London Games raise excitement for golf's Olympic inclusion

By Rex HoggardJuly 27, 2012, 4:54 pm

Olympic golf, a largely theoretical concept for many fans that has focused on familiar formats and as-yet-un-built golf courses, will inch closer to reality today when the 2012 Games get underway in London. (Click for Olympics' topic page)

We can’t be the only ones who will be daydreaming during Friday’s Opening Ceremony about golf’s place in the 2016 Games in Rio, and this week’s Cut Line checks under the hood of golf’s Olympic movement.

Made Cut

A stroke of genius. There was plenty of talk last week about the format selected for golf in the ’16 Games, with Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews chief Peter Dawson suggesting that match play or a team competition may be a better fit for future Games.

Those who dismiss stroke play as a viable option, however, must not have been paying attention last Sunday. Adam Scott’s heartbreaking loss combined with Ernie Els’ 72nd-hole heroics at Lytham is all the argument one needs for stroke play.

Critics claim stroke play is a default format for deciding championships and therefore not a good fit for the Olympic Games, but Cut Line’s pretty sure the ancient Greeks never tried to reinvent the wheel.

Bunker mentality. In a preemptive move, the PGA of America declared all of South Carolina “through the green.” Actually, officials ruled that all sandy areas at Kiawah’s Ocean Course will play as waste areas, not bunkers, for next month’s PGA Championship.

This move is in contrast to the 2010 PGA at Whistling Straits when all areas of the course were designated as bunkers. Officials say at Kiawah the sand is natural compared with Whistling Straits where . . . well, nothing is natural.

In an unrelated item Dustin Johnson just ruled all of Wisconsin unplayable.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Devilish details. When officials pitched golf for the 2016 Games, one of the initial concerns was how to fit two weeks of golf competition, one for the men and one for the women, into an already crowded summer dance card.

Officials assured Olympic organizers that none of the game’s major championships would conflict with the ’16 Games, and the PGA of America offered to move the PGA Championship to the last week of July to fulfill that promise.

Still to be determined, however, is when the Open Championship will be played and what impact the Games will have on that year’s Ryder Cup, FedEx Cup playoffs and women’s majors, which will include the Evian Masters in France.

On course. Perhaps the most concerning element for officials as the ’16 Games inch closer is an ongoing land dispute in Brazil for the property where architect Gil Hanse is scheduled to build golf’s 2016 Olympic venue.

Last week at Lytham, Dawson was asked about the property dispute and he sounded confident the course would be ready in time for a “test event” in 2015.

“Better progress to report from Rio than we had last time we met, and I'm confident that we're going forward,” Dawson said. “We're obviously keeping a close eye on it. It is Rio 2016's responsibility to provide the venue, not the International Golf Federation's. But we're involved.”

As one official familiar with the situation explained to Cut Line last week at Lytham, “These things work themselves out in their own special way. It’s just how things happen (in South America).”

Long view. In less than a year, long putters have gone from relative afterthoughts to public enemy No. 1 in golf circles, the byproduct of victories in three of the last four majors by players using longer-than-standard-length putters.

On this U.S. Golf Association executive director Mike Davis was clear, no final decision has been made and golf’s rules-makers have been looking into long putters, specifically anchoring, long before Keegan Bradley (PGA), Webb Simpson (U.S. Open) and Ernie Els (Open Championship) broke the Grand Slam mold.

“That has almost zero to do with it,” Davis said at Lytham. “I do mean that. If we did something, we talked about this fresh look long before any of these guys won majors. To say that we reacted because of the last few guys who won would be unfair.”

If the drumbeat against long putters seems louder given its recent record that’s understandable, but it’s been pounding for some time. Bradley, Simpson and Els only expedited that process.

Tweet of the week: @Steve_Flesch “For the record everyone, I don’t believe that a club should be allowed to be anchored. The ball has gotten away from the USGA.”

Tweet of the week II: @JasonDufner “I will gladly play with balata balls, persimmon heads, etc., just take the course back to 6,700-6,900 (yards). And 495 (yards) is a par 5!”

Missed Cut

Closed shops. There is little doubt that the world’s best athletes marching in Friday’s Opening Ceremony in London are second to none. That’s not always the case in golf.

Consider next week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, which currently features a field of 77 players including Robert Allenby.

Allenby is currently 101st in the Official World Golf Ranking, 97th in FedEx Cup points and has missed (eight) almost as many cuts as he’s made (10) this season, and yet the Australian will have a spot in the limited-field, no-cut event via his status as a captain’s pick for last year’s Presidents Cup.

This is not a knock on Allenby, one of the game’s top ball-strikers, just a system that rewards potential not performance.

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Watch: Bubba casually hits flop shot over caddie's head

By Grill Room TeamMarch 22, 2018, 9:20 pm

We've seen this go wrong. Really wrong.

But when your end-of-year bonus is a couple of brand new vehicles, you're expected to go above and beyond every now and then.

One of those times came early Thursday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, where Bubba Watson’s caddie Ted Scott let his boss hit a flop shot over his head.

It wasn’t quite Phil Mickelson over Dave Pelz, but the again, nothing is.

And the unique warm-up session paid off, as Watson went on to defeat Marc Leishman 3 and 2 to move to 2-0-0 in group play.

Hey, whatever works.

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Spieth explains why he won't play in a 'dome'

By Rex HoggardMarch 22, 2018, 9:01 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – No one at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play was as excited about Thursday’s forecast as Jordan Spieth.

Winds blew across Austin Country Club to 20 mph, which is typical for this time of year in Texas, and Spieth put in a typical performance, beating HaoTong Li, 4 and 2, to remain undefeated entering the final day of pool play.

The windy conditions were exactly what Spieth, who never trailed in his match, wanted. In fact, demanding conditions factor into how he sets his schedule.

“I have, and will continue to schedule tournaments away from a dome, because it's just unusual for me. I like having the feel aspect,” said Spieth, who attended the University of Texas and played Austin Country Club in college. “Places with no wind, where it's just driving range shots, it's just never been something I've been used to. So I don't really know what to do on them.”

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

Spieth used the CareerBuilder Challenge as an example. The Coachella Valley event rarely has windy conditions, and as a result he’s never played the tournament.

“I played in a dome in Phoenix, and I didn't strike the ball well there. Actually I've had quite a few this year, where we didn't have very windy conditions,” said Spieth, who will face Patrick Reed in his final pool play match on Friday. “I don't go to Palm Springs, never have, because of that. Look at where you can take weeks off and if they match up with places that potentially aren't the best for me, then it works out.”

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Curry jokes about Romo's 77: 'Got him by a stroke'

By Grill Room TeamMarch 22, 2018, 8:40 pm

This just in ... professional athletes are competitive. Even when they're playing their secondary sport.

Playing in the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship on a sponsor exemption Thursday, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo started hot with an even-par 36 on his opening nine holes, but faded down the stretch to open with a 5-over 77.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle's Ron Kroichick, Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry couldn't help but crack a smile when informed of the score, saying, "I got him by a stroke."

Curry was referencing his brief foray into pro golf last August, when he shot back-to-back 4-over 74s at the's Ellie Mae Classic.

So just in case Romo needed another reason to go low tomorrow when he tees off at 1 p.m. in the second round, he's got one.

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Group standings at WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 22, 2018, 7:20 pm

Here are the group standings for pool play at the 2018 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship in Austin, Texas. The player with the most points in each pool advanced to Saturday's Round of 16 in Austin, Texas. Click here for scoring and click here for the bracket.

Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4
(1) D. Johnson: 0-2-0 (2) J. Thomas: 1-0-0 (3) J. Rahm: 0-0-1 (4) J. Spieth: 2-0-0
(32) K. Kisner: 0-0-1 (21) F. Molinari: 1-0-0 (28) K. Aphibarnrat: 1-0-0 (19) P. Reed: 2-0-0
(38) A. Hadwin: 1-0-1
(48) P. Kizzire: 0-1-0 (43) C. Reavie: 0-1-0 (34) H. Li: 0-2-0
(52) B. Wiesberger: 1-0-0
(60) L. List: 0-1-0 (63) K. Bradley: 0-0-1 (49) C. Schwartzel: 0-2-0
Group 5 Group 6 Group 7 Group 8
(5) H. Matsuyama: 1-0-0 (6) R. McIlroy: 1-1-0 (7) S. Garcia: 1-0-0 (8) J. Day: 1-0-0
(30) P. Cantlay: 0-1-0
(18) B. Harman: 0-0-1 (20) X. Schauffele: 1-0-0 (25) L. Oosthuizen: 1-0-0
(46) C. Smith: 1-0-0 (44) J. Vegas: 0-1-1 (41) D. Frittelli: 0-1-0 (42) J. Dufner: 0-1-0
(53) Y. Miyazato: 0-1-0 (51) P. Uihlein: 1-0-0 (62) S. Sharma: 0-1-0 (56) J. Hahn: 0-1-0
Group 9 Group 10 Group 11 Group 12
(9) T. Fleetwood: 1-1-0 (10) P. Casey: 1-0-0 (11) M. Leishman: 0-2-0 (12) T. Hatton: 1-0-0
(26) D. Berger: 0-2-0 (31) M. Fitzpatrick: 0-1-0 (23) B. Grace: 1-1-0 (22) C. Hoffman: 0-1-0
(33) K. Chappell: 1-1-0 (45) K. Stanley: 1-0-0 (35) B. Watson: 2-0-0 (36) B. Steele: 1-0-0
(58) I. Poulter: 2-0-0 (51) R. Henley: 0-1-0 (64) J. Suri: 1-1-0 (55) A. Levy: 0-1-0
Group 13 Group 14 Group 15 Group 16
(13) A. Noren: 2-0-0 (14) P. Mickelson: 1-1-0 (15) P. Perez: 0-0-1 (16) M. Kuchar: 1-0-1
(29) T. Finau: 2-0-0 (17) R. Cabrera Bello: 1-1-0 (24) G. Woodland: 0-0-1 (27) R. Fisher: 1-1-0
(39) T. Pieters: 0-2-0 (40) S. Kodaira: 0-2-0 (37) W. Simpson: 0-0-1 (47) Y. Ikeda: 1-1-0
(61) K. Na: 0-2-0 (59) C. Howell III: 2-0-0 (50) S.W. Kim: 0-0-1 (54) Z. Johnson: 0-1-1