Notes Finchem hints at an Asian series

By Associated PressJuly 6, 2010, 10:33 pm

NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. – The PGA Tour already has the West Coast Swing, the Florida Swing and now the Texas Swing. It might not be long before it has an Asian Swing after the FedEx Cup portion of the season is over.

In two years, the PGA Tour already has grown to two events there. It returns to Shanghai on Nov. 4-7 for a World Golf Championship, this time treating the HSBC Champions as an official victory if a tour member is holding the trophy. A week earlier is the inaugural Asia Pacific Classic in Malaysia, which is co-sanctioned with the Asian Tour and offers a $6 million purse.

And after that? Stay tuned.

“We’re looking at possibilities in Japan, Korea, China,” PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said. “I’m not saying we will, but we may very well do a short series over there in the fall in the next two or three years. If we’re going to get serious about a presence in Asia, it would probably argue for a short series.”

The Malaysia event was not a critical building block in such a series. It has a short field – the top 25 players available from the FedEx Cup standings to fill a 40-man field at The Mines Resort and Golf Club – and Finchem said the Asian Pacific Classic “predated what might developing into a serious strategy.”

“If it continues, it will be part of it (an Asia series) in some fashion,” he said.

Finchem, who took an 18-day working vacation through Asia last fall, said he will be returning this year. However, Finchem didn’t make it sound like any series was around the corner. Asked if the tour was close to arranging an event in Japan, he flatly replied, “no.”

“I don’t see us announcing any details on that by the end of the year,” he said.


CRYSTAL BALL: Tiger Woods has not returned to defend his title eight times on the PGA Tour – once when the tournament changed dates (BellSouth Classic), once after his daughter was born (Buick Open), five times recovering from knee surgery and once this year as he made his return from a sex scandal.

He has never failed to defend a title because he wasn’t eligible, and odds are it won’t happen.

Still, with the start of the FedEx Cup playoffs only seven weeks away, Woods is No. 105 in the standings. He still has two majors and a World Golf Championship on his schedule, and his game seemed to be improving at Aronimink. But this year, nothing is certain.

Woods is the defending champion at the BMW Championship outside Chicago, which is for the top 70 in the FedEx Cup standings after two playoff events.


CAPTAINS SPEAK: Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin has been talking to his predecessors to learn what he can, and that group finally includes the immediate past captain, Paul Azinger.

Azinger revealed as much in a tweet last week: “Talked to Pavin about RC. Sent him book Cracking t Code, $24.95. Shipping $7.50, texts $2.00, my advice 2 cents, another U.S. victory PRICELESS.”

“He text messaged me in May that he wanted the book,” Azinger said about “Cracking the Code,” in which he explains how he tried to create accountability and teamwork by grouping his teams into pods of four players. “He texted me when he got the book and said, ‘When are you going to play again?’ I told him I wasn’t going to play until I got my handicap below 3.”

They met last Thursday. Azinger said the new criteria assured that Pavin would have the hottest eight American players, and that how Pavin wanted to pick one-third of the team was up to him.

“I told him I valued the wives’ opinions about their husbands,” Azinger said. “I said, ‘If I could have you any advice, it would be to create what you feel is the best environment for them.”’

Azinger also said he told Pavin that once the week of the Ryder Cup arrived, it was better to say nothing to a player than to risk saying the wrong thing.

“I micromanaged for two years,” Azinger said. “And when we got to the Ryder Cup, then I let go.”


EVERY SHOT COUNTS: In another example of how every shot can matter in golf, Jeff Overton is headed to the British Open at St. Andrews, and he might have Charlie Wi to thank for that.

Overton and Wi were tied for third place as they played the final hole of the AT&T National. Wi hit through the 18th green, chipped on and missed his par putt to finish alone in fourth.

With third-place points, Overton moved to No. 62 in Monday’s world ranking, which is used for the alternate list at the British Open. He was awarded a spot Monday, with first alternate being Ricky Barnes at No. 64. If Wi had made his par putt on the last hole at Aronimink, Overton would have tied for third and gone to No. 68 – and Barnes would have secured a spot at St. Andrews.


GOING HOME: Former Masters champion Zach Johnson returned to his roots to create a foundation designed to help children in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where the seven-time PGA Tour winner grew up.

The Zach Johnson Foundation, announced on Monday, wants to further develop a program in which children who have a parent in the judicial system are linked with a mentor. To support the foundation, he plans an annual pro-am tournament that will start next year with at least four PGA Tour players at Elmcrest Country Club, where Johnson learned to play.

Johnson said he hopes to raise $250,000 for his foundation during the first year.


DIVOTS: Tiger Woods wrapped up the Mark H. McCormack award for the 13th consecutive year since it was created to honor the player at No. 1 in the world ranking for the most weeks in a calendar year. Phil Mickelson, for his fifth straight tournament, will have a chance to overtake Woods atop the ranking if he were to win or finish second at the Scottish Open. … Robert Allenby led the field with 20 birdies at Aronimink, and still tied for 41st at the AT&T National. He made 14 birdies in the second and third rounds combined – along with 10 bogeys and a double bogey. … The PGA Tour’s scoring system includes a “T1” for Justin Rose in the Tavistock Cup. Seriously.


STAT OF THE WEEK: Five of the top six Europeans on the world points list for the Ryder Cup have won in America this year – Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter and Justin Rose.


FINAL WORD: “I think it’s more of a Cal Ripken thing than a Tiger Woods thing.” – Bob Estes, on making his 400th career cut on the PGA Tour.

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.”

Getty Images

PGA Tour, LPGA react to video review rules changes

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 1:32 pm

The USGA and R&A announced on Monday updates to the Rules of Golf, including no longer accepting call-ins relating to violations. The PGA Tour and LPGA, which were both part of a working group of entities who voted on the changes, issued the following statements:

PGA Tour:

The PGA Tour has worked closely with the USGA and R&A on this issue in recent years, and today's announcement is another positive step to ensure the Rules of Golf align with how the game is presented and viewed globally. The PGA Tour will adopt the new Local Rule beginning January 1, 2018 and evolve our protocols for reviewing video evidence as outlined.

LPGA:

We are encouraged by the willingness of the governing bodies to fully vet the issues and implement real change at a pace much quicker than the sport has seen previously. These new adaptations, coupled with changes announced earlier this year, are true and meaningful advances for the game. The LPGA plans to adopt fully the protocols and new Local Rule as outlined.

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Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open

By Associated PressDecember 11, 2017, 12:43 pm

JOHANNESBURG – Shubhankar Sharma won his first European Tour title by a shooting 3-under 69 Monday in the final round of the weather-delayed Joburg Open.

The 21-year-old Indian resumed his round on the eighth green after play was halted early Sunday afternoon because of storms. He parred that hole, birdied No. 9 and made par on every hole on the back nine.


Full-field scores from the Joburg Open


Sharma finished at 23-under 264, three strokes ahead of the pack, and qualified for next year's British Open, too.

''I actually wasn't going to come here about a week ago ... so I'm really happy that I came,'' said Sharma, who shot 61 in the second round. ''I don't think I'm ever going forget my first time in South Africa.''

Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm