Garcia Struggles to Solve Woods Mystery

By Associated PressJuly 22, 2006, 4:00 pm
135th Open Championship HOYLAKE, England -- The waggles are gone, and anyone who has ever watched Sergio Garcia play should be grateful for that. Garcia should be, too, because one burden is enough for him to lug around Royal Liverpool in the final round of the British Open.
Waggles, he can fix. He's fixed them so well that he didn't flinch once before hitting a 9-iron into the cup on the second hole Saturday on his way to a 65 that left him just a shot off the lead.
Sergio Garcia
Sergio Garcia has reason to smile after a course-tying record 7-under 65.
Unfortunately for Garcia, that lead is held by a guy who will be wearing a red shirt alongside him in the final group on Sunday. And so far Garcia doesn't seem to have a clue about what to do about fixing his problems with Tiger Woods.
If he's going to win his first major, he better figure it out quick. If Garcia doesn't, it may be a long time before he has a chance this good.
Whether Garcia sensed that after vaulting into contention with a 29 on the front side in the third round was hard to say. He was hustled in and out of the interview area in less time than it would have taken him to hit a shot in his days as a waggler.
But maybe it was better that way. Maybe he didn't want to be reminded that any road to stardom in golf always figured to go through Woods.
And surely he didn't want to be told once again that no one figured it would take this long.
'I'm looking forward to it,' Garcia said. 'I did what I had to do to give myself a chance.'
Against Woods, that's not enough. When he has the lead after the third round in major championships, he wins.
Not just sometimes. Always.
He did it in 1999 when he won the PGA Championship even as a 19-year-old with the nickname El Nino pranced his way down the fairway and pointed a putter at him to let Woods know the game was on.
And he did it at the U.S. Open at Bethpage in 2002 when Garcia obediently picked up a divot Woods made on the third hole, and then just as obediently folded his game up
Garcia might have had an excuse for that one. He likely had been up much of the night writing Woods a letter of apology for suggesting that because he was Tiger he got all the preferential tee times.
That didn't exactly endear Garcia to Woods, whose relationship with the Spaniard is frosty at best. Garcia didn't help his cause when he pouted after a 66 in the Masters a few years ago that everyone was following Woods and that maybe other players should get more respect.
And when Garcia acted like had just won the, well, British Open, after beating Woods in a made-for-television event, that was pretty much it.
Woods, of course, wouldn't let on to that after the third round, allowing that Garcia must have played a fine round to shoot 65 and that it would be a fine day Sunday on the links. That's the way Woods talks in public, even when he has a lot more to say behind closed doors.
Woods, you see, has a long memory when it comes to making amends. And he has his own way of dealing with people he feels have slighted him.
Just ask Stephen Ames, who Woods trounced 9 and 8 in the Accenture Match Play Championship earlier this year after Ames suggested he had a good chance to win because Woods was spraying the ball off the tee.
Woods, of course, has more to worry about than Garcia. Chris DiMarco and Ernie Els are also both a stroke back, and Jim Furyk is only two behind on a course where there are plenty of birdies for the making.
And those three 3-putts on the back nine Saturday had to leave him feeling a bit uncomfortable.
'It's not just Sergio and myself,' he said. 'There are a bunch of guys up there.'
Still, this could get personal, and it could get ugly. Garcia had a deer-in-the-headlights look the last time the two played together in the final round at Bethpage four years ago, and though he has proven himself able to close the deal in six PGA Tour wins, they haven't been with Woods in contention.
Luckily for Garcia, this isn't Bethpage, where the New York fans taunted him with yells of 'whiner' and 'waggle boy,' and counted loudly as he waggled his way around the course. British Open fans are reserved to a fault, greeting almost everything with polite applause or muted shouts of encouragement.
Garcia will need all the encouragement he can get. The pressure is on for him to finally achieve the high expectations thrust on him from the time he first played the Open as a 16-year-old amateur. The pressure to beat Woods will be even greater.
If Garcia can stand up to both, he has a chance to finally call himself a major champion.
If not, he may find himself chasing after Woods the rest of his career.
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - 135th Open Championship
  • Course Tour - Royal Liverpool
  • Full Coverage - 135th Open Championship
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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 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.”