Monty Tries to Bounce Back

By Associated PressJuly 18, 2006, 4:00 pm
135th Open Championship HOYLAKE, England -- Colin Montgomerie rolled his eyes and tried to conceal that devilish smile.
So, is he still trying to get over the U.S. Open?
No, no affects at all, he replied. It didnt affect me at all.
No one was buying it. Not even Monty.
Colin Montgomerie
A silhouetted Colin Montgomerie practices Tuesday at the Open Championship.
That U.S. Open was a shame, he quickly added, not even needing a follow-up question to deliver the grim punch line to a painful stab at self-deprecation.
While Phil Mickelson will likely go down in golf history as the guy who blew it at Winged Foot'the I am such an idiot post-mortem all but assured it'Montgomerie should probably be kicking himself more than Lefty.
Mickelson made a mess of the 72nd hole right from the start, pushing his drive far left on the way to a double bogey that handed the title to a grateful Geoff Ogilvy. While devastated by his collapse, at least Mickelson could soothe his wounds with three major championships.
Monty doesnt have that sort of comfort zone. Hes never won a major'and he may never get a better chance to wash away the stain on an admirable career.
After knocking his tee shot to a perfect spot in the 18th fairway, Montgomerie overanalyzed his club selection for the approach to the green, didnt get the extra boost of adrenaline he was counting on and wound up short'in a virtually unplayable patch of thick rough.
Instead of a two-putt for par, he wound up with a double-bogey 6. Instead of grasping a major title for the first time, he trudged away with perhaps the most painful loss of a career filled with close calls in the biggest events.
But Montgomerie bounced back with a strong performance at last weeks Scottish Open warmup, and he arrived at Royal Liverpool with high hopes of making another run at the career-defining championship that has eluded him so far.
I try and take the positives from most things, he said. If I took the negatives from everything, I wouldnt be here, believe me. I have to take the positives from anything that happens and theres always a positive in most things, however bad a day that might be.
And what was positive about Winged Foot?
Flying home from New York on Sunday night, Montgomerie recalled, I had to think, Well, that was OK. I came into this event 21st or 22nd in the world and came within a whisker of winning. So I cant complain about that. Thats OK.
If hes truly recovered from the U.S. Open, the 43-year-old Scotsman should be one of the favorites at Royal Liverpool. He certainly knows how to make his way around a links course. And a pair of recent runner-up finishes in the majors'Monty was second to Tiger Woods at last years British Open'have shown hes fully recovered from a painful divorce and an extended slump.
Im confident, Montgomerie said. Im playing well. Im confident where the ball is going. Knowing where the ball is going is half the battle.
Some of his competitors believe he might just be the guy to beat. Montys low, accurate drives and intuitive feel for Britains seaside courses should give him an advantage over many in the 156-player field.
I would say somebody who is a straight ball hitter, somebody who keeps the ball low, somebody like a Montgomerie, is really sort of an ideal choice for a golf course like this, Englands Paul Casey said. My goals for the week are really to play like Colin would: keep the ball low and keep it in play. If I can do that, I think Ill have a chance.
Montgomerie and Mickelson arent the only ones in a recovery mode.
Woods is still coping with the death of his father and missed the cut at Winged Foot'the first time thats happened to him in a major since he turned pro. Ernie Els, the winner at Muirfield in 2002 and a British Open runner-up three times, hasnt finished higher than seventh this year. Vijay Singh had managed only one win after capturing a total of 13 victories the previous two seasons. Retief Goosen has been shut out on the PGA Tour in 2006.
It hasnt been about the Big Four or Five, whatever the number is, Casey said. Maybe there is a feeling that there is an opportunity for some of the other guys to sneak up and come in under the radar.
Not that hes counting out the usual favorites.
Theyre still the ones to beat, as far as Im concerned, Casey said. Phil is very, very keen. Weve heard all about his practice leading up to this week. Youve still got to fear Tiger and Ernie, and (Jim) Furyk would be a great, great call for this week. I really respect his game.
While conceding that hell never forget Winged Foot, Mickelson is adamant hes gotten over his final-hole meltdown. He cant afford to dwell on a few bad swings, which cost him a chance at the British to join Woods as the only players to hold all four major titles in the modern era.
I feel very confident in the way Ive prepared for tournaments and the way Ive been playing, Mickelson said. I dont want to let one bad hole interfere with that.
After the U.S. Open, he showed up at Hoylake the very next week to start preparing for the British. He spent two days at Royal Liverpool, then returned last Thursday to play what amounts to a full tournament.
Mickelson took a little more than eight hours for each of his four rounds, studying every option off the tee, from the fairway, around the green. He played Sunday morning, then returned in the afternoon and played into the late twilight.
Its hard to argue with the results.
In the last 10 majors, Mickelson has won three times, was runner-up twice and has finished out of the top 10 only two times. Beginning in 2004, the start of his stellar streak, he began studying courses as if he were cramming for a final exam, trying to figure out where he could take risks and when he should play it safe.
There was a long time where I wasnt really proud of my performance in the majors, said Mickelson, long known as the best player never to win a major. But the last couple of years, Im pretty proud of that. So again, one bad hole isnt going to change the way I look at that.
Related Links:
  • Tee Times - 135th Open Championship
  • Course Tour - Royal Liverpool
  • Full Coverage - 135th Open Championship
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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 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.”