we don’t celebrate the return of the Stadium Course – which will join the Nicklaus Tournament course and La Quinta Country Club – to the event’s rotation.

The Stadium Course has been a fine venue for the Tour’s Q-School in recent years, where frayed nerves come with the courtesy car, but at the CareerBuilder Challenge, where most players are looking to ease their way into the season, it may be a bit too much.

Bay Watch. USGA executive director Mike Davis caused a stir among the play-for-pay set when he recently said a cursory glance at Chambers Bay, site of this year’s U.S. Open, would not do.

“The idea of coming in and playing two practice rounds and having your caddie just walk it and using your yardage book, that person’s done,” Davis said. “Will not win the U.S. Open.”

On Sunday following his seven-stroke victory at the Wells Fargo Championship, McIlroy was asked about Davis’ comments and the idea that the rank and file would need extra time to prepare for the year’s second major.

“What’s Mike Davis’ handicap?” McIlroy asked.

To McIlroy’s point, if a course needs to be played a multitude of times to be understood, does that really make it a worthy test?

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Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

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Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

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Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

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Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

“There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.


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In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

“To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

“To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.