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The Sweet-and-Sour Edition

Pro-Am week is one of the more curious cuts of the year. Pebble Beach is the ultimate love/hate deal for those whose professional fortunes ebb and flow to the tune of serenading sea lions and the pounding panorama of the Pacific Ocean.
On one hand, a wanting scorecard, Crosby weather, and glacial rounds can weigh on even the best attitudes, but if one needs a reason to bust out of their mental prison the most-mesmerizing views in all golf are normally little more than a head turn away.
Missing, or making, the cut at the Clambake is relative.

  • Democracy: Two names emerged from last weeks initial meeting of the Players Advisory Council as possible heirs to the PACs chairmanship, and the Tour wont go wrong with either option.
    Word is PAC and Policy Board staple Davis Love III has been listed as a candidate for this years PAC chairmanship alongside modern sophist Paul Goydos. This years PAC chair ascends to the Policy Board in 2010.
    The Cut Line will stay clear of any endorsements, but will objectively point out that DLIII has done his time on the Policy Board. Its also worth noting that the nine-member board could use an independent, and alternative voice like Goydos as the Tour begins to struggle with economic headwinds.
    Any Tour player who sports a Dirtbags hat and maintains his mens club membership at his local muni must know how to stretch a dollar.
  • LPGA: No, were not referring to the new 10-year deal the circuit penned with Golf Channel, but the wave of potential that has engulfed the season opener in Hawaii.
    Michelle Wie putted like a 13-year-old (24 putts), hit the ball like a 23-year-old (nine fairways and 12 greens in regulation) and managed her game like a 33-year-old. It all added up to a 6-under 66 and the best opening act any Hollywood screen writer would be proud of.
  • Arnold Palmer: If anyone would have an inside track on when Tiger Woods will emerge from his surgery-induced slumber it would be The King, right?
    We spotted a billboard on Interstate 4 in Orlando, Fla., on Thursday advertising next months Arnold Palmer Invitational adorned with a larger-than-life picture of the defending champion.
    Now, putting the defending champ on tournament marketing is SOP, and it could just be wishful thinking. But with 62 Tour victories its impossible to bet against The King.

  • Dustin Johnson: Little surprise one of the circuits longest hitters swung for the fences on one the circuits shortest layouts (Pebble Beach, 6,874 yards). What may surprise some is how the athletic swingman prepared for 2009.
    The world may dig the long ball, but its Johnsons iron and bunker play that has separated him from the sophomore pack this season.
    On Tuesday, Johnsons swing coach Allen Terrell texted his star student, Look at the good job youre doing (on ShotLink).
    Specifically, Johnson has jumped almost 100 spots in greens in regulation (from 129th last year to 39th) and 150 spots in sand saves (178th in 2008 to 28th). His share of the first-round lead at Pebble Beach was a testament to Johnsons improvement, but it also cast a glaring light on the World Golf Ranking.
    Because the second-year player only has played 36 sanctioned events and the ranking requires a 40-tournament minimum there is no way for him to qualify for the WGC-Match Play or the WGC-CA Championship. College football has the BCS, presidential elections have the electoral college, and the Tour has the World Ranking.
  • Spyglass Hill Golf Club: The wallflower dwarfed by Pebble Beachs lengthy shadow never gets its due.
    Sure, Pebble Beach is the pride of the Pacific and has more history than a seventh-grade text book, but its cross-peninsula stepbrother isnt too shabby. Quiz ten off-the-shelf Tour players, who dont get taken in by sweeping vistas or $450 tee times, and chances are half would rather play Spyglass.
  • Tim Finchem: For the first time in 15 years the commish put a peg in the ground and joined his constituents inside the ropes for this weeks Pro-Am.
    David Toms joked that after a few days of Crosby weather it could help move the Pro-Am to a dryer spot on the calendar, say ... October. After a few five-hour-plus rounds were also hoping Finchem will be moved to put some teeth into the Tours pace-of-play policy.
    Finchem, a 5 handicap, admitted to being nervous but played solid on Day 1. Hes like most players who come to play in the AT&T, said Finchems pro Davis Love III, he doesnt get enough strokes.
    The Cut Line has never felt closer to the commish.

  • Major League Baseball: With apologies to those who tune in for golf topics, and with kudos to Tour decision makers whose preemptive action has spared the circuit a similar fate, Cut Line laments more sordid steroids news from the boys of summer.
    Were no fan of Alex Rodriguez, but in fairness to the tarnished slugger, and for the sake of expediency, the ML B powers that be should publish the 103 other names that reported positive during the 2003 testing for performance enhancing drugs.
    Ask any 8-year-old, the Band Aid is best removed in one, quick motion.
  • Bill Murray: Its impossible not to love Murrays on-course shtick, but after watching some file footage from the bygone days of the Clambake one realizes the funnyman is a poor replacement for the tournaments former crooning namesake.
    Bing Crosby was cool, think Tommy Armour III without the goth wardrobe, and the truth is Murray & Co. just cant bring the same heat. Exploding golf balls are wanting stand-ins for a stirring rendition of Danny Boy.
    Email your thoughts to Rex Hoggard
    Related Links:
  • Leaderboard ' AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
  • Full Coverage ' AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am