Notes For Singh Houston Might Be Launching Pad
He missed a cut on the West Coast. He was dismissed early from the Match Play Championship. He was never a serious threat at the Masters, except for whatever went on in the Champions Locker Room during his spat with Phil Mickelson over spike marks.
His dry spell might be cause for alarm, but only if taking a snapshot of his 2005 season.
The big picture shows Singh in the same position he was a year ago when he arrived at the Houston Open.
His only victory was at Pebble Beach. He missed the cut at the Buick Invitational, didn't last long at La Costa and didn't offer anyone much of a clue that he was on the verge of a special year.
Then he won Houston by two shots over Scott Hoch, shot 29 on the back nine the next week in New Orleans for a comeback victory and wound up winning nine times and nearly $11 million when the season was over.
PIGSKINS AND THE PGA
Except for one week in October, the PGA Tour won't have to worry about the NFL getting in the way of its fall tournaments.
Still, that tournament is a big one.
The American Express Championship will be played Oct. 6-9 at Harding Park in San Francisco, finishing the same day the San Francisco 49ers host to the Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning.
Otherwise, the tour has no conflicts with the NFL.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are on the road during the 84 Lumber Classic. And the Sunday of the Presidents Cup in northern Virginia, the Washington Redskins and Baltimore Ravens have a bye.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a bye during the Funai Classic at Disney, and the Bucs are on the road the next week during the Chrysler Championship at Tampa. During the one fall tournament in North Carolina, the Carolina Panthers are at home on Monday night -- the day after the Chrysler Classic of Greensboro.
The season-ending Tour Championship is again at East Lake in Atlanta. The Falcons play at Miami that week.
The World Golf Hall of Fame is constantly looking at ways to tweak its induction ceremony. One suggestion was to have LPGA Tour players inducted at age 40, the same age when PGA Tour players are eligible for the ballot.
``That has come up in conversation,'' LPGA commissioner Ty Votaw said recently. ``It came up in our committee meetings, as to whether we would look at that. But I don't think we'll look at it very long. We think our 10-year requirement is reasonable.''
The LPGA requirement for the Hall of Fame is 27 points -- one point for a victory, two for a major, and points for winning the Vare Trophy for player of the year -- and playing 10 years on tour.
Annika Sorenstam was inducted into the Hall of Fame when she was 33. Karrie Webb will be 30 when she is inducted this fall after completing her 10th year. Votaw said their induction, along with Se Ri Pak at age 30 in 2007, is a reflection of three great players who came along at about the same time.
Some found it strange that Vijay Singh was voted the 2004 player of the year on the European tour, even though he played only four times in Europe.
Singh is a European tour member, so that made him eligible.
The same ostensibly holds true for Padraig Harrington. The Irishman was named European tour player of the month for March ``following his superb victory in the Honda Classic.''
Harrington only played three times in March -- all of those tournaments in Florida.
He was selected over a ``strong list of contenders,'' one of those being Ernie Els, who won back-to-back weeks on the European tour in Dubai and Qatar.
DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN
Darren Clarke had a six-shot lead after 36 holes of the MCI Heritage, then closed with rounds of 73-76 and lost to Peter Lonard of Australia.
He became the first player to blow a six-shot lead at the halfway point of a PGA Tour event since Nick Price in the 1984 Canadian Open.
Price also closed with rounds of 73-76 and wound up losing to an Australian -- Greg Norman.
The Magnolia Course at Disney is the latest PGA Tour course to get lengthened.
During a makeover this summer, Disney plans to lengthen 10 holes on the Mag by a total of 300 yards, making the course play about 7,500 yards from the championship tees. Three changes will come on the par 3s, and four of the par 4s will be at least 480 yards.
``When Joe Lee designed our finishing hole, his intention was for players to use a 4- or 5-iron for their approach,'' Disney head pro Kevin Weickel said. ``Now we have some players using a wedge. By adding 30 yards to the length of No. 18, we won't return it to Joe's original intent, but we will make it more interesting and challenging for the players.''
Disney also will be resurfacing the greens on the Magnolia, having done that to the Palm Course last year.
Tiger Woods now has three homes to go along with his boat. The Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet reports that Woods and wife Elin Nordegren have bought a two-bedroom apartment worth $1.8 million in central Stockholm, where his wife's family lives. Nordegren's mother, Barbro Holmberg, is Sweden's migration minister. ... Davis Love III went over $30 million in career money with his tie for second in the MCI Heritage. The others to surpass $30 million are Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh and Phil Mickelson. ... The Wachovia Championship has spared no expense in running a first-class tournament, and that extends to the trophy. The tournament commissioned Waterford Crystal in Ireland to create a trophy that is 20 inches tall and weighs 23 pounds. ... Chick-fil-A will no longer be the title sponsor of the LPGA Tour event after this year. Tournament officials say the tournament will continue with a multiyear commitment from Metro South Golf Charities.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Fourteen of the 16 events on the PGA Tour this year have been won by players who competed in the 2003 Presidents Cup.
``I think the American teams have a tendency to get uptight.'' -- Jack Nicklaus, U.S. captain for the Presidents Cup. The U.S. men have not won a cup competition since 2000.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Lexi 'applaud's USGA, R&A for rules change
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.”
PGA Tour, LPGA react to video review rules changes
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:
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.
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.
Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open
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.
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).
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates:
No. 5: Dec. 12
No. 4: Dec. 13
No. 3: Dec. 14
No. 2: Dec. 15
No. 1: Dec. 18