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Cut Line: PGA Tour on the upswing upon leaving Florida?

In this edition, we recap the highs and lows of the Florida swing.

Made Cut

Star power. Sure, Scottie Scheffler did Scottie Scheffler things, but the marquee had more than just the world No. 1.

Although Scheffler lapped the field at the Arnold Palmer Invitational by five strokes, the brilliance of his performance was compelling. For the week, he picked up five shots on the field off the tee, more than three shots with his iron play, nearly four shots with his short game and a stunning 4.3 shots in strokes gained: putting.

If his play at Bay Hill didn’t impress, at last week’s Players Championship he was just as proficient despite a neck injury that clearly slowed him on Friday and Saturday.

“Once his neck locked up on [No.] 12 [on Friday], I even told my own wife, I said, ‘I don’t know if he can even finish this tournament.’ I mean it was kind of miraculous he could even get it around,” Ted Scott, Scheffler’s caddie, said. “It just shows you what tenacity, resilience, whatever fancy word you want to use, that describes Scottie Scheffler.”

That Sunday’s final leaderboard also included five of the top 10 players in the world and three players – Xander Schauffele, Brian Harman and Wyndham Clark – vying for the title until the last hole, is a testament to a product that struggled to deliver on the West Coast.

Spanish cuisine. Every Champions Dinner at the Masters is special and the game’s most exclusive soiree is a ticket any fan would covet, but Jon Rahm’s menu for this year’s gathering is next level.

Rahm is serving up some “northern Spanish Basque” flair to the green-jacket crowd.

Rahm predictably went with a Spanish-themed menu, including tapas or pintxos of acorn-fed Iberian ham, spicy Basque chorizo, Idiazabal cheese with black truffle, creamy chicken fritters with confit potatoes, a Spanish omelet with confit potatoes and “Mama Rahm’s classic lentil stew.”

The first course will be a Basque crab and potato salad and the two choices for the main course are a Basque ribeye with Piquillo peppers and turbot, a white flatfish, with white asparagus.

You can’t win the Masters on Tuesday night, but Rahm easily won the culinary championship with a truly unique menu.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Progress. In purely commercial terms, it appears to have been a productive week for the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund as the two sides continue to hash out a potential deal to reunite golf.

The PGA Tour Enterprises’ six player directors – Tiger Woods, Patrick Cantlay, Jordan Spieth, Adam Scott, Peter Malnati and Webb Simpson – met with the fund’s governor, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, on Monday in the Bahamas.

Woods and other player directors will be meeting PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan for the first time, according to Golf Channel’s Todd Lewis.

By all accounts, the meeting was productive and allowed the player directors to better understand the fund’s interest in golf -- how the two sides, along with LIV Golf, could possibly work together under one corporate umbrella. None of the player directors had met with any representatives from the PIF, and Monday’s meeting signaled, at the least, that the negotiations have intensified enough to bring the players into the loop. But a deal still doesn’t seem imminent.

“I do think it’s a while until we get there,” Simpson told Wednesday. “I didn’t walk away with a much clearer understanding of what the future holds. But I definitely walked away thinking, I’m glad we did that. Glad we met him. Glad we had a very friendly meeting. It was never tense. It was a long day but a good day.”

Any potential deal with the PIF will ultimately be decided by the six player directors, along with the other members of the board of directors, so consider Monday’s meeting the, “Hello, my name is …” portion of the proceedings.

Early math. The Tour is just entering major championship season, but for some of the game’s biggest stars, the FedExCup math is starting to feel uncomfortable.

Last week, Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said the “churn” rate – the number of players who drop out and into the top 50 each season – is on pace to match projections, with about 40 percent or 20 players currently set to drop out of the top 50.

Twelve events into a 36-tournament season, which is about 36 percent, and some of the biggest names are outside the top 50, which is used to fill fields at the signature events. That includes Rory McIlroy (No. 58), Tony Finau (No. 55), Tommy Fleetwood (No. 69), Viktor Hovland (No. 70) and Tom Kim (84).

There’s plenty of time to make up ground but as players are learning, the Tour’s new signature-event math can catch up with you very quickly.

Missed Cut

Have/Have Nots. While the Florida swing produced compelling finishes at TPC Sawgrass and Bay Hill, the Tour’s new signature-event model cut a clear path between the haves and have nots.

Using the world ranking, and all its inherent flaws and weaknesses, The Players and the Arnold Palmer Invitational produced two of the year’s deepest fields, awarding 80 and 67 points to the winners, respectively.

By comparison, the Cognizant Classic awarded 50 points to its champion, Austin Eckroat, and the winner of this week’s Valspar Championship is also projected to earn 50 points. Neither are season lows for non-signature events, but it is a clear indication of how the circuit’s new tier system will impact fields.