Notes: Cut policy, Olympics and Beem’s back

Carl Pettersson

Carl Pettersson

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Good thing for Carl Pettersson that the PGA Tour amended its cut policy two years ago.

Pettersson was among those who put in writing his opposition to the tour’s new cut rule at the start of the 2008 season. In an effort to avoid two-tee starts and 5-hour rounds on the weekend, the tour changed its policy from the top 70 and ties to the nearest number of players to 70th place whenever more than 78 players made the cut.

It caused so much consternation that someone posted a one-question survey – “Do you agree with the new cut policy?” - in the locker room at the Sony Open. There were six signatures under “No,” which included Pettersson's.

The policy was changed a short time later to include a 54-hole cut when more than 78 players qualified for the weekend. Two years later, that change enabled Pettersson to keep playing at the RBC Canadian Open, where he made the cut on the number Friday, shot 60 on Saturday and closed with a 67 to win on Sunday.

“I would have missed the cut,” Pettersson said. “Now they have the Saturday cut instead, which ... I really don’t see the point of it. But I guess it helps people get around quicker.”

Pettersson still doesn’t like the amended rule, and he has company.

John Daly was a victim of the original cut policy at the Sony Open. He made the cut on the number in Canada but failed to stay inside the top 70 and ties after Saturday’s round of 73.

“It used to be a 72-hole tournament, shouldn’t they let everyone play hard right to the end?” Daly said on Twitter.

Also knocked out was former Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger, who had made the cut on the number, only to shoot 74 on Saturday. Azinger agreed with one of his follower’s tweets that the 54-hole cut kept fans from watching three major champions – Azinger, Daly and Lee Janzen. Who knew they had such a following?

It’s worth noting that Azinger also was among the six who signed the makeshift petition two years ago in Hawaii.

• • • 

photo

Rich Beem during the first round of the 2008 Children's Miracle Network Classic.

BEEM’S BACK: Rich Beem will return to the PGA Tour at Whistling Straits for the PGA Championship.

He just won’t have his golf clubs with him.

Beem, who had back surgery in April, said he will be doing some work for TNT Sports during the PGA Championship, where he also will attend the Champions Dinner. He won at Hazeltine in 2002.

As for his golf? Beem plans to play about three Nationwide Tour events after the PGA Championship to see where his game is. Then, he will have four PGA Tour events in the Fall Series. To play the PGA Tour any sooner would mean forfeiting a major medical extension, which he will use for the 2011 season.

“I’ve been playing quite a bit,” he said Tuesday. “I just haven’t been playing very well quite a bit. Each day gets a little better.”

• • • 

OLYMPIC MOVEMENT: The top priority is to find an executive director for the International Golf Federation, the governing body for golf in the Olympics, and to determine where in Brazil to host the first Olympic golf tournament in more than a century.

photo

Rio de Janeiro is the site of the 2016 Games, where golf will make its return to the Olympics.

At some point, however, the United States will need to create a national governing body that will work with the U.S. Olympic Committee.

It would seem natural for the U.S. Golf Association to assume that role, except that the players competing in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 most likely will be members of the PGA Tour and LPGA.

“Technically speaking, whoever the member of the international federation is of that country tends to be the NGB (national governing body) for their own Olympic committee,” said Ty Votaw, who helped spearhead golf’s inclusion in the Olympics. “That’s difficult in the United States because the USGA is a member of the International Golf Federation, but there are a lot of other entities.”

Along with the PGA Tour and LPGA Tour, other U.S. groups that belong to the IGF are the PGA of America, USGA and the Masters.

Meanwhile, still under consideration is whether golf can be added to the Pan American Games in 2015, which will be in Toronto.

• • • 

CONSISTENT LUKE: All of the top 10 players in the world ranking have multiple victories over the past two years – except Luke Donald. So what is the Englishman doing at No. 7 in the world?

It starts with consistency.

Donald’s only victory on his two-year ledger came at the end of May against an ordinary field in the Madrid Masters. Still, the Englishman has racked up seven top 3s and 16 finishes in the top 10. Donald seems to be largely forgotten until Sunday, when his name pops up on the leaderboard.

Just don’t get the idea that he’s satisfied with a world ranking.

“I need to win more tournaments,” Donald said after closing with a 66 to finish third in the RBC Canadian Open. “Just contending isn’t good enough if you want to be the best. You’ve got to go out there and beat the best continually, which I haven’t done in the last few years.”

• • • 

SOAKING IT ALL IN: It might not be the holy grail in golf, but for USGA executive director David Fay, it comes awfully close.

Fay and his wife, Joan, bundled up in three layers of clothing, grabbed rain gear and umbrellas, and climbed to the top row of grandstands along the 11th hole at St. Andrews during the third round of the British Open. They arrived an hour before competition began and stayed there for more than nine hours.

What’s so special about that grandstand?

Fay said they could see the seventh and 11th holes (which share the same green), all of the par-3 eighth and par-4 ninth, and all of the par-4 10th except the tee box. By turning around, they could see the entire sixth and 12th holes and parts of the 13th.

Beyond the course were uninterrupted views of the Eden Estuary and St. Andrews Bay.

“Once play got going, my wife’s comment was that it was a bit like going to a gymnastics meet – you don’t know where to turn because there’s something going on everywhere,” Fay said. “We could see it all unfold. I think it’s the best viewing spot in golf, if not all of sports. It was like no other sporting experience.”

• • • 

DIVOTS: The European Tour will have a new event next year in Bahrain called the Tournament of Champions. It will be held Jan. 27-30 in 2011 as part of the Middle East swing and include a 126-man field of past and current winners. Starting in 2012, the tournament will be only for current winners and move to an early January date, making it the first tournament on the European Tour schedule. ... This will be only the second time in his career that Tiger Woods was not atop the standings for a Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup team. The other was in 1998, when he was second to David Duval for the Presidents Cup. ... Ernie Els has missed the cut in his past three tournaments. ...

• • •

STAT OF THE WEEK: Phil Mickelson is the only player from the top 10 in the world to have won a major since 2009.

• • • 

FINAL WORD: “I’m not your typical Swede, as you know. I don’t have a 28-inch waist, and I don’t eat bananas at the turn.” – Carl Pettersson.

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