Cut Line

By Rex HoggardOctober 17, 2009, 12:44 am

Meaningful golf remains, at least for the 125 or so independent contractors in search of gainful employment in 2010, which means another Friday comes and goes with an eclectic assortment of would-be champions and woebegone also-rans.

We begin this weeks edition with a man who spent the better part of the last half century searching for the truth, and end it with a man who decided truth is a matter of political expediency.

Made Cut

Furman Bisher: Late in the summer of 2006 and just down the road from Royal Yellow Brick Road (aka Hoylake) a colleague spotted the deans of golf writing, Dan Jenkins and Bisher, having drinks and holding court in a local pub.

Two hours later more than a century of sports writing packed up and headed home and the history lesson they left behind, from Hogan to Jones to Cobb, was worth the late night, to say nothing of the Transatlantic flight, bad food and roundabouts.

On Sunday Bisher penned his final column for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and already press rooms from Torrey Pines to TPC Sawgrass seem less welcoming.

For 59 years Bisher was the voice of Atlanta sports, covering Super Bowls and Olympics and World Series with equal parts creativity and depth of knowledge. But it was his presence at Augusta National that will be missed the most. Bisher may not have coined the sports writing staple, swans to Capistrano, but he used it more artfully than any other to refer to golfs annual Masters migration.

Fittingly, Bishers final literary turn for the Journal-Constitution was written on his trusty Royal typewriter and came complete with a familiar ending ' Selah.

The Body: A threesome of LPGA players were among the athletes who went Henrik Stenson for ESPN The Magazines now-annual Body issue.

Some will twist this into something undignified or banal, while others will applaud the LPGA trio for bringing some much-needed attention to a sport that has suffered more than its share of body blows this season. Lost amid the cacophony of the debate, however, will be a new perspective of professional golfers as athletes. Although a running joke in mainstream sports circles, anyone who has ever spent any amount of time in the Tours travelling gym can attest ' these guys are good and, regardless of stereotype, are in good shape.

Of course, the Tour can hold off on supplemental performance-enhancing drug testing, the issue also includes athletes from table tennis and sumo wrestling.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

John Daly: Another 180 from JD should come as no surprise. A healthy, happy and controversy-free Daly is good for the game, as well as the Tour, but his announcement this week that he would play the Viking Classic later this month doesnt pass the sniff test.

According to Daly his injuries have healed enough thanks to stem cell injections that his doctors cleared him to play and he quickly accepted a sponsors invitation for the Viking. Yet at 215th in earnings (with about $68K) there is little chance he will convert the freebie into a 2010 Tour card and he said in a recent interview that he will use the start to test new wedges with next years conforming grooves.

Daly also has taken another pass on going to Q-School to reclaim his playing privileges, all of which doesnt sound like a man on a card quest. Daly may be good for the gate, but wouldnt that exemption feel better if it went to a player who was serious about earning or keeping a Tour card?

Justin Timberlake: The host with the most is putting on a good show in a town that knows a thing or two about star power, and practice range scuttlebutt has it the Las Vegas stop, thanks to Timberlakes work and cache, could land a spot in the FedEx Cup schedule on future calendars. But the entertainer went sideways when he compared himself to the uber-cool Rat Pack.

I'm kind of intrigued by the fact that maybe we can bring that type of synergy and that type of style, that type of legend about the game in modern day, Timberlake said. I just have to find three or four other guys who can really get out there and play and who love it, who can play the part and dress the part.

  • Youre cool, baby, but Sinatra? Martin? Jr.? Really?

Missed Cut

The economy: After 42 years one of the Tours lunchbox events took a 10-count this week, the victim of a sagging economy and an undesirable date on the circuits crowded mid-summer docket.

The charity that ran the Tours Milwaukee stop announced this week they would dissolve and the scramble to replace U.S. Bank, which did not pick up its three-year title sponsor option after this years playing, appears over.

A spot on the schedule alongside the British Open made Milwaukee something of a competitive afterthought, but it seems like a melancholy swansong for an event that gave us Hello, world in 1996 for Tiger Woods professional debut.

Officials were hopeful the tournament could return to the fold in 2011 and Cut Line can think of one possible winning scenario ' The Steve Stricker Invitational.

Robert Allenby. Waxed 5 and 3 in Sunday singles, it seems the Aussie waxed a few minutes too long outside the International sides cabin at Harding Park last weekend.

There is no question the Aussie out-punted his coverage when he labeled Anthony Kim, his Sunday singles opponent, the John Daly of the new generation and said the young American was out until 4 a.m. on the eve of the final matches.

The Tour, Allenby, Kim and golf would have been better off if Allenby would have pleaded no comment and joined his teammates on the bus, but the forced, Tour-driven public apology simply gave the row more legs, and his claim that his comments were taken out of context begs the question: in what context should they have been taken?

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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.


Updated Official World Golf Ranking


There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.


Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”