Cut Line: Cup cycle continues to churn, with nothing new to show

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In this week’s edition, we celebrate the PGA Tour’s flexibility, lament the European tour’s hard line and question the lack of creativity by the U.S. Ryder Cup team.

Made Cut

Perseverance. Each Sunday on the PGA Tour we celebrate a champion and largely forget the other 155 players in the field. It’s the nature of sports and the kind of Draconian existence that can make the game so humbling.

Before his romp on Sunday at the Wells Fargo Championship, Wyndham Clark had been the personification of frustration for 133 Tour starts. Despite a monsoon of talent and potential, his inability to breakthrough for his first Tour victory had taken a toll.

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“I was beginning to think that maybe I'll never win. I know that sounds crazy because I've only been out here five years, but I had a lot of chances to where I was within two or three shots either going into the back nine or starting on a Sunday and I always seem to fall short, and not only that, but seem like I fell back in positions,” Clark said. “I was so frustrated with people in my camp where I didn't think I would ever win and I was like, let's just stop talking about it, because I didn't want to think about it. I said maybe that's just not in the cards for me.”

Clark started Sunday at Quail Hollow Club leading by two shots and dropped out of the lead early during the final round, before closing with a 68 for a four-stroke victory over world No. 5 Xander Schauffele. Talent and even a degree of luck always factor into potential success at the highest level, but perseverance is often the ultimate arbiter.

PGA Tour U changes: No. 1 to get extra year of PGA Tour status; regional rule revoked

Next big thing. Meritocracy is one of those words that’s been weaponized in golf’s battle between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf. It’s what proponents of the current ecosystem say makes the game so special, but the Tour does deserve credit for evolving.


The circuit clarified its plan this week to provide a pathway for the top college player via its PGA Tour University Ranking. That player, who must be a senior or redshirt junior, would be included in the same priority category as the top player from the European tour and the Korn Ferry Tour, which will allow them to reshuffle based on their performance.

For the traditionalist who will scoff at the idea of a direct path for the top college player, consider the list of Jack Nicklaus Award winners the last few years includes Jon Rahm, Sam Burns Sahith Theegala and Maverick McNealy. While the criteria for the Nicklaus Award and the PGA Tour University rankings vary, the concept does not – provide a pathway for the top prospects and they rarely disappoint.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

The vice of captaincy. U.S. Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson named Fred Couples a vice captain for this year’s team and we can all agree that having “Boom Boom” in the team room is a solid move. The problem with bringing the 63-year-old back, however, is an increasingly stagnant talent pool.


Again, we all want to be Couples when we grow up and his influence on past Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup teams is legendary, but how do you groom future captains and maintain continuity, which was the entire point of the Task Force, if you continue to go back to likes of Couples?

In addition to Couples, Jim Furyk (who was recently announced as the next U.S. Presidents Cup captain) was also named a Ryder Cup vice captain this week, joining Davis Love III and Steve Stricker.

When, for example, will Stewart Cink, David Toms or Justin Leonard get a chance to be part of the process? With Phil Mickelson seemingly out of the Ryder Cup picture following his departure to LIV Golf, it’s more important now than ever for the PGA of America to be creative when it comes to future captains.

Tweet of the week:

Pepperell, who has become the social media standard in the divide between LIV Golf and the status quo, was responding to a tweet that questioned the PGA of America’s decision to not offer Uihlein a spot into next week’s championship.


Although social media is a poor wasteland to have these types of conversations, Pepperell’s point if valid regardless of your politics.

Missed Cut

Détente. When an arbitration ruling went in favor of the DP World Tour in its dispute with players who had joined LIV Golf, there was a hope among some that the legal resolution could crack open the door for a possible agreement between the breakaway league and the establishment.

There were whispers of the European tour allowing the players who joined LIV Golf back into the fold with heavy stipulations that would favor the circuit, but that optimism unraveled this week when the tour announced a new round of fines and suspensions for those players.


The tour issued sanctions to 26 players for violating the circuit’s conflicting-event release regulations and playing LIV and Asian Tour events. According to a statement from the European tour, the fines ranged from £12,500 to £100,000 “for each individual breach” and each violation was considered on a “case-by-case basis.”

One former European tour member who joined LIV Golf last year was fined nearly a half-million pounds and suspended a half-dozen events, and that only included potential violations through April.

“They left me with no other choice, so I have resigned,” Henrik Stenson told Golf Digest after resigning his tour membership.

Even with LIV Golf paying the fines, which has been widely reported, those fines and suspensions amount to a ban and a hard line that likely won’t be crossed.


Tweet of the week II: @PhilMickelson (deleted, but forever saved)


Remember when Lefty took a hiatus from Twitter? Yeah, that was fun.

In the now-deleted tweet, Mickelson questioned the PGA of America’s decision to not invite players who joined LIV who are outside the top 100 (Cameron Tringale, Sebastian Munoz and Jason Kokrak) but the association did invite No. 128 Beau Hossler, who did not join LIV. He omits that No. 131 Paul Casey, a member of LIV Golf, did get an invite and that neither Monahan nor Whan have anything to do with the PGA Championship field. Other than that, he nailed it.