Kuchar Taylor in two-man Monday playoff finish

By Associated PressOctober 5, 2009, 2:51 am

turning stone resort championship

VERONA, N.Y. – Matt Kuchar and Vaughn Taylor were still tied after two holes in a sudden-death playoff at the Turning Stone Resort Championship when play was suspended Sunday because of darkness, forcing a Monday finish.

They birdied the first extra hole and parred the second. They will resume play at 8:30 a.m. on the 13th tee.

Taylor, the second-round leader, began the day three shots off the lead and shot a 6-under 66 to match Kuchar (69) at 17-under 271.

Rookie Leif Olson (69) tied for third with Tim Petrovic (67) at 16 under. The two shared the first-round lead.

Jimmy Walker (66) and John Senden (67) tied for fifth, another shot back. Third-round co-leader Scott Piercy (73) tied for 12th at 13 under. Defending champion Dustin Johnson tied for 29th at 9 under.

At the first extra hole, the par-5 18th, Taylor hit his third shot from the left rough inside 3 feet for an easy birdie. Kuchar responded by hitting to 9 feet and sinking the birdie putt.

Both found trouble on the next hole, the par-5 12th. Taylor drove way left and his second shot bounded down a cart path near a television tower. Kuchar’s second shot also landed near the tower, necessitating a free drop, but both saved par in fading light.

Because the course was still saturated with water after a week of rain, rules officials allowed the players to continue to lift and drop on all areas except teeing grounds, greens and hazards.

Kuchar, who began the day tied with Piercy for the lead, trailed Taylor by a shot after a bogey at 13. Kuchar then tied for the lead with an 18-foot birdie putt at No. 16.

After hitting his second shot to 20 feet of the pin at 17, Kuchar pulled the putt slightly and had to settle for par with just the 624-yard, par-5 finishing hole remaining.

Kuchar then nearly threw the tournament away with one shot and nearly won it with the next. After hitting his third shot into a greenside bunker, he blasted a sand shot that stopped less than 5 inches from the hole.

Kuchar, in the final group with Piercy, got off to a rocky start with bogey on the opening hole when he was unable to get up and down from a greenside bunker. He recovered nicely at No. 2, making an 18-foot birdie putt at one of the most difficult holes at the 7,482-yard Atunyote Golf Club course.

Kuchar also birdied No. 4, then faltered again at the fifth hole. He drove the left rough at the 550-yard, par-5 fifth hole and had to take a penalty stroke, then two-putted from 31 feet for another bogey.

Kuchar rallied with birdie at No. 8 and followed with a clutch 18-foot birdie putt at the ninth hole to tie Taylor at 16 under.

Taylor had two bogeys and four birdies on the front nine and briefly took sole possession of the lead at 16 under when he hit a 70-yard wedge that took one bounce on the green and dropped into the hole for eagle at the par-5 12th hole.

If Kuchar heard the oohs and ahs from the gallery, he was unfazed. He sank an 8-foot birdie putt at No. 10 to break the tie and parred the tricky par-3 11th hole, the most difficult on the course. It yielded only four birdies on Sunday and 27 players, including Olson and Van Pelt, bogeyed it.

Petrovic had three birdies on the front nine to reach 14 under, and birdies at two of the first three holes on the back side tied him with Taylor, one shot behind.

Taylor fell back to 15 under when his second shot at the 15th hole landed in intermediate rough off the back edge of the green and he couldn’t salvage par. He rebounded with birdies at the next two holes, tying Kuchar for the lead with a clutch 14-foot putt at No. 17.

Before he teed off at the final hole, Taylor had the lead. Kuchar hit his second shot into the rough to the right of the green at No. 13, barely missing the massive water hazard that comes into play on four holes, and watched in dismay when his 10-foot par putt curled around the cup and failed to drop.

That dropped Kuchar into a tie for second with Petrovic and Olson. Taylor then parred the final hole and retreated to the driving range to play the waiting game, wondering if his lead would hold up for his third career victory.

Petrovic had a chance to tie but watched his 16-foot birdie putt at 18 slide by the cup. Moments later, Olson stared in disbelief when his birdie putt at the 17th hole stopped on the lip of the cup and did not drop. He nearly pulled off a storybook finish at 18 when his eagle pitch from the fringe bounced three times and struck the pin but failed to drop.

No rookie has won on the PGA Tour this year, something that hasn’t happened since 1998.

Australian Peter Lonard established a course record with a 9-under 63, his only round of the weekend in the 60s.

Programming alert: Watch the two-man Turning Stone playoff live at 8:30 a.m. ET on Golf Channel

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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.


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.”