Love is playing in the Bermuda Championship this week, and he plans to play the remaining two PGA Tour events this year in Mexico and his home at Sea Island. "My playing days are not totally over, as I will play select events, but my focus now shifts to broadcasting," Love said. "I have been fortunate to spend a lot of time with the men and women of CBS Sports, and I look forward to getting started in January."
That brings Love back to the Masters in a different capacity. CBS airs that, along with the PGA Championship, where Love is exempt for life as a past champion (1997). ESPN has the opening two rounds, and it was not clear if Love planned to play at Harding Park or what he would if he made the cut in San Francisco.
Golfweek and Sports Business Journal reported that the contracts of Kostis and McCord were not renewed. McCord told Golf Digest, "Bottom line, they fired me." McCord said McManus told him and Kostis that CBS golf coverage was getting a little stale and the network needed to go in another direction.
"I've been called a lot of things," McCord said. "But one thing I've never been called is stale." RORY'S CURLS Rory McIlroy sported a new look when he returned to competition last week after a three-week break.
The curls are back. They are spilling out from under his cap, reminiscent of his early years on tour, except for the flecks of gray. And his hair is about to get longer. "I'm not going to get it cut until February," he said Tuesday.
The reason has nothing to do with a midlife crisis for the four-time major champion who turned 30 last year. In a roundabout way, it started with his wife getting her hair cut in Los Angeles a few years ago during the Genesis Invitational at Riviera.
"Now, anytime she goes there, she has to get her hair cut because she says it was the best haircut she ever had," McIlroy said. "So we were there a week after Pebble Beach, the U.S. Open, and she's getting her hair cut. I came into the salon, but I had just got my haircut the previous week. Her hair stylist said, 'Oh, you should have let it grow and let me cut it.' So I said, 'OK, the next time we're in LA, I'm going to grow my hair out and then let you do whatever you want with it.'"
Expect the locks to be flowing when he shows up at Torrey Pines in January. And when he gets to Riviera? There's no telling. PRESIDENTS CUP Jordan Spieth hasn't given up hope of playing in the Presidents Cup in Australia, one reason why he's at the HSBC Champions for the first time since 2015.
Tiger Woods makes his captain's picks late next week, and there is uncertainty among some players how many picks are available. Woods won in Japan last week after taking time off to repair cartilage in his left knee, so he figures to be one of the picks. U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland did his part after finishing 10th in the standings. He tied for third in South Korea and was fifth in Japan.
That leaves two picks, unless Brooks Koepka is not fully recovered from a knee injury. "If I win or put in a good effort, I could potentially be on Tiger's mind if there's an open spot for the Presidents Cup," Spieth said. "It depends on Brooks' situation. Tiger needs to pick himself. It's hard not to go down the list on the next few guys. I think I would have to have a spot open up, and play really well. If it happens, great. If not, I'm looking at having a solid week and recognize last week was a fluke and the work I'm putting in is paying off."
Spieth tied for eighth in South Korea and then got off to a bad start in Japan and finished near the bottom of the pack. Kevin Kisner is also at the HSBC, but there was less urgency about feeling he had to perform great in Shanghai to merit consideration. Kisner finished 15th in the standings, but he has shown in recent years he has adapted nicely to match play. He went 2-0-2 in his Presidents Cup debut in 2017, was runner-up in the Match Play in 2018 and won the Match Play this year. His record in the World Golf Championships event is 11-2-1 over the last two years.
Kisner says Woods has told him Royal Melbourne is a good fit for him and they have "tons of conversations about him wanting me to play well to justify a pick." More important to Kisner was taking a break after last season, so he didn't return until last week and finished near the bottom in Japan.
"I never understand how they pick those teams," Kisner said. "What are we picking? Recent form, seeing how the Presidents Cup is a month-and-a-half away? I played great a month-and-a-half ago. I think he thinks the golf course fits you and you fit with the team, he understands we're all great players."
MISSING TITLE Sam Snead had 81 official victories for years until the PGA Tour finally agreed to count the British Open he won in 1946 at St. Andrews. Perhaps the same revision awaits Phil Mickelson one day.
Mickelson is at 44 victories — his goal has always been 50 — and that does not include his victory in the HSBC Champions in 2009, the first year it was designated a World Golf Championships event. Only it wasn't treated like the other WGCs.
First, it was an unofficial victory because the field consisted of a majority of players who were not PGA Tour members and the PGA Tour money list — along with the top 125 who kept their cards — had not been decided. Mickelson played in the final group with Tiger Woods. Ernie Els was the runner-up, followed by Ryan Moore and Rory McIlroy.
Then, the tour decided it would count as a PGA Tour victory only if it was won by a PGA Tour member. After three years, it was a full-fledged WGC and counted toward the PGA Tour. Still, Mickelson is not credited with an official PGA Tour victory for that 2009 victory. He shouldn't have to wait more than 50 years — as Snead did — for the tour to change that.
DIVOTS Jack Warfield is retiring after 42 years in golf, half of those with the PGA Tour and the last eight as president of the PGA Tour Latinoamerica. ... Nathaniel Crosby is returning as U.S. captain for the Walker Cup. The 2021 matches will be played at Seminole Golf Club in Florida. The Americans won the Walker Cup this year at Royal Liverpool. ... Jordan Spieth, Charles Howell III and Lucas Glover are among 18 players who are competing in all three PGA Tour events in Asia. ... The USGA and R&A say their "Distance Insights Project Report" needs a little more time and now is expected to be released on Feb. 4.
STAT OF THE WEEK Dating to 2003 when ShotLink was developed for the PGA Tour, only six players who began a tournament with three straight bogeys have finished in the top 10. Tiger Woods in Japan was the only player to win.
FINAL WORD "I don't want Paris to be my last one. But if it was my last one, I'll be very content with my performances in them." — Ian Poulter on the Ryder Cup.