Notes Not Easy for Big Wiesy Ochoa Sinks at 18

By Associated PressJune 26, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 U.S. WomenCHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. -- Michelle Wie tugged on her cap and said ``Oh, my God!'' after missing a 2-foot birdie putt on the seventh hole. After a similar miss for par at No. 8, she covered her mouth in disbelief.
It was that kind of day for the 15-year-old from Hawaii.
Michelle Wie
Tied for the lead heading into Sunday, Michelle Wie in the end could only offer congratulations to winner Birdie Kim.
A co-leader with Morgan Pressel and Karen Stupples after three rounds, Wie spent most of the final round chopping out of the rough and missing short putts for an 11-over 82 -- her worst score in 12 rounds at the U.S. Open.
``Difficult would be too easy a word,'' said Wie, who finished tied for 23rd.
Wie hit into the thick rough three times to open with a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 first, then had three more bogeys and another double on the ninth for a 7-over 42 on the front nine. She wasn't much better on the back, with three more bogeys and a double on the par-4 13th.
``One of the things I definitely have to do is get a GPS for my ball because it was lost out there today,'' she said. ``I mean, put a magnet in the ball or something because that thing was not going toward the hole.''
As she stepped up to the 18th tee, Lorena Ochoa had every reason to think she had a shot at winning the U.S. Women's Open.
For good reason. At 3 over, she was just a shot off the lead and most of the players behind her were backing up instead of making a charge.
Then, splash! Ochoa's chances were gone.
Snap-hooking her drive into the pond down the left side of Cherry Hills' finishing hole, Ochoa ended up with a quadruple-bogey 8 to finish 7 over for the tournament -- four shots behind winner Birdie Kim.
``It's hard to realize right now,'' Ochoa said. ``It's hard to live with right now, giving away the tournament after playing so hard for 71 holes, and then the last one. I feel bad it happened, but that's the way golf is.''
Ochoa, coming off a victory last week in Rochester, was one of the few players to mount much of a charge on the final day, climbing the leaderboard with birdies on Nos. 10, 11, 13 and 16. She reached the final tee just a shot behind Kim and had a realistic chance at winning the Open if she could get into the clubhouse with a par.
She didn't come close -- to a par or the fairway.
Ochoa took a big chunk out of the tee box with her first tee shot and the ball landed with a splash 20 yards off-line. Her next one off the tee -- her third shot overall -- fell in the deep rough right of the fairway and she had to punch out to the short grass. Her fifth shot bounced hard and went into the grandstand behind the green. After a drop, Ochoa chipped onto the green and two-putted for a tournament-wrecking 8.
``It's very difficult,'' she said. ``Just trying to win the U.S. Open is the best thing for a golfer and I just gave the tournament away.''
Lorie Kane and Natalie Gulbis are $140,026 richer because Morgan Pressel and Brittany Lang are amateurs.
Kane and Gulbis would have made $132,697 each for tying for fourth, but they got the money that would have gone to Pressel and Lang, who tied for second, because amateurs can't accept prize money.
Among the fans Sunday was former British Open champion David Duval, who lives about 200 yards away from the 17th tee at Cherry Hills.
Duval stayed for about an hour with his wife, Susie, and their 2-month-old son, Brayden.
``It's hard to watch a tournament from behind the ropes,'' he said.
The last time he went to a golf tournament as a spectator?
``Probably when I was about 16 at Sawgrass,'' he said of The Players Championship. Duval grew up in Jacksonville, Fla.
He next plans to play at the John Deere Classic in two weeks, where Wie has received a sponsor's exemption.
Birdie Kim won the U.S. Open with a birdie at Cherry Hills' finishing hole. She was one of the few who had any luck at the brutish par 4.
Playing 459 yards long and uphill to a green designed as a par-5 for members, the 18th was easily the hardest hole for the week. The longest hole in Women's U.S. Open history played to an average of 0.667 strokes over par and yielded just four birdies in four days. There were 45 scores of double bogey or worse and just 19 percent of the players hit the green in regulation.
Natalie Gulbis is known mostly for her swimsuit calendar and her new reality TV show.
This week at Cherry Hills, she showed that her golf isn't bad, either.
Gulbis opened the tournament with a 1-under 70 and closed with a 71 in a difficult final round, getting two birdies in the back nine to finish tied for fourth with Lorie Kane at 6 over.
``I hit some good some shots, hit some bad shots,'' Gulbis said. ``I mean, going into it my goal was to be even par for this championships, but it was a grind out there.''
Denver Broncos receiver Rod Smith was in the gallery ... Expect to see Rosie Jones at next year's Women's U.S. Open. The 45-year-old plans to retire at the end of the year, but said she would be back at Newport Country Club in Rhode Island next year if she finished in the top-20 and was exempt. Jones shot a final-round 75 to get to 10 over -- tied with three players for 19th. ... A crowd of 31,037 attended the final round, setting a U.S. Women's Open record. The weekly attendance of 131,137 also was a record, surpassing the 118,684 last year at Orchards Golf Club in Massachusetts.
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - U.S. Women's Open
  • Full Coverage - U.S. Women's Open
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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 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.


    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.”