Bohn Out Front at Wachovia Championship

By Associated PressMay 2, 2008, 4:00 pm
2007 Wachovia ChampionshipCHARLOTTE, N.C. -- As Phil Mickelsons round imploded with a series of wayward shots, the Wachovia Championship flew in a different direction.
Jason Bohn fired a 5-under 67 on Friday to take a two-shot lead at 9 under after the second round, while Mickelsons double bogey on Quail Hollow Clubs easiest hole began a horrible closing stretch that left him seven shots back.
Anthony Kims 67 put him at 7 under and alone in second place, while 2006 champion Jim Furyk, Dudley Hart and George McNeill were three strokes back after 67s.
Mickelson, the biggest draw in this event with defending champion Tiger Woods home nursing his surgically repaired left knee, finished with two double bogeys in his final four holes on the way to a 74.
While Mickelson was hitting his ball into the creek on No. 18 for another double bogey, the loose Bohn was joking with reporters.
Bohn, whose sixth-place finish at the Verizon Heritage two weeks ago secured his playing privileges after his injury-filled 2007, followed his 68 Thursday with six birdies and a bogey.
Im just excited to play. I dont have a lot of pressure now that my medical status is taken care of, Bohn said. I can just go out and free swing it.
Mickelsons free swinging got him into trouble, a day after a 68 left him a shot behind first-round leader David Toms.
With an afternoon tee time Friday, Mickelson birdied the 10th hole to get to 6 under. He missed a birdie putt at No. 14, then strolled to the par-5 15th looking to pick up at least a shot with the leaders at 8 under.
The 15th had a scoring average of about 4 1/2 , and is the last good chance to gain ground before the difficult closing three holes.
But Mickelson pulled his tee shot into the left rough. His second shot was even worse, going nearly straight left. While the ball just cleared the water, it nestled in a horrible lie of pine straw at the base of a tree.
Mickelson hacked at his sunken ball, and it dribbled 30 feet. His fourth shot landed in front of the greenside bunker. A chip shot and two putts later, Mickelson had a 7 and had fallen five shots behind after Bohn had birdied the same hole in the group ahead of him.
Mickelson parred 16 and 17 before his waterlogged finish left him with plenty of work to do to win this tournament for the first time.
There was a low round out there and I let it slide, Mickelson said. The last four or five holes, I made a few mistakes that cost me.
Toms, who has been fighting a sore back for two years, couldnt build off his best round this year. The 41-year-old Toms slogged through a 3-over 75 that left him tied with Mickelson for 25th place.
With Toms and Mickelson struggling, Bohn shot ahead of them on the strength of some changes hes made with veteran coach Mike Shannon.
The biggest change for me is that my putter was lengthened an inch, said Bohn, who was held to 17 tournaments last year due to a rib injury. My coach has been wanting to do this for almost two years now. I just didnt feel comfortable.
Finally I wisened up and listened to him.
Bohn will be paired on the final group Saturday with the 22-year-old Kim, who also has taken a different approach. But for Kim, its mental.
A year after he had four top-10s as the PGA TOURs youngest rookie and a third-place finish early this year at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, the confident Kim fell on hard times. He missed three cuts before rebounding to finish tied for second at the Verizon Heritage last month.
I just realized that I wasnt putting in the time, and to play against the best players in the world, you have to do that, said Kim, who recently switched to veteran caddy Eric Larsen. I think if I practice hard, anything is possible. I guess I was just talking a little bit more than I was practicing. So this year Ive changed that and Im going to keep riding that wave.
The old-style, tree-lined setup included more wind and faster greens than Thursday, and the scoring was up'minus Jay Williamsons hole-in-one at No. 6.
McNeill had one of the wildest rounds, with six birdies, an eagle and three straight bogeys. Furyk and Dudley, meanwhile, took advantage of their early wakeup calls.
It was really nice to get a morning tee time, said Furyk, who is 1-1 in playoffs at this tournament. I played probably six holes where it was pretty benign out there, where there was really no breeze, a little moisture on the greens. But the wind picked up at that point.
Bohn overcame the obstacles during his afternoon round with his longer putter. He needed only 26 putts, a day after he had 27.
When youre putting well, you dont really care if you hit it to 30 feet, you really dont, Bohn said. Youre like, I can make this. Then typically you dont it 30 feet, you start hitting it 12 to 15 feet, and then you start running them in.
Bohn did that at par-3 13th, when his 7-iron landed 4 feet away. He knocked in the putt for birdie, offsetting his only bogey a hole earlier, to take control of the leader board.
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    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 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.


    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.”

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    PGA Tour, LPGA react to video review rules changes

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 1:32 pm

    The USGA and R&A announced on Monday updates to the Rules of Golf, including no longer accepting call-ins relating to violations. The PGA Tour and LPGA, which were both part of a working group of entities who voted on the changes, issued the following statements:

    PGA Tour:

    The PGA Tour has worked closely with the USGA and R&A on this issue in recent years, and today's announcement is another positive step to ensure the Rules of Golf align with how the game is presented and viewed globally. The PGA Tour will adopt the new Local Rule beginning January 1, 2018 and evolve our protocols for reviewing video evidence as outlined.


    We are encouraged by the willingness of the governing bodies to fully vet the issues and implement real change at a pace much quicker than the sport has seen previously. These new adaptations, coupled with changes announced earlier this year, are true and meaningful advances for the game. The LPGA plans to adopt fully the protocols and new Local Rule as outlined.