the first time he had failed to play four
rounds in a pro event.
“It happens to everybody, if you
play,” Cantlay said of failing the cut. His
previous worst round in a Tour tournament was a 75 in last year’s U.S. Open
“Hopefully, it doesn’t happen again
for a long time. I just played poorly. Ev-
ery once in a while you’ll play a tourna-
ment like that.”
Cantlay, who will be 20 on St. Pat-
rick’s Day, will play in The Masters, U.S.
Open and Open Championship. He’ll be
back at Riviera for the NCAA Champion-
ship in May.
You almost could hear the echoes of
the cheers that a year ago rolled down
the coastal canyon in which Riviera is
located. “Freddie, Freddie, Freddie,” was
the chant the final day of the 2011 Northern Trust when he briefly held the lead.
But in 2012, the man for whom they
had yelled, didn’t make the final two
Fred Couples missed the cut for only
the third time in 30 appearances in the
event that used to be the Los Angeles
Open. His 4-over par 70-76 – 146 was
one stroke above the line to get into the
final two rounds.
Couples, captain of the U.S. Presidents Cup team in October, is now 52,
and mostly playing the Champions
Tour, but in the interviews before the
first round spoke enthusiastically about
returning, to “my favorite tournament,”
which he won 1990 and 1992.
“I feel like I can play here,” Couples
said, who with his 1-under-par score on
Thursday showed he could. “When I’m
fairly healthy, I play well. But if I was to
come out and play the PGA Tour full time
and play 16 events, I probably would have
a lot of poor events. It’s just too tough.”
Until the Northern Trust, Adam Scott
had been the only player of the top 10 in
the world rankings not to play competitively in 2012. “I may have to introduce
myself to a fair bit of people,” was his line
to Doug Ferguson of The Associated Press.
Scott was going to play the Hyundai at
Kapalua, the winners-only event, which
traditionally begins the season, but he had
his tonsils out in December in his native
Australia and needed recovery time.
Holmes Battling Back
PACIFIC PALISADES, CALIFORNIA | J.B.
Holmes was four shots out of the lead
going into Sunday, which had to be encouraging as he battles back in a return after
undergoing brain surgery Sept. 1 to relieve
symptoms of Chiari malformations, which
caused vertigo-like dizziness. A small
piece of his skull was removed to relieve
pressure on his cerebellum and a titanium
mesh plate was affixed to the base.
sudden (at Spyglass Hill) I put up a
pretty big number (an 80). A couple of
bad things happened, and I didn’t putt well.”
But in the Northern Trust, his fourth
straight event, he seemed to break
“I felt pretty good this week
practicing,” said Holmes, “and
coming up to this golf course.
I really enjoy playing here. I like
the layout of this golf course.”
He had finished seventh or better
the previous three years.
“It’s nice to get out here
and start hitting some shots
like I used to,” said Holmes.
“Just nice to be back.”
starved for tournament golf.”
five times a year the last few years and
when it occurred at the Deutsche Bank
Championship, he decided to finally do
something about it.
Mike Weir won the tournament in
2003 and 2004, only the sixth golfer
to do it back-to-back, and underwent
elbow surgery in August. His request for
a sponsor’s exemption to the Northern
Trust was refused, the exemptions going
to Couples, K. T. Kim, Jason Gore and
amateurs Cantlay and Jordan Spieth,
all of whom missed the cut. Cantlay and
Gore are from southern California.
As a former Masters champion, Weir,
the Canadian, keeps his exemption there
until age 60 or thereabouts. l