Notes Mediate Falters After Injuring Back

By Associated PressApril 9, 2006, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Rocco Mediate bent over as his ball hit the flag on No. 9 and bounced backward, rolling off the sloping green and taking his eagle chances with it.
 
An eagle would have gone a long way in his pursuit of the Masters title. But the pain Mediate was feeling Sunday afternoon came from his balky back.
 
After my swing on nine, it went, he said. I almost had to quit, but I couldnt do that.
 
Mediate hasnt played well the last two years because of ongoing back problems. He had to use a one-time exemption to keep his card last year, and a late surge allowed him to narrowly finish inside the top 125 on the PGA Tour money list. He was at the Masters only because of his sixth-place finish at last years U.S. Open.
 
Mediates back had been feeling good at Augusta National. He appeared to tweak it as he finished up the third round Sunday morning, but he got treatment during the break and was in good shape through the first eight holes, making three straight birdies to grab a share of the lead at 4-under.
 
I was tied for the lead at that point and feeling tremendous, Mediate said. I seriously thought I was going to win this golf tournament.
 
Then came that second shot on No. 9.
 
It was the sickest sound, he said. And I knew it was coming back.
 
Mediate pressed on despite the pain, but his game wasnt the same. He made a bogey on the par-4 11th after his second shot sailed far over the green. He dumped two shots into the water at the par-3 12th, and wound up with a 10.
 
He posted a 10-over 46 for the back nine, giving him 80 for the final round. He finished at 6-over 294, putting him near the bottom of the field.
 
NICE FINISH
Now maybe people will know who Tim Clark is.
 
Previously known as the South African who ISNT Ernie Els or Retief Goosen, Clark made a name for himself with his runner-up finish at the Masters on Sunday. His 69 in the final round put him at 5-under 283, two strokes behind winner Phil Mickelson.
 
I think it makes me a little bit more determined to play well, Clark said. Obviously people see my name up there and they either think Im Darren Clarke, or, you know, wonder what Im doing there.
 
Clark has three victories on the European Tour and is a two-time winner on the Nationwide Tour, but hes still looking for his first PGA Tour victory. He has three top-15 finishes this year, including a 10th at the Buick Invitational.
 
But he tends to play his best in the majors. He tied for third at the U.S. Open last year, and was third at the 2003 PGA Championship. His best previous finish at Augusta was a tie for 13th in 2003.
 
Ive had a few good major championships and really do feel like I play my best golf in the majors, Clark said. I dont know what it is. I guess I get a little bit more geared up for them or what have you. I pride myself on being up there on the leaderboard with those guys, and when Im there, Im going to try my best to beat them.
 
He beat the best of the best Sunday. Paired with Tiger Woods, Clark finished one shot ahead of Woods.
 
Hes still the worlds No. 1 player, Clark said. I just happened to have a great day today.
 
CRYSTAL CLEAR
Brandt Jobe is taking home quite the crystal collection.
 
Jobe had his second par-4 eagle of the week Sunday, holing out from 138 yards on No. 7. He also eagled the 10th hole in the second round, making him only the third person with two par-4 eagles in one year.
 
Brett Ogle did it in 1993, and Jack Nicklaus had eagles on the same hole'No. 5 in the first and third rounds'in 1995.
 
How about that? More crystal, Jobe said, referring to the Masters tradition of awarding a pair of crystal goblets to anyone making an eagle. Its fun. I had a rough week, so these are highlights youll remember, which is nice.
 
Jobe needed his first eagle just to make the cut, and he finished 12 strokes behind winner Phil Mickelson. But he had a good round Sunday, starting with the eagle. The seventh green is elevated, so Jobe couldnt see his 9-iron shot find the cup. When he heard fans scream and raise their arms, though, he figured hed done it again.
 
It was only the ninth eagle on the seventh in Masters history. He was only the seventh player to eagle the 10th hole.
 
Ive never gotten any, so I dont know what to do with it. Put it in my study, he said. Its something youll have forever, so its nice.
 
ON SECOND THOUGHT
Stewart Cink takes back everything he said about the newly supersized Augusta National.
 
Cink wasnt thrilled with the changes, which added 155 yards and made the course play at 7,445 yards, second-longest for a major championship. The 2004 PGA Championship was played at the 7,514-yard Whistling Straits.
 
But after getting up close and personal with the new Augusta National, Cink has decided its not so bad.
 
I was really critical of the changes here. But after seeing the course play like it did, especially the first two days when it was fast and dry, I might have been a little premature, Cink said.
 
Cink didnt shoot above a 73 during the Masters, and closed with a 70 Sunday to finish at 2-under 286. That was good for 10th place, his best finish ever at Augusta.
 
I dont think this place is too hard. It just requires a lot of precision, he said. Short hitters still have a chance, but you have to have the short game.
 
DIVOTS
After giving fans a thrill with his great start, Ben Crenshaw thudded to a finish. The two-time champion, who shot a 1-under 71 in the first round, closed with 78-79 and finished dead last. ... Jose Maria Olazabal had the low round of the week, shooting a 6-under 66 Sunday. ... Phil Mickelson has now won six tournaments in the state of Georgia.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - 70th Masters Tournament
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    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.”

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    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.