Notes McIlroys struggles continue Haas at home - COPIED

By Associated PressMay 8, 2011, 5:02 am

Wells Fargo ChampionshipCHARLOTTE, N.C. – Rory McIlroy’s return to the PGA Tour after his final-round Masters meltdown didn’t last long, guaranteeing the Wells Fargo Championship will have a new winner.

The defending champion shot an even-par 72 on Friday at Quail Hollow and missed the even-par cut by three strokes.

“Disappointed that after all that happened last year, not to be here for the weekend. But that’s golf,” said McIlroy, who shot a course-record 62 in the final round a year ago to win by four shots. “I’ll go home and do some hard practice over the next few days and try to get ready for the next event.”

McIlroy, who turned 22 Wednesday, shot an 80 on the last day at Augusta to lose a four-shot lead. He struggled with his ball striking on Thursday, and a day later his putter let him down.

“I gave myself a lot of opportunities,” McIlroy said, “I just wasn’t able to take them.”

There were moments late in the round when it appeared McIlroy might pull off a similar feat as a year ago, when he was two shots over the cut line with three holes to go. An eagle on No. 7 allowed him to make the cut on the number. Then came weekend rounds of 66 and 62.

“I know better than most people that you just have to be around on the weekend and be able to make something happen,” he said. “I was just trying to get in there, trying to get to the weekend.”

McIlroy got within one of the cut line with a birdie on 15 and then lipped out a 40-foot birdie putt on 16. After three-putting the 17th for bogey, he knew he had to make eagle on the final hole.

“I basically needed to hole by second shot on the last to have any chance,” McIlroy said. “I went for the pin and just came up a bit short and in the creek. Obviously, not what I wanted.”


MICKELSON’S PRAISE: While Phil Mickelson created a stir a year ago when he criticized the greens at Quail Hollow, he’s a big fan of the course layout.

He’s also in his familiar spot near the top of the leaderboard.

Mickelson shot a 6-under 66 on Friday to move within three shots of leader Pat Perez.

“I love the way the course is set up,” Mickelson said. “I love the way there’s a first cut. There’s a lot of opportunity for recovery. When you do miss the fairway, even though you’re in trees and you have a tough shot, you still have an opportunity with a decent lie.”

In seven previous appearances, Mickelson has five top-10 finishes. He finished second behind Rory McIlroy last year and is again in contention for his first win in Charlotte.

“It’s going to be a fun weekend,” Mickelson said.


HAAS AT HOME: Bill Haas knows he’s biased about the Wells Fargo Championship, but it hasn’t stopped him from repeating the line all week.

“It’s just probably our best event outside the majors,” Haas said.

Growing up two hours away in Greenville, S.C., Haas played Quail Hollow multiple times with his father, Champions Tour star and club member Jay Haas.

Haas continued to make trips to Charlotte while a student at nearby Wake Forest.

The institutional knowledge seems to be paying off after rounds of 64 and 70 left him two shots off the lead.

“I’ve got a lot of good friends here, a lot of Deacon fans here,” Haas said. “I’m hearing ‘Go Deacs’ out there a lot, which is nice.”

The only thing to make it better for Haas would be to get his third career win Sunday.

“Outside of the majors, this would be my No. 1 tournament to win,” he said. “Just because of the people involved with the tournament. When I walk in the clubhouse, everybody I see I know.”


DIVOTS: Vijay Singh, the 2005 winner, fired a 68 Friday to move within four shots of the lead. “It’s been a while since I struck the ball this good,” said Singh, winless since 2008. “I’m really excited.” … Davis Love III’s 69 left him seven shots back and ended a streak of three straight missed cuts on the tour. “I’m just happy being on the other side of it, looking at the leaderboard rather than driving home,” he said. … Bryan Bigley, a groundskeeper at a nearby club who qualified for the event Monday, shot 78-76 to miss the cut in his PGA Tour debut. … Storms moved through the area late in the morning, causing a delay of nearly 90 minutes, but Bigley and his last group still completed the round before darkness set in shortly before 8:30 p.m.

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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.”