Notes Stricker Stalls Some Major Moments

By Associated PressJuly 22, 2007, 4:00 pm
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland -- Steve Stricker is known as one of the better putters on the PGA TOUR.
 
Playing in the final group of a major for the first time, his favorite club let him down. Big time.
 
Three shots off the lead and paired with front-running Sergio Garcia, Stricker never mounted a serious challenge at the British Open on Sunday. The American might have if not for three short misses on the front side -- a 2-footer for birdie at No. 3, a 4-footer for birdie at No. 6, and a 5-footer to save par at the ninth.
 
'I hit it fine, but I didn't get it in the hole,' Stricker said. 'I was a little hesitant with the putting and it showed. I would've liked to have see what would've happened if I'd made a couple of birdie putts early on.'
 
He didn't, making the turn with a 1-over 37 and settling for a 3-over 74 -- 10 strokes worse than his 64 in the third round, the lowest score ever for an Open played at Carnoustie.
 
Stricker wound up with a 3-under 281, four shots back in a tie for eighth. Garcia lost to Padraig Harrington in a playoff.
 
'It was a great experience,' Stricker said. 'You can't pay for an experience like that, playing in the last group of a major.'
 
But, he added, 'Overall, it's disappointing.'
 
MAJOR MOMENTS
Hunter Mahan had only played in five majors going into this season. Now he can count on playing all four of them next year for the first time in his career.
 
Mahan made the cut on the number, then had the best weekend at Carnoustie. He shots rounds of 69-65 to move into a tie for sixth, and the top 15 are automatically exempt for next year's Open.
 
Mahan qualified for the Masters by winning the Travelers Championship in Hartford last month, a victory that also gets him into the PGA Championship. A month ago, he tied for 15th in the U.S. Open to ensure a trip to Torrey Pines next year.
 
'I felt I could play here,' Mahan said. 'I kept plodding along and found my swing. It's been neat this week. There's been an electric atmosphere.'
 
Now he'll get to experience all four majors in 2008.
 
Mahan wasn't the only one who claimed somewhat of a consolation prize.
 
Richard Green matched the course record for a British Open with a 64, and by tying for fourth, he'll get into the Masters. Andres Romero also can count on his first trip to Augusta National after finishing third.
 
Others who will be invited to Royal Birkdale next year by virtue of a top 15 in the British Open include Paul Broadhurst and Pelle Edberg.
 
KEEP YOUR DAY JOB
Ben Curtis plays golf for a living, and he plays it well overseas. He won the 2003 British Open with a strong final round, and used a big finish Sunday to tie for eighth, four shots back.
 
His second job is selling the National Football League to fans who might not be that familiar with American football.
 
Curtis, who has a deal with the NFL, wore the colors of the Miami Dolphins in the final round, and also wore the colors of the New York Giants during the week.
 
It wasn't coincidence, since the two teams play a regular season football game this year in London.
 
The light colors of the Dolphins weren't a great match for a gray rainy day with mud lurking everywhere.
 
'Unfortunately today, I wore the Dolphins and it had to be the worst day,' Curtis said. 'It was just quite funny.'
 
It wasn't a bad day for Curtis, though, who shot a 65 for only his second top 10 of the year. He was happy with both that and the fact he played well again in a championship he has won.
 
'I think the last three years have been a little disappointing for me here,' he said. 'This year I just -- the main goal was to make the cut, and then after that you obviously want to play well to try to get in contention.'
 
DROUGHT BREAKER
Before Padraig Harrington and Sergio Garcia settled the British Open with a playoff, Miguel Angel Jimenez knew that one winner already had been decided.
 
Europe.
 
The continent broke its eight-year drought in the major championships Sunday, when an Irishman (Harrington) defeated a Spaniard (Garcia) in the four-hole playoff.
 
'Jimenez came to me on the first hole of the playoff and said, 'We've got a European winner,'' said Harrington, who became Europe's first major winner since Scotland's Paul Lawrie won the '99 Open, also at Carnoustie.
 
'I hope it has a very positive impact,' the winner added.
 
Europe has dominated the U.S. in the most important team competition, Ryder Cup, but Americans held the upper hand in the major championships.
 
Before the Open, Nick Faldo suggested that European players were too chummy with each other on their own tour and lacked the killer instinct to close out big events.
 
With the claret jug beside him, Harrington scoffed at that suggestion.
 
'I am a very competitive person inside,' he said. 'But I'm always a believer that ... you can be a nice guy and win. It's a nice thing to aspire to.'
 
EASY BEING GREEN
Richard Green splashed some early color across the final-round leaderboard with six birdies and an eagle en route to a 64 that tied the best British Open score ever at Carnoustie.
 
He could have tied the tournament record with a par at the 18th hole, but made his only bogey of the day.
 
'I was as focused as I ever was in a golf tournament,' he said afterward. 'In situations where I've won before, it was equal to today.'
 
The round propelled the Australian to a fourth-place finish and ensured a return trip to next year's tournament. But Green, who matched Steve Stricker's 64 from a day earlier, thinks he might have gone even lower if he hadn't played in the morning's steady rain.
 
'I don't normally play that well in waterproofs, wet gear,' he said. 'It's obviously a demanding enough game as it is, let alone restricting yourself.'
 
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  • 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.”

    Getty Images

    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.

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    Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open

    By Associated PressDecember 11, 2017, 12:43 pm

    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.


    Full-field scores from the Joburg Open


    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).

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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm