Herman misses chance for low round

By Associated PressJune 21, 2010, 7:59 am

2010 U.S. Open

PEBBLE BEACH, California – Jim Herman approached the 18th tee Sunday at Pebble Beach and pondered his chances for the lowest round at this year’s U.S. Open.

There was the possibility of topping Tiger Woods and final-round leader Dustin Johnson, who each shot a sizzling 5-under 66 on Saturday. Herman also had a chance to top Phil Mickelson’s 66 in Friday’s second round.

So Herman pulled out his driver and decided to go for it. Why not? Anything to forget that awful 10-over 81 he shot Saturday.

Herman needed a birdie on No. 18, a challenging par-5, to finish at 65. The plan quickly went south – well, west, really. His tee shot hooked left toward the ocean, and it sailed over the concrete seawall to the rocks below. Herman, still holding out hope of recovering on the final hole, hurried down to find his ball. He found several, none of them his own.

He returned to the tee already with a 3, and by the time he finally finished he had double-bogey and a 3-under 68. He was 14-over 298 for the tournament.

“Low round in the tournament definitely was in my mind going into the back nine,” he said. “I definitely knew it. I watched Phil’s round. I knew where I was and what it was. I was trying to do it, what else do I have but to go for a record?”

Herman overcame a bogey on the second with a pair of eagles on Nos. 4 and 6 and a trio of birdies. Fans Mike Portier and James Kater of San Jose caught up with Herman’s group on No. 2 with plans of watching Mike Weir – but Herman’s play quickly caught their attention. Time to cheer on an underdog making good.

“Because this guy was shooting the round of the tournament,” Portier said.

Even his disappointing 18th couldn’t spoil Herman’s first Father’s Day. His wife, Carolyn, and 8 1/2 -month-old daughter, Abigail, were on hand all week to support him.

“It was pretty awesome, two eagles in a span of three holes,” Herman said. “Another birdie on 7, which just topped it off. It was just a great day. I’m glad I could come back after yesterday. Yesterday was pretty painful to take being in my first Open. I had a lot of support from my family. We all joked about it last night. I just wanted to come out and show that I could really play out here, and I think I did that today.”


SHARE OF TOP AMATEUR: Reigning U.S. college champion Scott Langley and Russell Henley shared the distinction of top amateur at the U.S. Open. Each finished 8-over 292 and in a share of 16th.

They combined for the best finish by amateurs since Spencer Levin tied for 14th in 2003. Langley and Henley are among eight other amateurs to finish in the top 20 since 1970.

He slapped hands with several supporters along the ropes between the 16th green and 17th tee. Henley acknowledged as many of the people as he could along the way, with smiles, waves, tips of his visor.

Approaching the 18th green to a roaring standing ovation, he pulled out his best one yet: He waved his visor, put his hand to his ear and raised both arms up signaling for more.

This guy could ham it up and still play great golf.

 “It’s not very often you get to play in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. It was awesome,” Henley said. “You can’t take anything like this for granted. … I tried to have a ball out there.”

Henley stood at the 18th tee looking out at Carmel Bay when his caddie and big brother, Adam, put his arm around the golfer. Talk about a special moment for these two boys from Macon, Ga.

“It’s such a famous hole and the culmination of this whole week has just been magical,” said Adam, who at 32 is 11 years older. “What we kept talking about today is what a beautiful course it is and how everybody is cheering for him.”

All week, Adam told his brother to enjoy the experience. Their parents were there waiting at the end.

Tom Watson played behind Henley and offered “nice play” congratulations at the scorer’s trailer afterward.

“You, too,” Henley said.

While Henley was somewhat surprised how many fans knew who he was – “I guess they read the pairings sheet” – many more might be watching for him now.

“I’m just some kid from Macon,” he said.

“I think they know his name now,” Adam said.


MASTERS LOVE: Davis Love III gets to go back to the Masters, the place he loves the most.

Love and Gregory Havret secured their spots in the 2011 Masters by finishing in the top eight in the U.S. Open and will be joined there by Brandt Snedeker.

They also locked up a spot in the field for the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md.

The USGA changed the rules for the 2010 Open so that just the top-10 finishers, and ties, are exempt for next year’s championship – instead of the top 15 finishers.


LOCAL BOY: A beaming Erick Justesen pulled off his white hat after putting out on 18 and emphatically waved it to a cheering crowd.

“Way to go Erick!” several people yelled.

He took off his glove, signed that and gave it away, then he signed some more.

Justesen was a regular caddie at Pebble Beach from 2003-05. Now, he’s a pro who just played his first U.S. Open in the picturesque place he used to work.

“It’s unreal,” Justesen said. “I hit dozens of bad shots, and you just look around and you care a little less about the bad shots and a little more about the situation you’re in. It’s pretty surreal.”

Just because he’s spent countless hours on this challenging oceanside course didn’t mean he had much of an advantage this week.

“I played solid today. Man, I still feel like I could have done better,” said Justesen, a 25-year-old from Sacramento. “It was a different course this week. A lot had changed. The faster the greens get, there are so many angulations out here the more the greens change. They were putting pins in spots you never see them. It was a different golf course.”

Some of his former college golf teammates from nearby Cal State University-Stanislaus cheered him as he finished and were there to greet him after he went through the scoring trailer. He saw people he knew from Sacramento all over the course, too.

“It was a great opportunity to be among these guys and play against them, to carry over some confidence and really be like, ‘Hey, I can do this.’ I feel like a local boy. It’s pretty nice. That was my favorite part of the week, just all the people and people cheering you on. I dig that stuff. That’s fun.” 


GOING IT ALONE: Pablo Martin made his way around Pebble Beach early Sunday morning in a tidy 2 hours, 39 minutes – one of the advantage of playing alone.

With an odd number of players making the cut, one lone golfer was sent off by himself each of the final two mornings. Ty Tryon did it Saturday.

Like Tryon, Martin declined the option of having a “marker” play with him, choosing the faster route as part of his 8-over 79 that left the Spaniard 29 over for the tournament. He walked off the green at 18 to chants of “Pablo, Pablo,” following a double-bogey on the closing hole.

“Me and my caddie, it was a nice walk, checking the course. Pretty cool. It’s so nice over here in Pebble Beach. I’m happy we can get to play for free,” Martin said. “The best memory I’m going to have of this week? It’s the first time to play Pebble Beach. It was a fun week even though I played crap. Sometimes, it goes that way and sometimes, it goes the other way.”


PRIZE PURSE: The $7.5 million purse is the same for the third straight year, with the winner taking home $1.35 million. The amount for the champion hasn’t increased for the third year in a row, the first time that has happened since 1968-71.

Sunday’s runner-up was set to receive $810,000, while third place earns $480,687.


DOUBLE-DOUBLE: Former PGA champ Shaun Micheel had quite the back-to-back on his front nine Sunday. Micheel was in a three-way tie for the lead after the opening round before falling out of contention with forgettable rounds of 77 and 75.

He’ll certainly remember his final day.

Micheel made a rare double-eagle at the par-5 sixth hole, draining his second shot from the fairway on the uphill 523-yard hole. Those two shots he gained disappeared just as quickly, as Micheel made a double-bogey on the 92-yard 7th.

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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.”