Kim builds a 4-shot lead at East Lake

By Associated PressSeptember 25, 2008, 4:00 pm
THE TOUR Championship by Coke 2007 LogoATLANTA ' Anthony Kim wore a red shirt, fired at flags and made birdies on almost half of his holes.
 
So much for that Ryder Cup hangover. The way Kim played Thursday in the opening round of the Tour Championship, it was almost as if the Ryder Cup never ended.
 
Four days after Kim humbled Sergio Garcia, he beat 29 players just as badly at East Lake with a 6-under 64 that gave Kim a four-shot lead over Masters champion Trevor Immelman, Ryder Cup teammate Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els.
 
It took me a couple of days to get over that celebration, Kim said of a 16 1/2 -11 1/2 victory over Europe. Obviously, its nice when you walk up to a green and youve got a couple of people (saying), Nice job at the Ryder Cup. Way to bring the cup back home, little things like that. I feel like when Im happy, having a good time, Im going to make some birdies.
 
So it was a good vibe out there.
 
Vijay Singh wasnt feeling it. He only has to complete all four rounds at East Lake to capture the FedEx Cup, and that might have been the best part of his opening round at East Lake'he finished. But he started poorly, 5 over through 11 holes, before settling for a 73.
 
Kenny Perry, the Kentucky hero from the Ryder Cup, also found little reason to smile. He opened with a 76, and while that wont take away from his memories of red, white and blue, what irritated him was a pink slip.
 
It was his summons for drug testing, the second of the year for the 48-year-old Perry.
 
Good thing the 23-year-old Kim had four days to try to get the Ryder Cup out of his system. He was the life of the party Sunday night, especially after his 5-and-4 victory over Garcia in which Kim made birdie or better on six of his 14 holes.
 
Just trying to enjoy the moment, he said. This Ryder Cup hangover doesnt feel as bad as a college hangover.
 
As well as he played at the Ryder Cup on a Valhalla course with soft greens and minimal rough, Kim was equally spectacular on an East Lake course that was tough as ever.
 
Golf balls disappeared in Bermuda rough that was only 2 inches deep. The real challenge was getting the ball close to the cup on greens that were rebuilt in the spring. It usually takes a few years for new greens to settle, making them particularly firm. Add to that gusts up to 15 mph on a warm, dry afternoon and its no wonder only five players broke par.
 
K.J. Choi was the other with a 1-under 69.
 
The real marvel was Kim posting eight birdies in his round of 64 in his Tour Championship debut. He attributes most of that to a simple fix in his putting before he teed off.
 
It was the most basic thing you can think ' keep you eye on the ball, Kim said. Now that Ive got that under control, Im going to try to make some more putts.
 
He didnt have to make them from very far.
 
Kim hit sand wedge to 2 feet on the third hole and to 3 feet on the fourth. The longest putt he made came from just behind the 11th green when he knocked in a 25-footer to start building a gap between him and the rest of the field that made it to the final event in the PGA Tour Playoffs.
 
I didnt really know what score was out there, Kim said. I had heard the greens were really receptive last year, so I didnt know what to expect. And obviously, it took me a couple of days to get over that celebration that we had on Sunday night, so I wasnt expecting too much. Just taking what the course gave me.
 
What was so tough about that American party?
 
I did a lot of reading that night, Kim said, smiling. My eyes were tired.
 
The drama is gone from the FedEx Cup ' Singh made sure of that with two victories ' but perhaps there is one race that could come down to the wire.
 
Mickelson has a chance to win the Vardon Trophy for the lowest adjusted scoring average, and at 69.52 he leads Garcia (69.53) by one-hundredth of a point. Mickelson at least needs to finish ahead of the Spaniard to capture his first major award on the PGA Tour.
 
Kim, however, is one-tenth of a point behind at 69.62. Scoring averages cannot be computed until the end of the week, because scores are adjusted based on the average field score for the tournament.
 
It would be cool, Mickelson said when asked about the Vardon Trophy. I dont really understand the mathematics of the scoring average, because its not really your score.
 
But he understood a 68 and was pleased with it.
 
Mickelson made the turn at 4 under thanks to some putting that has been missing most of the year. One errant shot struck a small girl in the knee, and before Mickelson could check on her, his caddie brought some levity to the moment.
 
Have you seen our Crowne Plaza commercials? he said, referring to one scene when Mickelson meets with various fans he has hit in the gallery over the years.
 
Kim hit mainly fairways and greens, and he took only 26 putts for to match his lowest scores of the year and post his fifth consecutive round in the 60s on the PGA Tour. He played with Mike Weir (70), who watched some of the Ryder Cup on Sunday. He was asked if he saw any of Kims match against Garcia.
 
I saw the start, Weir said. He got off to a great start.
 
Four days later, Kim hasnt slowed a bit.
 
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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.”