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Cut Line: Venues, victories and very peculiar calls

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The calm before the PGA Championship storm is upon us but that doesn’t mean there’s a dearth of winners and losers to fill out this week’s Cut Line.

Made Cut

Rule of three. While the public and some players continue to stew over everything that went wrong at last month’s U.S. Open (and there was plenty to stew over at Chambers Bay), the USGA went a long way to changing the conversation with Wednesday’s unveiling of the 2022-’24 Open venues.

Although it was not exactly a surprise, Pinehurst will host the ’24 Open – marking the fourth time the national championship is played on the No. 2 course – and The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., was named the venue for the ’22 championship.

The biggest news, however, was Los Angeles Country Club being awarded the ’23 Open to become just the sixth Left Coast course to host the national championship. It will mark the third West Coast Open venue in five years (the 2021 championship will be played at Torrey Pines) and continue an interesting shift for the USGA away from the traditional Eastern staples.

Tweet of the Week: Actually, this week’s social media snapshot comes via FaceBook and caddie Damon Green, who posted a picture (below) of Jordan Spieth drinking from the claret jug won by Zach Johnson.

Count this as reason No. 642 to admire Spieth, whose bid to become just the second player to win the Masters, U.S. Open and Open Championship came up agonizingly short on Monday in St. Andrews.

Despite the obvious heartbreak, the 21-year-old was waiting to congratulate Johnson after he won the four-hole playoff and, as this picture suggests, had no problem joining the celebration afterward.


Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Time for a Hall call. There seems to be plenty of blame to go around following last week’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony at St. Andrews.

Laura Davies was unable to attend the ceremony because of travel issues after she tied for 47th place at the U.S. Women’s Open.

Maybe the Hall could have tried harder to get Davies to the ceremony. Maybe Davies could have taken greater precautions to avoid the empty seat on the stage, but it seems the real issue here would be the easiest fix.

The current Hall of Fame criteria allows a player to be considered for induction at 40 years old. Given the length of current careers – Davies is 51 – it seems like a good time to adjust that minimum (55 sounds like a good number) and possibly avoid a similar scenario in the future.

Slow play. Maybe the wheels of justice grind slowly for good reason, but as the PGA Tour digs in for another protracted legal battle it’s hard not to see some of this maneuvering as a delay tactic.

On Thursday a U.S. District Court judge denied the Tour’s motion to change venue in its ongoing lawsuit with a group of caddies.

After months of motions and discovery, judge Vince Chhabria needed only about 40 minutes to deny the circuit’s request to move the case to Florida’s middle district, which is closer to the Tour’s headquarters in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

The next legal speed bump will be an Oct. 1 hearing on the Tour’s impending motion to dismiss the lawsuit and on it will go. We understand why lady justice must be blind, but does she need to be so slow?

Missed Cut

Olympic effort. As the 2016 Tour schedule continues to come into focus, it’s also becoming clearer how much of an impact next year’s Olympic Games will have on professional golf.

The Games will be played Aug. 11-14 in Brazil, leaving Tour officials to dramatically overhaul the second half of next year’s schedule, a nip/tuck that will see the Travelers Championship moved from its normal spot behind the U.S. Open to the week after the PGA Championship in early August.

Sources also suggest the John Deere Classic will be played the same week as the men’s competition in Rio followed by the Wyndham Championship.

None of these moves are ideal, although everyone involved is putting a positive spin on the overhaul, and should prompt officials to begin proactive planning to avoid a similar fire drill in 2020 when the Games are played in Japan.

Moon ball. Duty and honor are concepts Cut Line can understand. What we struggle to fathom, however, is a shortsighted and dogmatic adherence to the rules, like in the case of Sangmoon Bae.

Bae was informed this week that a South Korean court had denied his request for an extension to delay his mandatory military service.

South Korean men between the ages of 18 and 35 years must complete two years of military service because the country technically remains at war with North Korea.

Bae is the second-highest ranked South Korean in the world (107th) and is currently qualified for next year’s Olympic Games in Rio. Perhaps more compelling is the 29-year-old’s potential status on this year’s International Presidents Cup team.

The two-time Tour winner is currently 23rd on the International points list and a strong candidate for a captain’s pick considering that this year’s matches will be played in South Korea.

The value of Bae to the South Korean military is understandable, but just imagine his worth to the nation as a Presidents Cup player and Olympian?