Notes Noh playing fearless in PGA Championship

By Associated PressAugust 14, 2010, 4:16 am

2010 PGA ChampionshipSHEBOYGAN, Wis. – Seung-yul Noh says he’s not very famous back home in Korea. That’s reserved for stars like K.J. Choi and Y.E. Yang.

The 19-year-old Noh is lurking on the leaderboard at 5-under 139 after a 68 in his second round on Friday at the PGA Championship. Noh, who wants to known by his initials S.Y., will likely be somewhere near the top when Saturday’s third round begins, even though he insisted he isn’t looking at the leaderboard yet.

Noh hasn’t quite reached celebrity status in South Korea, but that may change with a strong performance at Whistling Straits.

“I don’t play much on the PGA Tour, so that’s why I’m not very famous back in Korea,” Noh said through an interpreter. “After this, maybe I’ll be famous.”

Maybe that’s not something he’ll want, either. Yang said after he won the PGA Championship last year, he needed six bodyguards for a trip back home and their clothes were in tatters after fans tried to get to Yang to celebrate their star.

This is Noh’s first PGA Championship after winning the Malaysian Open to make him the second youngest winner ever on the European Tour.

Noh started hitting golf balls near his home in Gangwando, South Korea, when he was 7 and had a strong amateur career before turning pro three years ago.

He declined to say he thinks he could win the tournament, but he’s got his style of play down pat. “I play fearless,” he said.


 

NOT SO FULL MONTY: Colin Montgomerie will have to wait until the second round is completed Saturday to find out whether he will finish in last place among 156 players. He shot an 83 on Friday afternoon and was at 18-over 162.

He was primarily entered as Europe’s Ryder Cup captain, and that’s his focus – along with a flurry of reports about his personal life. Montgomerie was asked after he finished his first round 78 if he had prepared and what were his expectations.

“There weren’t. I couldn’t. I’m sorry,” he replied.

It was his fourth consecutive year at the PGA that he failed to break par.

All that boosted his spirits was the play of his potential team – Francesco Molinari a co-leader after the first round, Rory McIlroy playing well in another major.

One player who won’t be in Wales – and this is no surprise – is Sergio Garcia. The Spaniard, who has played every Ryder Cup since 1999, said last week he was taking a two-month break after the PGA Championship unless the Ryder Cup got in the way.

Asked if he could see Garcia on the team, Montgomerie replied, “At this stage, it is not looking likely, no.”


 

CLARKE’S RESTART: Darren Clarke was 3-under par, one shot out of the lead, when he left Whistling Straits on Thursday night with five holes left in his first round. He wound up at 2-over 74 and had no idea what went wrong.

Clarke had a 30-foot par putt for his first shot Friday, and knew bogey was likely.

Then came a missed tee shot on the 15th (bogey), a poor chip on the 16th (bogey) and a bad break in the bunkers on the par-3 17th, which led to a double bogey.

Clarke pulled his tee shot to the left and down the slope into a bunker. Someone had walked through it, and his ball wound up in a deep heel print.

“It was one of those that was supposed to be raked and someone had walked through it,” he said. “Just one of those mistakes. There are so many out here, they are going to miss one now and again. Just unfortunate I was the guy in it.”

He was lucky to move it a a few feet, chipped on and made double bogey.

“I was hoping for better, but that’s the way it is,” Clarke said. “I’d love to find an excuse, but I can’t.”

What about the heel print?

“A good shot doesn’t go down there,” he said. “A good shot goes on the green.”


DALY DONE: John Daly notified organizers late Friday that he would not be back Saturday after finishing the par-3 seventh hole because of a shoulder injury. He was 5 over in his second round to that point after shooting a 76 in his opening round Thursday.

Daly was in a group with Padraig Harrington and Davis Love III.

The 44-year-old Daly won the 1991 PGA Championship, earning a lifetime exemption to the event. He’s been cut or has withdrawn in 13 of the 17 appearances since his victory, never finishing higher than tied for 32nd place.


 

SLICK SLIDE: Keith Ohr needed a savvy slide to get out of a slick situation on the 11th hole in his second round Friday.

Ohr’s tee shot came to rest on the last foot of the left edge of the fairway at Whistling Straits and as he took a stance atop some railroad ties that wall a bunker about 10 feet below, he lost his balance. Ohr skillfully got both feet flat on the side of the ties, like a skier going backward, and landed on both feet.

He wasn’t hurt. He walked back up to the fairway, made sure he kept his balance on his second shot and continued on his way.


 

FAIR EXCHANGE: Phil Mickelson, aiming for the world’s No. 1 ranking, gained a fan despite his errant ways. Mickelson struck a fan on the 15th hole on Friday, immediately making amends.

He signed a glove writing “sorry” in capital letters and put a sad, frowning face inside the “O.” The man he hit had a big smile, and didn’t appear seriously injured.


 

DIVOTS: The fog has delayed the first two days of play a total of 5 hours, 56 minutes. … The first round ended at 1:02 p.m., more than 30 hours after it was scheduled to begin. … The scoring average in the first round was nearly a quarter of a stroke higher than the first round of the 2004 PGA Championship on the same course.

Getty Images

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.”