Cut Line: World Golf HOF should take a page from MLB

By Rex HoggardJanuary 11, 2013, 4:53 pm

For those who contend the season doesn’t really start until next week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, or maybe it’s the Farmers Insurance Open, Cut Line offers a crowded dance card of comings and goings that begins with The Honda Classic’s move to keep PGA National in the PGA Tour rotation and may end with Kapalua dropping out of the lineup.

Made Cut

No Hall Call. Whatever side of the Barry Bonds/Roger Clemens debate you reside on, this week’s no-vote by Baseball’s Hall of Fame makes the World Golf Hall of Fame’s increasingly inclusionary practices seem reactionary.

No major leaguer received the 75 percent of the vote required for induction for just the eighth time since 1936, the ugly byproduct of the game’s steroids era and an intriguing lead for golf’s HOF to follow.

Where baseball seems content with quality over quantity, the World Golf Hall of Fame sees strength in numbers even when it seems a more discerning approach would be a better option.

As one golf scribe recently pointed out, this is the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Good. If everyone is special, no one is.

Location, location, location. The Honda Classic’s status as one of the circuit’s most improved stops received another boost this week with news the event had extended its contract with PGA National.

Following more than a decade of substandard venues and poor fields, the brain trust in South Florida realized those two elements are not mutually exclusive and moved to PGA National in 2007. The results have been indisputable.

In 2012, the event may have had the best closing round (non-major category) thanks to Tiger Woods’ spirited Sunday charge and Rory McIlroy’s gutsy victory, and the event has quickly become a “can’t miss” stop on the crowded Florida swing.

It doesn’t hurt that many high-profile Tour types (Woods, McIlroy, et al) now call South Florida home, but the No. 1 rule when trying to woo a quality field on Tour is simple – location, location, location.

Tweet of the week: @Scott_Langley “Here we go! #SonyOpen”

On cue, the rookie roared out in his first turn as a card-carrying member with an 8-under 62 to take the early lead. Apparently Langley never got the memo that says newcomers are supposed to ease their way into Tour life.

Keeping up with Jones. Good to see the American Society of Golf Course Architects named Rees Jones this year’s recipient of the Donald Ross Award. Whether you like Jones’ work or not, his impact on the game, particularly at the highest level, is undeniable.

There are four Jones redesigns in the PGA Tour rotation this year and that doesn’t include his current work at venerable staples like Oakland Hills, Baltusrol and Bellerive.

The Open Doctor’s portfolio is beyond reproach, but Cut Line can only assume that Phil Mickelson didn’t have a vote for the Ross Award.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Celebrity. It was a telling measure of McIlroy’s growing reach that on the same day he announced plans for his new charity foundation, pictures of what were reportedly the Ulsterman’s new Nike Golf clubs were leaked.

A member of Team Rory declined to comment on the pictures but did say they were disappointed the incident overshadowed the release of McIlroy’s “six bags” initiative, which will begin next week in Abu Dhabi and benefit the Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children.

It’s a valuable lesson that took Woods more than a decade to learn: When the world is watching it’s often impossible to control the message.

Oh, captain. Next year’s European Ryder Cup captain, and possibly the 2016 skipper, will be announced next week in Abu Dhabi and momentum seems to be building for Colin Montgomerie to get a second turn at the big chair.

Although Monty – who was successful in his first campaign (2010) and owns a home just miles from Gleneagles, site of the 2014 matches – is certainly a viable option it seems the European tournament committee, like the PGA of America, is missing an opportunity.

Although Sandy Lyle’s Ryder Cup snub doesn’t feel as egregious as Larry Nelson’s, it is still one of the game’s great mysteries that a two-time major champion from Scotland doesn’t even rate consideration.

Missed Cut

Aloha. To be fair there is nothing organizers at last week’s Hyundai Tournament of Champions could have done about the blustery conditions that reduced the event to 54 holes and pushed the finale to Tuesday, but the weather woes will do little to help a tournament already on the ropes.

This is the last year of Hyundai’s current deal with the tournament and the combination of poor weather and missing stars (last week’s event was played sans world No. 1 McIlroy, No. 2 Luke Donald and No. 3 Woods) will only make the current contract talks to secure an extension that much more difficult.

As former Kapalua organizer Mark Rolfing told the Honolulu Advertiser last week, “weaker fields and the date’s conflict with the International Consumer Electronics Show could mortally wound a Tour stop that goes back nearly 50 years.”

For the record, if Hyundai fails to re-sign and the event goes the way of the Dodo bird it would mark the second tournament hijacked by the circuit’s new split-calendar schedule (the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic should be considered the first), but it would be the most high profile.

The dreaded pass along. It occurs from time to time when something Cut Line has written is relayed to a player via a third party and something is lost in translation. Something like that transpired last week between NBC’s Johnny Miller and Ian Poulter; though, Cut Line was not involved.

During the telecast of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, Miller referred to the Englishman as “fairly dramatic.” When the episode was passed on to Poulter via his legion of followers on Twitter, however, he was led to believe Miller called him a “drama queen.”

This prompted a series of pointed tweets from Poulter including, “Johnny Miller why don't you come interview me live and say that stuff straight to my face. . . . Was (sic) you watching a different channel?”

For all of Twitter’s attributes, and believe me Cut Line would be lost without its 140-character updates, it is what the platform fails to provide that is often the most concerning – context.

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Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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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

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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.”

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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.”