Lowery Takes Advantage of Singhs Collapse - COPIED

By Associated PressFebruary 10, 2008, 5:00 pm
2007 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-AmPEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Steve Lowery had gone more than seven years and 199 tournaments without winning, a drought that would have continued Sunday at Pebble Beach if not for a stunning collapse by Vijay Singh.
 
Three shots behind when he stood on the 15th tee, Lowery made up quick ground when Singh made three straight bogeys, then won on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff with a 7-foot birdie. At 47, he became the oldest winner in the 71-year history of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
 
Lowery closed with a 4-under 68 and won for the third time in his career, all of them in playoffs.
 
Singh recovered from his three bogeys with a wedge that stopped 2 feet away for birdie on the final hole for a 71 to force the playoff. Both players finished at 10-under 278.
 
But the Fijian's troubles only got worse playing the famous 18th hole at Pebble Beach a second time. His drive found a bunker to the right, and his second shot clipped the top of the bunker, leaving him 192 yards short of the green. A 4-iron for his third shot plugged into the side of another bunker, and he did well to blast out to 8 feet and make par.
 
Lowery's birdie putt was good all the way, an amazing victory for a variety of reasons, least of all Singh's collapse.
 
Lowery was No. 305 in the world when he arrived on the Monterey Peninsula. He finished 148th on the money list last year because of a wrist injury, and was given eight tournaments to make $282,558 to keep his card for the rest of the year.
 
That's no longer a problem. Lowery earned $1.08 million and a two-year exemption, sending Singh home to question whether his retooled swing can hold up under pressure.
 
The first playoff at Pebble Beach since 1992 didn't even seem remotely possibly when Lowery walked off the 14th green with a bogey. He was three shots behind Singh, who had just hit a brilliant flop shot to 6 feet to save par on the 13th.
 
Turns out that was a sign of sloppy play that followed.
 
Singh went at the flag on the 14th with a sand wedge from 92 yards, but it was a tad strong and spun down the slope, and the best he could do was chip to 20 feet and make bogey. He missed the 15th green to the left, chipped weakly and missed an 8-footer for par.
 
His fairway metal found a bunker off the 16th tee, and Singh powered that shot over the green, down the slope and into the back bunker. He blasted through the green and two-putted for bogey from the fringe to fall into a tie. Singh arrived on the 17th tee in time to watch Lowery hole a 20-foot birdie putt to take the lead, and if not for a couple of fortuitous bounces, Singh might not have been in a position for a playoff.
 
Singh's 3-foot par putt on the 17th swirled around the inside of the cup before falling, and his tee shot on the 18th was headed for a tree until it bounced off the trunk and deflected to the right. That gave him a clear shot at the green, setting up his wedge to 2 feet.
 
Dudley Hart, who started the final round tied with Singh, didn't make a birdie until making three in a row at the end for a 72 to finish one shot out of the playoff. He tied for third with John Mallinger (65) and Corey Pavin (66).
 
Jason Day, the 20-year-old from Australia, finished alone in sixth after a 70.
 
Pebble Beach was the final tournament to qualify for the Accenture Match Play Championship. Pat Perez shot 72 and tied for 24th, but it was enough for him to get into his first World Golf Championship. Perez moved up two spots to No. 64, and with Ernie Els not playing, he will face Phil Mickelson in the first round.
 
J.B. Holmes, who missed the cut at Pebble, dropped to No. 65 and gets Tiger Woods, provided no one else withdraws.
 
Singh won Pebble Beach four years ago, his first of nine victories that season, and he was poised to capture his 32nd career victory to become the leader among international players.
 
He made three birdies on the opening six holes, and winning looked as easy as sliding into a recliner. He stopped on the edge of the cliffs along Stillwater Cove, soaking in the warm sunshine and gentle surf, a man without a care in the world.
 
No one else made a lasting charge until Lowery ran off three straight birdies along the Pacific, including a terrific shot out of the bunker on the tough ninth hole that settled 15 feet away to put him at 11 under to pull within one shot.
 
Singh answered, however, with a long iron from the rough that barely cleared a hump of grass and trickled to 14 inches of the cup for his easiest birdie of the round. And when Lowery dropped shots on the 11th and 14th, victory for Singh looked as certain as a tap-in.
 
That changed when his sand wedge from spun off the green, and it ended with two shots into the bunker on the playoff hole.
 
DIVOTS
 
Fredrik Jacobson and Bill Walters won the pro-am by a record 10 shots, finishing at 38-under 250. ... Nicholas Thompson birdied five of his first six holes and was tied for the lead when Singh and Hart teed off, but he didn't make another birdie and finished with a 70 to tie for seventh. ... The other two players Lowery beat in playoffs were Rick Fehr at the 1994 International and Skip Kendall in the 2000 Southern Farm Bureau Classic.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
  • Getty Images

    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.”