Notes Alternates at PGA Championship dont make field

By Associated PressAugust 13, 2010, 6:40 am

2010 PGA Championship

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. – Charley Hoffman waited, fiddling intermittently with his iPad while sweat trickled down his forehead. When he set the device down, Pat Perez scooped it up and tried his luck at a computer game.

Both were waiting for a little luck of their own at the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits that never came.

Hoffman and Perez were the tournament’s first two alternates, and they spent Thursday camped up in a sweltering tent at the No. 10 tee box watching group after group receive the crowd’s warm cheers and begin their major championship bids.

“Hopefully somebody’s not able to play and I’ll be able to get in there,” said Hoffman, who had a wrist injury early in the season that hindered him until the summer. “Unfortunately the PGA is making us sit on the tee, obviously it’d be a little better if we could be on the practice facility and actually be ready to play instead of sitting here.”

Hoffman joked that he was taking in a little steam in the tent.

Perez called it an oven, and many pros stopped by to greet the two.

“They’re usually asking questions, ‘Why am I here?”’ Hoffman said. “They know, though. If you want to get in the major championship, that’s why you do it.”

With Hoffman as the first alternate, Perez had the less enviable position of being second – a virtual certainty that he wouldn’t be playing.

“Waiting for nothing,” Perez said.

That didn’t keep him from saying that if Hoffman got in, he would too.

“It’s either zero or two. It won’t be just one, you can bet on that,” Perez said.

Hoffman’s wife, Stacy, decided to stay at the hotel instead of hanging out to watch nothing.

With an over 3-hour delay due to foggy conditions, the couple figured they’d spend another night in Wisconsin instead of catching a flight back home to San Diego.

“It’s a long day, obviously if someone pulls out it would be worth it,” Hoffman said. “But it’s a little time consuming.”

Hoffman said he’d look at booking flights off his iPad, but was afraid they still wouldn’t make it to the airport in time because the final pairings don’t tee off until 5:25 p.m.

“I was hoping to get out tonight, but with the 3-hour delay I don’t think it’s possible,” he said, remaining in good spirits. “It’s definitely worth the wait. There’s no downfall besides a day.”

MEET, GREET AND EAT, EAT, EAT: Stephen Gallacher got to eat and eat and eat as he waited through the fog delay. He also met a fellow countryman for the first time.

During the long delay, Gallacher chatted with Martin Laird, the two men representing Scotland in the tournament even though they’d never met.

Laird played college golf at Colorado State and now lives in Scottsdale, Ariz.

“I had never met him before and we sat during the delay and had a nice chat,” Laird said. “We were talking about having a couple (of players) over here and flying the flag.”

Gallacher spent most of his time eating as the fog kept hanging around.

“I got here at 5:45, had my breakfast and went out,” Gallacher said. “In for another breakfast, back out for some chipping, back in for another breakfast of some toast and fruit. … Teed off and there was a slight delay and it never really picked up. I didn’t see the ball land until the fifth hole.”

SICK DAY: Australia’s Jason Day had a round that positions him near the top of the leaderboard for Friday. The chronic sinus infection he’s battled over the last eight months continues to give him fits.

“I’ve been on medication for about three months now,” Day said. “My left maxillary sinus was full – 100 percent blocked – at the start of the year and it went down to 60 (percent). I had two, three CAT scans now, three CT scans now, and it’s actually halfway, under halfway right now full of gunk.”

Day said his plan now is to survive through the next few tournaments before having surgery after the FedEx Cup that will take out a portion of bone and drain the sinuses. He’ll need about two to four weeks to recover.

In the meantime, he continues to fight the symptoms and balance problems with medicine. He said he needed six or seven energy bars and about 10 bottles of water to complete his round and that he can’t practice because of his illness.

“I would go maybe every couple of holes and get a little shaky again. I felt lightheaded out there, but I try to not make that an excuse,” Day said. “I want to focus on playing well, even though it’s a little frustrating out there.”

WISCONSIN’S HOPEFULS: Steve Stricker was humbled by the large ovation he received to begin his round. Wisconsin’s other hopeful, Jerry Kelly, lost his concentration early and blamed himself for a bad start.

Stricker was 1-under par through 13 holes after play was suspended because of darkness.

“Pretty nice welcome I got there on the first tee. That got me a little bit, it’s pretty cool to come up there and get that sort of reception to start to play. You want to get off to a good start, too,” Stricker said. “I hit a lot of quality shots early – all day, really.”

Kelly, meanwhile, finished his first round with a 3-over 75.

“I just threw it away, countless – just menial stuff,” Kelly said. “Small mistakes I can’t make if I expect to contend in a setting like this, so it’s disappointing. I haven’t shot myself out of the tournament yet by any means. But (I need) a great round tomorrow – and I’m going to need a great round on Saturday.”

DIVOTS: Tiger Woods and Charles Howell III also mentioned they ate breakfast three times as their early morning tee times turned into midday starts. … The two fog delays totaled 3 hours and 16 minutes and play was officially called at 7:54 p.m. … Woods has posted subpar rounds in 14 of his last 17 tries at PGA Championships dating back to 2006. … This week’s purse is $7.5 million, up $1.25 million from the 2004 PGA Championship here.

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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.”