The PGA Tour is one of sports’ most glamorous shows, but on Fridays, the glamour fades to three shades of beige for about half of the tournament’s field. It’s cut day, when only the top 70 and ties get to keep their tee times and courtesy cars for the final two rounds over the weekend.
It’s hard to look glamorous when you’re cleaning out your locker, lugging your stuff out to the car, loading your clubs in the trunk, slamming the lid and driving away. They did that by the dozens after Friday’s round of the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club. It’s a democratic process. It’ll take a Monday qualifier or a Tiger Woods. (What kind of show kicks out its star?)
They don’t give you a check to take with you. You spend a bunch of money on travel, lodging, food, caddy salary and maybe a few cold ones and if you don’t make the cut, that tab’s all yours.
Fortunately, the cut does not leave a lot of scars. Go home and get your mess together, come back next week and maybe you find gold.
Take Ben Crane, for example. A week ago, he missed the cut. Friday, at Quail Hollow he was walking a couple of feet off the ground. Crane shot an 8-under-par 64 despite drowning a ball on the 17th hole. The course record is 62.
Seven birdies and an eagle to go with an opening round 70 left him tied for fourth.
And while a lot of slammers were clearing out, choking the steering wheel and cursing their putters, Crane, a four-time winner on the PGA Tour, was describing his eagle on the par-5 fifth hole and his birdie on the par-5 eighth and how he made five straight 3’s and saying, “From that point on, I thought ‘Gosh, I’m having a great day.’ ”
Such are the fortunes of golf. There’s probably not a man out there, including the ones who missed the cut, who don’t love it no matter how it treats them.
Airplanes, hotels, wakeup calls, fresh mornings, sweaty afternoons, bad lies, good bounces, leader boards glaring at them, crowd noise, good nervousness, the euphoria of victory and the silent scream of failure when the cut is missed. Maybe next week, you’ll do a Ben Crane.
The cut he missed last week? Forgotten. Know what he was going to do when he left the course Friday?
“Just go tickle my kids and enjoy the rest of the day.”