Annikas Season Ends Without a Win - COPIED

By Associated PressNovember 17, 2007, 5:00 pm
2006 ADT ChampionshipWEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Annika Sorenstam's worst year since she was a rookie offered one last hope Friday afternoon in the ADT Championship when she was among three players desperate to claim the last two spots in the chase for $1 million.
 
Considering how her season has gone, she might have seen this coming.
 
Sorenstam hit a quick hook with a 5-iron into the face of a bunker, blasted over the green and was eliminated in a 3-for-2 playoff at Trump International, ending her year without a victory for the first time since 1994.
 
'I'll get over it,' she said tersely. 'I'll be back.'
 
Just not for the weekend, where the 16 players who advanced to Saturday will start the third round with their scores wiped clean.
 
Ai Miyazato of Japan saved par with a 7-foot putt on the 17th hole in the playoff, and two-putted from 35 feet on the 18th hole for par to secure one spot. The other went to Natalie Gulbis, who also had pars on the two playoff holes.
 
Mi Hyun Kim had a 2-under 70 and finished atop the leaderboard at 7-under 137, one shot better than Kraft Nabisco champion Morgan Pressel, who switched to a conventional putting grip for the first time in her life and is seeing instant gratification.
 
The clutch play came from Karrie Webb, who opened with a 76 and was on the verge of going home until she shot 70 with a stunning finish. Webb was a 3 over and hopeful of two-putting from 50 feet to at least get into a playoff. She fell to the ground when her putt dropped into the hole for birdie, qualifying for the weekend.
 
The quirky nature of this format was best illustrated at the end of the day. When the playoff was over, Miyazato and Gulbis instantly picked up 10 shots on the leader because everyone starts Saturday with a clean slate.
 
Also in the 16-way tie for first were Lorena Ochoa, Christina Kim, Suzann Pettersen, Cristie Kerr, Sophie Gustafson, Paula Creamer, Juli Inkster, Nicole Castrale, Catriona Matthew, Seon Hwa Lee and Sarah Lee.
 
The field will be cut in half to eight players after Saturday, and the scores again will be wiped clean, setting up an 18-hole shootout Sunday with $1 million going to the winner. Second place is worth $100,000.
 
This is the second year of this format, and the second year Sorenstam was headed home on the weekend. But it was not nearly as shocking this year considering her circumstances. She missed nearly two months of competition with injuries to her back and neck, and figures she played at full strength in less than half her events.
 
But she was playing better, that might be the most frustrating of all.
 
Her opening 74 was slowed by three balls in the water. She came out firing in the second round with three birdies on the first six holes when her 4-iron to the peninsula green on the par-3 seventh faded slightly and into the water. She took a penalty drop into a hanging lie in the rough and nearly shanked the next shot into the water. Once on the green, she two-putted for a quadruple-bogey 7.
 
'That's probably the toughest thing you can do in golf is to get off to such a great start and then walk away after the seventh hole and be 1-over par,' she said. 'It's tough to describe in words, but it feels like you get stabbed in the back, even though it was your own fault. I was on such a high, and then you're on such a low in 10 minutes.'
 
Worse yet was missing a 3-foot par putt on the 16th, then narrowly missing a birdie putt on the 18th.
 
Nothing stung like the playoff among three players with worldwide appeal in women's golf. Sorenstam was in great shape off the 18th tee on the second extra hole, but she came over the top of the 5-iron, it hooked sharply and all she could see in the fading sunlight was a white splash of sand. Sorenstam faced a long bunker shot on the upslope, and she misjudged the distance.
 
The 20-foot par putt from off the back of the green never had a chance. And after Miyazato made a 4-foot par putt, with Gulbis only a foot away for par, Sorenstam nodded to Gulbis to finish up as she handed her caddie the putter.
 
'The bad second shot set me up for a tough shot,' Sorenstam said. 'I had a chance to be part of the weekend, and it didn't happen.'
 
The low round of a cool, blustery day belonged to Pressel, the 19-year-old who lives a half-hour away and has playing privileges at Trump International. She ran off eight birdies in her round of 65 to easily qualify for the weekend, and give her renewed confidence that a mini-slump might be over.
 
What helped was her putting grip. Pressel has been cross-handed since she first placed a putter in her hands as a child, but after more frustration at the Mizuno Classic, where she finished 25th.
 
'I putted better than I can ever remember putting, so that's kind of nice,' Pressel said. 'This is the best I've played in a very long time. I'm pretty happy about that.'
 
Still to be determined is who has the momentum -- those who have played well for two days but now have to start over, or those who narrowly squeaked into the final 16 and feel as though they have a second chance.
 
'The first part of the job is done,' Pettersen said. 'Now, we're all starting over.'
 
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    Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

    Well, this is a one new one.

    According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

    “No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

    Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

    “If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

    The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

    “I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

    The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

    Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

    Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.

    PGA Tour suspends Hensby for anti-doping violation

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 8:02 pm

    Mark Hensby has been suspended for one year by the PGA Tour for violating the Tour’s anti-doping policy by failing to provide a sample after notification.

    The Tour made the announcement Monday, reporting that Hensby will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

    The statement reads:

    The PGA Tour announced today that Mark Hensby has violated the Tour Anti-Doping Policy for failing to provide a drug testing sample after notification and has been suspended for a period of one year. He will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

    Hensby, 46, won the John Deere Classic in 2004. He played the Web.com Tour this past year, playing just 14 events. He finished 142nd on the money list. He once ranked among the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking but ranks No. 1,623 today.

    The Sunshine Tour recently suspended player Etienne Bond for one year for failing a drug test. Players previously suspended by the PGA Tour for violating the anti-doping policy include Scott Stallings and Doug Barron.

    The PGA Tour implemented revisions to its anti-doping program with the start of the 2017-18 season. The revisions include blood testing and the supplementation of the Tour’s prohibited list to include all of the substances and methods on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list. As part of this season’s revisions, the Tour announced it would also begin reporting suspensions due to recreational drug use.

    The Tour said it would not issue further comment on Hensby's suspension.

    Good time to hang up on viewer call-ins

    By Randall MellDecember 11, 2017, 7:40 pm

    Golf announced the most massive layoff in the industry’s history on Monday morning.

    Armchair referees around the world were given their pink slips.

    It’s a glorious jettisoning of unsolicited help.

    Goodbye and good riddance.

    The USGA and R&A’s announcement of a new set of protocols Monday will end the practice of viewer call-ins and emails in the reporting of rules infractions.

    “What we have heard from players and committees is ‘Let’s leave the rules and administration of the event to the players and those responsible for running the tournament,’” said Thomas Pagel, the USGA’s senior director of rules and amateur status.

    Amen.

    The protocols, formed by a working group that included the PGA Tour, LPGA, European Tour, Ladies European Tour and the PGA of America, also establish the use of rules officials to monitor the televised broadcasts of events.

    Additionally, the protocols will eliminate the two-shot penalty when a player signs an incorrect scorecard because the player was unaware of a violation.



    Yes, I can hear you folks saying armchair rules officials help make sure every meaningful infraction comes to light. I hear you saying they make the game better, more honest, by helping reduce the possibility somebody violates the rules to win.

    But at what cost?

    The chaos and mayhem armchair referees create can ruin the spirit of fair play every bit as much as an unreported violation. The chaos and mayhem armchair rules officials create can be as much a threat to fair play as the violations themselves.

    The Rules of Golf are devised to protect the integrity of the game, but perfectly good rules can be undermined by the manner and timeliness of their enforcement.

    We have seen the intervention of armchair referees go beyond the ruin of fair play in how a tournament should be conducted. We have seen it threaten the credibility of the game in the eyes of fans who can’t fathom the stupidity of a sport that cannot separate common-sense enforcement from absolute devotion to the letter of the law.

    In other sports, video review’s timely use helps officials get it right. In golf, video review too often makes it feel like the sport is getting it wrong, because timeliness matters in the spirit of fair play, because the retroactive nature of some punishments are as egregious as the violations themselves.  

    We saw that with Lexi Thompson at the ANA Inspiration this year.

    Yes, she deserved a two-shot penalty for improperly marking her ball, but she didn’t deserve the two-shot penalty for signing an incorrect scorecard. She had no idea she was signing an incorrect scorecard.

    We nearly saw the ruin of the U.S. Open at Oakmont last year, with Dustin Johnson’s victory clouded by the timing of a video review that left us all uncertain if the tournament was playing out under an incorrect scoreboard.

    “What these protocols are put in place for, really, is to make sure there are measures to identify the facts as soon as possible, in real time, so if there is an issue to be dealt with, that it can be handled quickly and decisively,” Pagel said.

    Amen again.

    We have pounded the USGA for making the game more complicated and less enjoyable than it ought to be, for creating controversy where common sense should prevail, so let’s applaud executive director Mike Davis, as well as the R&A, for putting common sense in play.

    Yes, this isn’t a perfect answer to handling rules violations.

    There are trap doors in the protocols that we are bound to see the game stumble into, because the game is so complex, but this is more than a good faith effort to make the game better.

    This is good governance.

    And compared to the glacial pace of major rules change of the past, this is swift.

    This is the USGA and R&A leading a charge.

    We’re seeing that with the radical modernization of the Rules of Golf scheduled to take effect in 2019. We saw it with the release of Decision 34/3-10 three weeks after Thompson’s loss at the ANA, with the decision limiting video review to “reasonable judgment” and “naked eye” standards. We’re hearing it with Davis’ recent comments about the “horrible” impact distance is having on the game, leading us to wonder if the USGA is in some way gearing up to take on the golf ball.

    Yes, the new video review protocols aren’t a panacea. Rules officials will still miss violations that should have been caught. There will be questions about level playing fields, about the fairness of stars getting more video review scrutiny than the rank and file. There will be questions about whether viewer complaints were relayed to rules officials.

    Golf, they say, isn’t a game of perfect, and neither is rules enforcement, though these protocols make too much sense to be pilloried. They should be applauded. They should solve a lot more problems than they create.

    Lexi 'applaud's USGA, R&A for rules change

    By Randall MellDecember 11, 2017, 5:15 pm

    Lexi Thompson’s pain may prove to be the rest of golf’s gain.

    David Rickman, the R&A’s executive director of governance, acknowledged on Golf Channel’s "Morning Drive" Monday that the new protocols that will eliminate the use of TV viewer call-ins and emails to apply penalties was hastened by the controversy following Thompson’s four-shot penalty at the ANA Inspiration in early April. The new protocols also set up rules officials to monitor TV broadcasts beginning next year.

    “Clearly, that case has been something of a focus point for us,” Rickman said.

    Thompson reacted to the new protocols in an Instagram post.

    “I applaud the USGA and the R&A for their willingness to revise the Rules of Golf to address certain unfortunate situations that have arisen several times in the game of golf,” Thompson wrote. “In my case, I am thankful no one else will have to deal with an outcome such as mine in the future.”

    Thompson was penalized two shots for improperly returning her ball to its mark on a green during Saturday’s round after a viewer emailed LPGA officials during Sunday’s broadcast. She was penalized two more shots for signing an incorrect scorecard for her Saturday round. Thompson ultimately lost in a playoff to So Yeon Ryu.

    The new protocols will also eliminate the additional two-shot penalty a player receives for failing to include a penalty when a player was unaware of the penalty.

    Shortly after the ANA Inspiration, the USGA and R&A led the formation of a video review working group, which included the PGA Tour, LPGA, European Tour, Ladies European Tour and PGA of America.

    Also, just three weeks after Thompson was hit with the four-shot penalty, the USGA and R&A released a new Rules of Golf decision decision (34-3/10) limiting video evidence in two ways:

    1. If an infraction can’t be seen with the naked eye, there’s no penalty, even if video shows otherwise.

    2. If a tournament committee determines that a player does “all that can be reasonably expected to make an accurate estimation or measurement” in determining a line or position to play from or to spot a ball, then there will be no penalty even if video replay later shows that to be wrong.

    While the USGA and R&A said the new decision wasn’t based on Thompson’s ANA incident, LPGA players immediately began calling it the “Lexi Rule.”