Notes An Aussies Bingo Lubed Up Mechanic

By Associated PressJune 13, 2008, 4:00 pm
2008 U.S. OpenSAN DIEGO -- With a 45-foot putt on the par-5 18th, Stuart Appleby rolled into the lead of the U.S. Open and knocked out 11 players, including 2007 Masters winner Zach Johnson.
 
Bingo, the Australian said about his putt that gave him a 1-under 70 and a two-day total of 3-under 139. Hes a stroke ahead of Tiger Woods, Rocco Mediate and Robert Karlsson.
 
Applebys putt certainly was worth a salutation of Good on ya, mate.
 
He got his line right and tried not to hit it too hard.
 
Typical stuff when youre at 50 feet, he said. Youre trying to just use your natural feel. I hit it and I thought, Well, that looks up, it doesnt look long. Because it didnt have that feeling off the putter. Probably a couple seconds out, I thought, This could go in. Then the crowd does their thing, and it all adds to what looks like a good putt.
 
Had the putt missed, Johnson and 10 other players who were 8-over-par would have made the cut to play the weekend. Instead, their tournament was over.
 
Also missing the cut were two of the last three U.S. Open winners. Defending champion Angel Cabreras struggles on Torrey Pines South Course ended with a 13-over 155, and 2005 champion Michael Campbell shot 83 on Friday to drop to 19-over 161.
 
In all, 80 of the 156 players made the weekend, including Irishman Padraig Harrington and Spaniard Sergio Garcia, who both had been in danger of missing the cut.
 
Harrington, the reigning British Open champion, started the day seven strokes over par, but his 4-under-par 67 Friday was the second-best round of the tournament and gave him a two-round total of 3-over 145.
 
Garcia shot a 1-under 70 in the second round for a 146 total. After starting 6 over for his first seven holes Thursday, he was 2 under for his last 29.
 
I knew I made four birdies yesterday and I said to myself if I can make four more today and keep the rest of it tidy, I knew Id have a good score. I was aiming for 69, but 67 is a nice return. It even felt like it might have been one or two better than that.
 
Harrington kept it tidy all right, by playing bogey-free golf. He said the difference from the first round to the second was that he just holed the odd par putt here and there.
 
I am in good shape in the championship now and if the wind picks up and the greens firm up, well see where I am at the end of the day, he said. The positive thing is that Im right back in the tournament and Ill try to have a great weekend.
 
Three amateurs also made the cut: Derek Fathauer at 146, Michael Thompson at 147 and Rickie Fowler at 149. No amateurs made it the last two years.
 
Cabrera was the second defending champion in three years to miss the cut. Campbell failed to make it at Winged Foot in New York two years ago after winning the 2005 Open at Pinehurst.
 
Cabrera opened at Torrey Pines with an 8-over 79 and followed that with a 76 on Friday for a 13-over 155.
 
PERSPECTIVE
Mark OMeara, the 1998 Masters and British Open winner, was among those who missed the cut by a stroke, but he took it in stride.
 
Im 51. What the hell. Im out here, he said.
 
OMeara once lived in San Diego County and won the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines in 1997.
 
NO FIX NEEDED
Theres nothing The Mechanic needs to do to fix his golf swing.
 
Miguel Angel Jimenez played his way into contention by shooting a 5-under 66 to move within two shots of leader Stuart Appleby.
 
Jimenez hit 15 of 18 greens, made seven birdies against two bogeys and made up a lot of ground after his opening 75.
 
Every chance I had for birdie, I made the birdie, the Spaniard said.
 
Jimenez, who finished eighth at the Masters but is still looking for his first major championship at age 44, gave himself a chance to do just that with the round of the tournament.
 
Its very important, he said of his chances of winning a major. This is my 26th year on the tour, and Im 44. I would love to have one for my career.
 
Jimenez, who got his nickname because of his affinity for high-performance vehicles, is not only hitting the ball well but playing with a lot of confidence. He is coming off a win in his last tournament, the BMW PGA Championship on the European Tour, where he has won twice this year.
 
Hes also getting a break in the smoking department. Jimenez likes to enjoy a cigar on the course and he can at Torrey Pines, which is non-smoking for everyone outside the ropes but allows smoking inside them.
 
FLOOD OF CONCERNS
Zach Johnson made only four birdies to go along with eight bogeys and two double bogeys in his 36-hole total of 8-over 150, but he was more concerned with the situation in his hometown of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where rising floodwaters Friday forced the evacuation of a downtown hospital and sent thousands of residents fleeing for higher ground.
 
Im playing golf, you know? In the grand scheme of things, it really means nothing, the 2007 Masters champion said. Im trying as hard as I can out here. Im not saying my play has anything to do with the situation back home, but its on my mind. Its impossible not to be.
 
You look at all the situations that have gone on, the tornadoes, obviously the flooding, and, you know, Im chasing a white ball, Johnson said. So the deaths from the tornadoes and certainly the evacuations from the floods, thats perspective right there. Im very lucky.
 
Johnson said his mothers office at the Archdiocese of Eastern Iowa was under water and she didnt know when shed be able to return to work. His fathers chiropractic clinic, also downtown, is closed, with sandbags surrounding the sewer system.
 
My charitys there, too, Johnson said. Its probably under water. I dont know.
 
So who could really blame him for all those bogeys?
 
When youre trying to focus on your nations event, your nations Open, its extremely difficult to focus. I pride myself on being mentally strong, but its hard, Johnson said. Its very difficult.
 
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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.”