Cut Line: Village people put on a show

By Rex HoggardJune 1, 2012, 5:20 pm

It’s raining so that must mean the PGA Tour is at Muirfield Village, but not even the ever-present threat of the weather-warning horn can dampen the proceedings this week thanks to tournament host Jack Nicklaus, who has the unique ability to make one, all at once, laugh and cry. And that’s before players ever even reach the redesigned 16th hole.

Made Cut

Golden moments. Only Jack Nicklaus, some 26 years removed from his last PGA Tour victory, can still captivate crowds and this week at Muirfield Village the Golden Bear did not disappoint.

On the eve of this year’s Memorial, Nicklaus honored his good friend and rival Tom Watson, who outdueled the Golden Bear in some of the game’s greatest clashes. But if Nicklaus holds a grudge against Old Tom it certainly didn’t seem that way during the induction ceremony.

“He embodies everything I could want in a friend,” an emotional Nicklaus said of Watson.

We all knew Nicklaus was a great champion, but we continue to learn what a great person he is.

Bulletin boards. OK, so European swing guru Pete Cowen didn’t do the Continent any favors when he suggested last week that captain Jose Maria Olazabal could whip the Americans at Medinah with his “B” team.

Yet considering Europe’s dominance in recent years it’s not a completely ridiculous comment and when asked later to clarify Cowen didn’t attempt to run for cover.

“People have been coming up to me to ask about it and I’ve been telling them that I meant what I said. To be honest, I get fed up with those who sit on the fence,” Cowen said. “They go on and on about how difficult away matches can be when they should be sending positive vibes.”

Cut Line doesn’t agree with Cowen but you have to appreciate the message, as well as the Englishman’s decision to own it.

Tweet of the Day: @Harris_English “Sitting in the safe house off No. 4 green (at Memorial). Jerry Springer is on TV. Ryo (Ishikawa) is getting his chance to experience America at its finest.”

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Scheduling. Maybe it was the three straight tournaments, ending with the Byron Nelson Championship where he tied for seventh, or the emotional World Golf Hall of Fame induction ceremony, or jet-setting stops in Italy and France to celebrate his wife’s 40th birthday. Or maybe it was the Tuesday outing on Long Island.

Or, for those who spend their time searching for gunmen on grassy knolls, it was a lax cell phone policy or that 7-over Thursday card that sent Phil Mickelson packing at the Memorial.

Chances are it was a combination of all these things that prompted Lefty to withdraw and, truth is, it doesn’t really matter. He made no secret about this, all that matters right now is the U.S. Open, a West Coast Open for the “People’s champion,” whatever that means.

You can question Mickelson’s scheduling, but not his priorities.

Status quo. First Capt. Boom Boom let it slip, as only Fred Couples could, that he was “going to help (U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III)” this year at Medinah, then he told anyone who would listen that it won’t be an “official” partnership.

Translation: The PGA of America isn’t ready or willing to embrace the idea that Couples – a two-time Presidents Cup captain who will get his third turn to go undefeated next year – may be exactly what the American side needs.

As a general rule, The PGA and PGA Tour don’t like to share captains and Captain Couples doesn’t exactly fit the mold of the buttoned-up skipper. But with the U.S. side mired in a 2-for-8 slump and desperately needing a victory on home soil this year, it may be time to color outside the lines.

Whatever Couples is bringing to the table at the Presidents Cup, it’s working. So we don’t care if you call him the “Lead golf cart driver/storyteller,” get him to Medinah and watch the fireworks.

Missed Cut

Not-so-sweet 16th. Nicklaus once referred to Muirfield Village’s par-3 16th as a good way to get from the 15th green to the 17th tee, a nondescript bridge that had a round-peg-in-a-square-hole feel to it.

Nicklaus’ answer was a new green, an extra 15 yards and a lake, transforming the former afterthought into the second-hardest hole this week. On Thursday, 17 tee shots found the water – including Mickelson and Bubba Watson on consecutive swings – and just 30 of 120 attempts found the green.

Only Nicklaus could turn a good way to get to the 17th tee into a reason to keep walking to the parking lot.

Grand Standing . . . eh, Slam. A year removed from the official start of his golden years, Colin Montgomerie revealed this week that he’s warming to the idea of a second career on the over-50 circuit, even suggesting that he is intrigued by the notion of winning the “Senior Slam.”

“I am tempted by the idea of a ‘senior grand slam,’” Monty said. “A tall order, I know, but golfing dreams are not the preserve of the young.”

Of course the entire affair smacks of revisionist nonsense by a player who realized a decade or so too late that he probably should have spent more energy chasing traditional majors instead of those eight European Tour Order of Merit titles.

Besides, has no one explained to Monty that the “Senior Slam” consists of five majors – Senior PGA, U.S. Senior Open, Tradition, Senior Players and British Senior Open – and that four of those tilts are contested in Lower 48?

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Hataoka leads Minjee Lee by one at LPGA Volvik

By Associated PressMay 26, 2018, 12:54 am

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - After losing in a playoff last weekend, Nasa Hataoka is making another bid for her first LPGA Tour victory.

Hataoka shot a 4-under 68 on Friday, and the Japanese teenager led by one stroke over Minjee Lee after the second round of the Volvik Championship. Hataoka, who is coming off the first two top-10 finishes of her LPGA career, made seven birdies at Travis Pointe Country Club. She began her round on No. 10, and her best stretch came toward the end, when she birdied Nos. 4, 5 and 6.

''I'm really comfortable playing the LPGA,'' the 19-year-old Hataoka said through a translator. ''I've really got confidence now.''

Hataoka made the cut nine times in 17 starts as a rookie in 2017, and she has made significant strides of late. She tied for seventh at last month's MEDIHEAL Championship and nearly won a week ago at the Kingsmill Championship in Virginia.

Hataoka finished the second round in Michigan at 9 under. Lee (69) was also solid Friday. Gaby Lopez (68), Jodi Ewart Shadoff (70) and Lindy Duncan (70) were a stroke behind Lee in a tie for third.

Hataoka did not make a single bogey in last week's three-round tournament, and she didn't have any in the first round in Michigan. She finally made a few Friday, but that didn't stop her from taking sole possession of the lead.

''I kind of feel like not really perfect, but I just kind of try to (be) aggressive,'' she said.

Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship

Lee, who lost by one stroke on this course last year, is in contention again.

''I guess the fairways are pretty generous and I think the greens are a little bit on the trickier side to read,'' Lee said. ''As long as your iron shots are pretty solid, I think you're going to be in good position around this golf course.''

Lee birdied the first two holes, and the only blemish on her scorecard Friday came on the par-5 14th. After missing the fairway to the right, she hit an aggressive shot out of the rough that went straight toward a water hazard well in front of the green. She settled for a bogey after taking a drop.

''I thought the ball was sitting OK in the rough, but it must have been a bit funny, or underneath it,'' she said. ''I made a mistake. I thought it was good enough to hit 3-wood there.''

Lee lost last year in Michigan to Shanshan Feng, but Feng will have some ground to make up in her attempt to repeat. She shot 69 on Friday but is still eight strokes behind the leader.

Ariya Jutanugarn was 6 under after a second consecutive 69.

Lopez made only six pars in the second round, tied for the fewest of the day, but her eight birdies and four bogeys put her near the top of the leaderboard.

''It was a little bit of an up and down,'' she said. ''There's so many opportunities out here to make birdie, that the most important thing to do is just to be patient, to be in the moment and not to get ahead of yourself. I think I came back from a couple mistakes that I did.''

In contrast to Lopez, Brittany Lincicome parred all 18 holes Friday and made the cut at 1 under. Paula Creamer (71) triple bogeyed the par-4 13th. She followed that with an eagle on the very next hole but missed the cut by a stroke.

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Childhood rivals share Sr. PGA lead

By Associated PressMay 26, 2018, 12:00 am

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. - Kevin Sutherland and Scott McCarron have been rivals since their junior golf days around Sacramento, California. The two old friends were back at it Friday at the top of the Senior PGA Championship leaderboard.

''It's honestly, nothing new for us,'' said Sutherland who played in the third-to-last group and birdied his last two holes for a 5-under 66 to match McCarron at 8 under.

McCarron had a 68 in the morning wave to emerge from a championship record group of six tied for the first-round lead.

Sutherland was last year's Charles Schwab Cup winner with his only senior win coming in the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship, while McCarron has six PGA Tour Champions wins, including a major at the 2017 Senior Players Championship.

''We are both (Northern California) guys, played in high school, junior golf, on tour and it seems like a lot on the Champions Tour,'' Sutherland said. ''We were in the last group on Sundays a lot last year. Scott played so well and had an incredible year, and I had a great year, too.''

Sutherland's lone PGA Tour victory came at McCarron's expense in 2002 at La Costa in the Accenture Match Play Championship, when he beat McCarron 1 up in the 36-hole final. As youngsters they played on opposing high school teams located about an hour apart and met often in state tournaments as well as on the California junior circuit.

''It's been happening for 30 years, wait 35 years now, I guess,'' Sutherland said. ''Playing together on a Saturday is a little different. We're both still trying to get in position to win.''

Jerry Kelly shot a 65 to join Tim Petrovic (69), Chris Williams (68) and Joe Durant (67) at 7 under. Durant tied for second last week in the Regions Tradition, also a major championship.

Full-field scores from the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship

McCarron feels like he is just starting to warm to the task this year. He had to replace his clubs, including a favored putter damaged beyond repair in air transit two months ago.

''I've been putting with a back-up putter I had, but it just didn't feel quite right,'' he said. ''I changed last Sunday at the Regions Tradition and started putting better on Sunday. So I'm using this one again this week and seem to be putting pretty good with it.''

McCarron said the Harbor Shores course played a little tougher in light winds in the second round. He made six birdies and three bogeys.

''I would just like to have a couple of those bogeys back,'' he said. ''But we're in a good position going into the weekend.''

McCarron came to the press center after his round and walked in on a press conference where course-designer Jack and Barbara Nicklaus were being honored by sponsoring KitchenAid with the establishment of a local college scholarship program in their name.

McCarron, who said he has idolized Nicklaus since his youth, played media and asked Nicklaus what he ate when he was near the lead going into the weekend of a major championship.

Nicklaus said if you play well one day, eat the same thing the next day.

''But no hamburgers, or you will play like hamburger,'' he said.

Stuart Smith, the Reno, Neveda, club pro who was tied for the lead after the first round, missed the 36-hole cut with a second-round 83.

''I'll take the 66, 83 and enjoy the 66 yesterday,'' he said. ''You put this one down to just plain old golf. It's a nasty game we play sometimes. Glad I have a day job.''

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Wise, Simpson both miss cut at Colonial

By Nick MentaMay 25, 2018, 11:34 pm

The two most recent winners on the PGA Tour, Aaron Wise and Webb Simpson, missed the cut at the Fort Worth Invitational on Friday.

Wise and Simpson both came up short of the 2-over total by a shot following rounds of 70-73.

Wise was safely inside the number before playing his last four holes in 4 over par with two bogeys and a closing double following a trip into the water at the par-4 ninth.

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

Simpson, making his first start following his Players triumph, similarly struggled coming home, bogeying three of his final six holes.

Other notables who won't be around for the weekend at Colonial include Xander Schauffele (+4), Jason Dufner (+5), Patrick Cantlay (+6), Smylie Kaufman (+13), and Sam Burns (+13).

This is Kaufman's 11th consecutive MC and his 15th in his last 16 starts.

Jason Seaman and Kristi Hubly Seaman

Sr. PGA caddie learns of nephew's heroism in school shooting

By Tim RosaforteMay 25, 2018, 10:33 pm

Tracy Hubly caddied for her husband, club pro Chris Starkjohann, on Friday at the KitchenAid Senior PGA and learned after their round that her nephew was credited with helping stop the school shooting at Noblesville West Middle School in Indiana.

Jason Seaman, a 29-year-old science instructor and seventh grade football coach at the school, took three bullets but survived as what his aunt called a hero.

“You hear the stories about these shootings and I think about Parkland and the officer that was trained but didn’t go into the school,” Hubly said. “It’s really shocking to think it comes close to your family, but it does."

It’s not unusual for Hubly to caddie for her husband, a teacher at Carlsbad Golf Center and coach of a PGA Junior League program in Southern California. Hubly, who works in the pro shop at Emerald Island Golf Course in Oceanside, Calif., was on the bag when he was low golf professional at the 2009 Senior PGA Championship held at Canterbury GC. 

Starkjohann, 61, missed the cut at Harbor Shores with rounds of 76-79—155 and was heading to the Colorado State Open.

 “I didn’t hear about it until after my round was done,” Starkjohann said. “Everything happened after I got in.”