Finchem rebuffs Price's proposed Presidents Cup change

By Rex HoggardAugust 2, 2013, 10:45 pm

If Inbee Park’s quest to win the single-season Grand Slam falls in the Scottish forest, would anyone hear it? If American dominance in the Presidents Cup is wrong, does PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem want to be right? And finally, if the U.S. Golf Association brings its new four-ball championship to golf’s field of dreams, will the golf masses come?

All these questions and more in a “dog days” edition of Cut Line.

Made Cut

Cup half full. The PGA Tour is poised to unveil the new selection process for this year’s World Cup, notable primarily because of adjustments made to attract more countries to the event.

Under the new process, similar to the system that will be used for the 2016 Olympics, the 60-player field will be filled based on the world golf ranking through Sept. 23.

Countries with up to four players within the top 15 in the world ranking can send all four to the event in November. Conversely, a country with just one player who qualifies could send a single player to compete.

This year’s World Cup will feature an individual competition as well as a team component that will be determined via an aggregate score.

Oh yeah, this year’s event is being played at Royal Melbourne, so ... they have that going for them.

Early heat. While we are still not thrilled with the demise of the U.S. Amateur Public Links, give the USGA credit for opening with a strong group of venues for the newly minted U.S. Amateur Four-Ball championships.

The venerable Olympic Club will host the inaugural men’s championship in 2015 while Oregon’s Bandon Dunes – may we suggest Pacific Dunes and Pacific Trails – will be the site of the women’s event.

The folks in Far Hills, N.J., may have gone one better for the 2016 championships, with storied Winged Foot hosting the men and Florida’s Streamsong Resort, the new darling of golf course raters everywhere, will be the venue for the women.

On this the USGA adhered to the No. 1 rule in golf – location, location, location.

Tweet of the week: @KyleThompsonPGA (Kyle Thompson) “If I had to catch my own fish to eat ... I’d be really skinny.”

Feel like there’s a metaphor in there somewhere.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Status quo. According to International Presidents Cup captain Nick Price, he asked Finchem to consider a format change for this year’s matches but the commish balked.

Price asked to reduce the number of team matches to four, like they do at the Ryder Cup, instead of the six foursome and fourball matches that are played on Days 1 and 2 at the Presidents Cup.

“The Europeans put out the eight best players they can. It would be really interesting to see if the Ryder Cup was played under the Presidents Cup points system what the outcome would be,” Price said this week. “(Finchem) didn't think it needed a change. Ernie (Els) and I were really disappointed with the outcome.”

Parity, the U.S. leads the series 7-1-1, doesn’t seem to be high on Finchem’s “to do” list.

Unsolicited advice. There is nothing better than an open microphone and Gary Player. There are few who can light up an interview room like the Black Knight, but he may have fanned one out of bounds when he suggested Rory McIlroy’s struggles on the golf course this year stem from his budding relationship with Caroline Wozniacki.

“When you’re in love as a young man naturally golf seems to take second place for a while. It’s natural. love is still the greatest thing that ever happens in our lives,” Player told My Sporting Life. “But the thing is for a man like Rory with talent galore he’s got to make sure he has a woman like I’ve got, who has been married [to me] for 56 years, that has only encouraged me to do well and made sacrifices. He’s got to be intelligent and find the right wife. If he finds the right wife, if he practices and if he’s dedicated, he could be the man.”

Lost in Player’s however well intended assessment is the fact that McIlroy’s personal choices didn’t seem to be an issue last year, when he won the PGA Championship by eight strokes, dominated the FedEx Cup playoffs and was a hero for the European Ryder Cup team, all with Wozniacki on his arm.

Tweet of the week II: @andyroddick (yes, that Andy Roddick) “I'm so sick of people bagging on McIlroy and Caroline. They're both very bright and nice people. Let them live and stop looking for stories.”

Missed Cut

Apathy. The possibility of a good old single-season Grand Slam doesn’t seem to have ignited the faithful the way it once did.

According to Golf Channel’s Randall Mell, 40 people were on hand at St. Andrews when Inbee Park began her quest for history early Thursday at the Women’s British Open. There were more fans than that in the practice range stands on Thursday as Tiger Woods warmed up for his first round at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

We know it was early and cold and Thursday, but Cut Line expects better from the Scottish masses, which are normally the most golf savvy crowds in the game. Park deserves better.

Spin. Not sure it really matters to the juniors who will benefit, but Sergio Garcia’s media move to donate $1,000 for every birdie and $2,000 for every eagle to the local First Tee chapter at every host city of the event he's playing smacks of spin control.

Garcia created a media maelstrom earlier this season when he made an offensive remark about Tiger Woods at a European Tour awards dinner. 

It should be pointed out that Garica’s charitable efforts back home in Spain are the stuff of legend and the various First Tee programs could certainly use the additional funding, but there is no way to ignore the notion that this most recent move is simply a blatantly clumsy attempt at changing the conversation.

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Ko part of 5-way tie for Mediheal lead

By Associated PressApril 27, 2018, 3:20 am

DALY CITY, Calif. - Lydia Ko was back on top at Lake Merced.

Ko shot a 4-under 68 on a chilly Thursday morning at the LPGA Mediheal Championship for a share of the first-round lead. Jessica Korda, Caroline Hedwall, In-Kyung Kim and Su Oh joined Ko atop the leaderboard in the LPGA's return to Lake Merced after a year away.

''This is a golf course where you need to drive the ball well and putt well,'' said Ko, the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic winner at the course in 2014 and 2015.

Ko eagled the par-5 fifth and had four birdies and a bogey. The New Zealander has 14 LPGA wins, the last in July 2016.

''It's nice to come back to a place where you feel super-welcomed,'' Ko said. ''It just brings back a lot of great memories. ... My family and friends are here this week, so I'm hoping that I'm going to continue the solid play.''

She turned 21 on Tuesday.

''I don't think I feel a huge difference, but I know turning 21 is a huge thing in the U.S.,'' Ko said, ''So, I'm legal and I can do some fun things now.''

Korda, playing alongside Kim a group ahead of Ko, also eagled the fifth and had four birdies and a bogey. Korda won in Thailand in February in her return from reconstructive jaw surgery.

Full-field scores from the LPGA Mediheal Championship

''The score says one thing and my hands say another,'' Korda said. ''It was really cold out there today, so it was good that I stuck to kind of my process. ... Actually, this is still some of the nicer conditions that we've played in compared to the past. I'll take the cold as long as there's no rain.''

Hedwall and Kim each had five birdies and a bogey.

''I just love the city. It's really nice,'' said Hedwall, from Sweden. ''It's sort of a European-style city with all the shopping going on downtown and stuff. I love it here. I even like this weather, suits me really well, too.''

Oh had a bogey-free round. The Australian was the only one of the five players tied for the lead to play in the afternoon.

''It was cold and pretty windy out there and, because it's got a lot of elevation, it kind of swirls in the middle like in the low areas, so it was tough,'' Oh said. ''I hit the ball really solid today. Then the ones I missed, I made really good up-and-downs.''

Lexi Thompson, Sei Young Kim, Charley Hull and Celine Herbin shot 69.

''This course is very challenging, especially when the wind picks up,'' the third-ranked Thompson said. ''It's chilly, so it's a little longer of a course. Some of the par 5s are reachable, so you try to take advantage of that, but pars were good and just take the birdie chances as you can get them.''

Moriya Jutanugarn, the winner Sunday in Los Angeles for her first LPGA title, had a 71 playing with former Stanford student Michelle Wie and ANA Inspiration winner Pernilla Lindberg. Wie had a 74, and Lindberg shot 79. Ariya Jutanugarn matched her sister with a 71, playing in the group with Ko.

Top-ranked Inbee Park matched playing partner Brooke Henderson with a 72. The third member of the afternoon group, second-ranked Shanshan Feng, shot 73.

Juli Inkster shot 72. The 57-year-old Hall of Famer grew up in Santz Cruz, starred at San Jose State and lives in Los Altos. She won the last of her 31 LPGA titles in 2006.

Stacy Lewis had a 74 after announcing that she is pregnant with a due date of Nov. 3. She plans to play through the Marathon Classic in July and return for a full season next year.

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Glover, Reavie share Zurich lead with Chinese pair

By Associated PressApril 27, 2018, 3:04 am

AVONDALE, La. - Chez Reavie had quite a few good moments at TPC Louisiana on Thursday. So did teammate Lucas Glover.

In best-ball format, the most important thing was those moments came on different holes.

Reavie and Glover teamed to shoot a 12-under 60 for a share of the Zurich Classic lead with China's Zhang Xinjun and Dou Zecheng.

''Chez started well and I picked it up in the middle of the back nine,'' Glover said. ''He closed it off and then we both played really well on the front. Just kind of ham and egged it, I guess, as they would say.''

Reavie and Glover each had six birdies in the best-ball format, pushing through soggy weather early in the round before conditions cleared at TPC Louisiana. Six teams are two shots back in a tie for third after shooting 62.

''We were just rolling,'' Reavie said. ''I think we're comfortable. We like to laugh and have a good time when we're playing golf, and it definitely helps.''

Zhang and Dou birdied four of their final five holes. Dou made a 31-foot putt on No. 9 to cap the impressive rally and jump into the lead with Reavie and Glover.

Full-field scores from the Zurich Classic of New Orleans

Zurich Classic of New Orleans: Articles, photos and videos

Tony Finau-Daniel Summerhays, Chris Paisley-Tommy Fleetwood, J.J. Henry-Tom Hoge, Michael Kim-Andrew Putnam, Kevin Kisner-Scott Brown and Troy Merritt-Brendon de Jonge shot 62. Jason Day and Ryan Ruffels shot 64.

It's the first time since last year's Tour Championship that the reigning champs of all four majors have been in the same field. None of them were among the leaders after the first round.

Masters champion Patrick Reed and Patrick Cantlay had a 65, and British Open winner Jordan Spieth and Ryan Palmer were at 66.

''I didn't feel like there was really any rust,'' Reed said. ''I felt like I hit the ball all right today. I felt I hit some good quality putts. A couple of them went in, a couple of them didn't.''

This is the second year that two-player teams have competed at the Zurich Classic. The unusual tournament features best-ball play in the first and third rounds and alternate shot in the second and final rounds.

U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka and Marc Turnesa shot a 67. PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas and Bud Cauley shot a 70.

There are 80 teams in the tournament and the top 35, along with ties, will make the cut after Friday's second round.

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Lewis says she's expecting first child in November

By Randall MellApril 27, 2018, 2:18 am

Stacy Lewis is pregnant.

The 12-time LPGA winner confirmed after Thursday’s first round of the Mediheal Championship that she and her husband, University of Houston women’s golf coach Gerrod Chadwell, are expecting their first child on Nov. 3.

Lewis learned she was pregnant after returning home to Houston in late February following her withdrawal from the HSBC Women’s World Championship with a strained oblique muscle.

“We're obviously really excited,” Lewis said. “It wasn't nice I was hurt, but it was nice that I was home when I found out with [Gerrod]. We're just really excited to start a family.”

Lewis is the third big-name LPGA player preparing this year to become a mother for the first time. Suzann Pettersen announced last month that she’s pregnant, due in the fall. Gerina Piller is due any day.

Full-field scores from the LPGA Mediheal Championship

Piller’s husband, PGA Tour pro Martin Piller, withdrew from the Zurich Classic on Thursday to be with her. Piller and Lewis have been U.S. Solheim Cup partners the last two times the event has been played.

“It's going to be fun raising kids together,” Lewis said. “Hopefully, they're best friends and they hang out. But just excited about the next few months and what it's going to bring.”

Lewis, a former Rolex world No. 1 and two-time major championship winner, plans to play through the middle of July, with the Marathon Classic her last event of the year. She will be looking to return for the start of the 2019 season. The LPGA’s maternity leave policy allows her to come back next year with her status intact.

“This year, the golf might not be great, but I've got better things coming in my life than a golf score.” Lewis said. “I plan on coming back and traveling on the road with the baby, and we'll figure it out as we go.”

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Coach scores in NFL Draft and on golf course

By Grill Room TeamApril 27, 2018, 1:47 am

To say that Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio had a good day Thursday would be an understatement. Not only did his team snag one of the top defensive players in the NFL Draft - Georgia outside linebacker Roquan Smith, who the Bears took with the eighth pick of the first round - but earlier in the day Fangio, 59, made a hole-in-one, sinking a 9-iron shot from 125 yards at The Club at Strawberry Creek in Kenosha, Wis.

Perhaps the ace isn't so surprising, though. In late May 2017, Fangio made another hole-in-one, according to a tweet from the Bears. The only information supplied on that one was the distance - 116 yards.