Choi leading, but more attention on the cut at Waialae

K.J. Choi
Eric Risberg/AP
K.J. Choi has made only one bogey this week.

HONOLULU (AP) — K.J. Choi is leading the Sony Open, and 18 players who made the cut won't be around to chase after him.

Choi made quite a turnaround from last week, when he was in last place among the 31 winners at Kapalua for the Mercedes-Benz Championship. Seven days later, he birdied his last three holes for a 5-under 65 and a two-shot lead over Kevin Na.

"I knew that I was going to play better than last week, but I didn't really think about being in the lead or anything," Choi said.

He was long gone from Waialae Country Club when a volcano of sorts erupted on Oahu.

Far down the leaderboard, several players were hot under the collar. The PGA Tour changed its cut policy for this year, and it sent 18 players home early with $9,699 in official money, 46 points toward the FedEx Cup, but no tee time for the weekend.

One of those players was John Daly, who birdied the last hole for a 68 to finish at even-par 140. Only when he was on the 18th green did Daly learn that top 70 and ties might not be enough to keep playing.

The new policy allows for top 70 and ties, but when the number of players who make the cut exceeds 78 players, only the closest number to 70 players return for the final two rounds. In this case, 69 players finished at 1 under.

"I don't understand the rule. I think it's crazy. It's a stupid rule, I'm sorry," Daly told the Golf Channel. "I grinded my butt off to shoot even. Then I find out on 18 you may not be playing. I just wish we would have known."

Brandt Snedeker was another guy who didn't read the memo.

He finished at even-par 140, went into the scoring trailer and was told that 1 under likely would be the playing cut, and even par would make the cut. He didn't know the difference, and wasn't pleased when he found out after a call to a tour official in Florida.

"A non-playing cut I don't think is going to help the tour," he said. "You lose that chance."

That chance refers to players like Brad Faxon, Chris Couch and Jose Maria Olazabal, all of whom have made the cut on the number over the years and went on to win the tournament.

But with weekend fields reaching the upper 80s, leading to five-hour rounds starting on both tees, the Players Advisory Council recommended a change in the cut policy. The board, after twice tabling the proposal, approved it November.

Daly was most furious that he didn't know, and he suspects most players didn't.

But he probably doesn't know Parker McLachlin, who read the memo in November and talked to policy board member Joe Ogilvie about it during the offseason. He knew exactly what was at stake when he made birdie on his final hole to finish at 1 under.

"Right now it's easier to talk about it being on the inside," he said. "But it's yet to be seen how it affects us."

It didn't affect Tadd Fujikawa either way.

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