No 4 at Cog Hill No 1 in The Playoffs

By Associated PressSeptember 9, 2007, 4:00 pm
BMW ChampionshipLEMONT, Ill. -- The champion at Cog Hill, the front-runner for the FedExCup.
 
Tiger Woods, holding the tournament trophy, set the course record Sunday at Cog Hill in Lemont, Ill., with an 8-under 63.
 
Indeed, Tiger Woods is where most everyone figured he would be heading into the final week of the PGA TOUR playoffs.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods shows off the BMW trophy for the fourth time in his professional career. (WireImage)
With a 50-foot birdie putt that got him back on track Sunday, Woods matched the lowest final round of his career with an 8-under 63 that shattered the scoring record at Cog Hill and gave him a two-shot victory in the BMW Championship.
 
Woods took the lead for good with a 12-foot birdie on the 13th hole and kept his distance from Aaron Baddeley and Steve Stricker with a swing so solid that he missed only two fairways all weekend. Woods finished at 22-under 262, breaking by five shots the record he set four years ago at Cog Hill.
 
It also gave him a commanding lead with one week remaining in the FedExCup.
 
Woods goes to East Lake in Atlanta with a 3,133-point lead over Steve Stricker, who finished third at Cog Hill, and a 4,120-point margin over Phil Mickelson, who decided not to play this week.
 
Mickelson, the Deutsche Bank Championship winner Monday, will have to win to have any hopes of capturing the FedExCup and the $10 million prize. If Stricker does not win at East Lake, Woods could win the cup by finishing second.
 
Only two other players -- Rory Sabbatini and K.J. Choi -- have a mathematical chance of winning the FedExCup.
 
All that mattered at the moment was winning at Cog Hill for the fourth time. It was Woods' sixth victory of the year, and the 60th in his 11 years on the PGA TOUR. He earned $1.26 million to go over $9 million for the fourth time in his career.
 
Baddeley closed with a 66, while Stricker bogeyed his final hole for a 68 to finish four shots behind.
 
The biggest mystery about the TOUR Championship is the course on which they play.
 
The TOUR left a two-page notice on players' lockers Sunday morning saying that record heat has severely damaged the greens at East Lake, forcing officials to cancel the pro-am round Wednesday and ban players from so much as setting foot on the greens until the first round on Thursday.
 
Players are still required to be at East Lake on Wednesday to do a clinic and spend time with the amateurs.
 
Stewart Cink, Tim Clark and Camilo Villegas all finished in the top 10 and earned enough points to move into the top 30 in the playoff standings and qualify for the Tour Championship at East Lake.
 
The 30th spot went to British Open champion Padraig Harrington, who took this week off to recharge and was prepared to play a European tour event if he got bumped out. Luke Donald tried to recover from a 76 in the opening round, but his bogey-free 65 on Sunday left him two shots away from the points he needed to finish 30th.
 
Also getting knocked out of the top 30 were Jerry Kelly and Aaron Oberholser, who withdrew with hand and wrist injuries and said he would not have been able to play the TOUR Championship even if he had made it.
 
It was the third straight week of compelling golf, a three-man race at sunny Cog Hill that was up for grabs until Woods seized control with his 50-foot birdie on the 12th, and a 20-foot birdie on the 16th that swirled around the cup before falling.
 
Woods took only 25 putts in the final round, five fewer than a third round in which he was disappointed with a 65.
 
'That's what has been missing all week,'' Woods said. 'Today, I finally felt comfortable.''
 
With his wife, Elin, following along outside the ropes, Woods ran off three straight birdies at the turn to shoot 32, but all that did was help him keep pace with Stricker and Baddeley.
 
Stricker, the hometown favorite who played at Illinois and grew up across the border in Wisconsin, made four straight birdies through the 10th hole to become the first to reach 19 under, giving him a one-shot lead over Baddeley.
 
Baddeley caught him on the 11th with a long bunker shot over a crook in the green to 6 feet for birdie.
 
Woods was in the group ahead and losing steam. He had to work for par on the easy 10th, and he had to settle for par when his chip from right of the green on the par-5 11th ran 15 feet away. His tee shot on the par-3 12th wasn't much better, and Woods hung his head and walked toward the green as it was still in flight.
 
But on a day of wild cheers, the loudest came on his 50-foot putt that dropped for birdie. That put him in a three-way tie for the lead, and Woods took off from there. He birdied the 13th from 20 feet, grazed the edge of the cup on the next hole, and nearly holed another 20-foot putt for eagle on the 15th.
 
Woods also shot 63 in the final round of the Deutsche Bank Championship last year. And while he is known as the best closer in golf, it was his fourth victory this year when starting the final round from behind.
 
Baddeley didn't give himself enough close chances, although he had a chance to tie Woods with a 20-foot eagle on the 15th that just missed. He failed to give himself a serious look at birdie the rest of the way, and the result was inevitable as Baddeley and Stricker brought up the rear.
 
Woods has won six times in the Chicago area -- four at Cog Hill, two in the PGA Championship at Medinah. The only place where he has had more victories is the San Diego area, where he has won seven times.
 
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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.”