Hur looks to defend at Safeway Classic

By Associated PressAugust 20, 2010, 4:12 pm

NORTH PLAINS, Ore. – M.J. Hur was surprised at how quickly things changed for her after winning last year’s Safeway Classic.

Just a few days later, at the Canadian Women’s Open, fans were congratulating the South Korean golfer and asking for her autograph. It simply didn’t occur to Hur that she was famous.

“Some in the gallery have my picture and say ‘Can I get an autograph?’ Already! Like after only one or two days!” she said.

It was Hur’s first win on the LPGA Tour, and only since. She beat Suzann Pettersen with a birdie on the second hole of a playoff at the tournament west of Portland. Michele Redman was eliminated on the first extra hole.

She remembers watching Pettersen and Redmen birdie the No. 17 hole, knowing the trio was headed for the playoff.

“I feel very nervous but in a different way, like very confident: `I can hit this ball straight.’ Seemed like the same as practice,” she recalled.

This year’s Safeway Classic starts Friday at the 6,546-yard, par-72 Ghost Creek Course at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club, about a 20 minute drive from Portland. It is the tournament’s second-year on the rural course at the base of the Coastal Range after 19 years at Columbia Edgewater County Club.

Cristie Kerr won in 2008 at Columbia Edgewater, beating Helen Alfredsson and Sophie Gustafson with a 15-foot birdie putt on the first extra hole.

Kerr, who won the State Farm Classic and LPGA Championship in June, just became the top-ranked player in the world while taking time off after the Women’s British Open. She didn’t even know about it until some friends e-mailed her.

Kerr, who was also ranked No. 1 earlier this year, wants to hold on to her status this time.

“There’s a lot of people contending for No. 1 in the world this year. And to be able to stay there I’ve just got to play well and every week just be consistent,” she said. “That’s my goal for the rest of the year.”

Others in the Safeway Classic field include Yani Tseng, who won her third major championship trophy two weeks ago at Royal Birkdale, and Michelle Wie, looking for her second victory after taking last year’s the Lorena Ochoa Invitational. Fan favorite Natalie Gulbis had to withdraw because of ongoing back trouble.

Hur earned followers in Portland for her graciousness in victory last year. Long after her tournament-winning birdie – after addressing reporters, posing for pictures and shaking hands with sponsors – she returned to the 18th green and signed autographs for the lingering spectators.

Her best finish this season was a tie for second at the ShopRite LPGA Classic in New Jersey in June.

She says she’s more than ready to win again and has been practicing for the past couple of weeks in Florida. The issue lately is fading in the later rounds, she explained.

“My goal this year is one more win, because I think after I have one more win I can get more and more, like every year,” she said.

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.

LPGA:

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.

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Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open

By Associated PressDecember 11, 2017, 12:43 pm

JOHANNESBURG – Shubhankar Sharma won his first European Tour title by a shooting 3-under 69 Monday in the final round of the weather-delayed Joburg Open.

The 21-year-old Indian resumed his round on the eighth green after play was halted early Sunday afternoon because of storms. He parred that hole, birdied No. 9 and made par on every hole on the back nine.


Full-field scores from the Joburg Open


Sharma finished at 23-under 264, three strokes ahead of the pack, and qualified for next year's British Open, too.

''I actually wasn't going to come here about a week ago ... so I'm really happy that I came,'' said Sharma, who shot 61 in the second round. ''I don't think I'm ever going forget my first time in South Africa.''

Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm