Notes Tiger Sergio Ready for One Another

By Associated PressSeptember 20, 2006, 4:00 pm
36th Ryder Cup MatchesSTRAFFAN, Ireland -- Tiger Woods didn't say much, but the look in his eye and his short answer showed he was aware of Sergio Garcia's comments in Switzerland, and more than willing to play him.
 
Woods is 7-11-2 in the Ryder Cup, a performance Garcia duly noted three weeks ago during the European Masters.
 
'Fortunately for us, he doesn't have a great Ryder Cup record,' Garcia was quoted as saying. 'So I'm looking forward to hopefully going out there and meeting him two or three times.'
 
Garcia has played with Woods three times in the final group. Woods won all three, including the British Open at Royal Liverpool this summer.
 
'As far as the Sergio comments, hopefully we can get together out there and play,' Woods said.
 
Garcia denied making the comments but did not back down.
 
'I definitely don't mind playing him,' he said. 'I've played him before in the Ryder Cup, and I've been fortunate enough to do pretty well against him. I guess I've had some nice partners.'
 
Garcia is 2-1 against Woods at the Ryder Cup. He and Jesper Parnevik beat Woods and Tom Lehman in foursomes in 1999; Garcia and Lee Westwood beat Woods and Mark Calcavecchia in foursomes in 2002; and Woods and Davis Love III beat Garcia and Westwood in fourballs that same year.
 
WIND AND RAIN
The Irish must have wondered what all the fuss was about.
 
True, the wind was howling and the rain went horizontal as a storm moved into the area. That's not unusual in these parts. But it was enough for Ryder Cup officials to shut down The K Club for three hours Wednesday, giving them time to inspect the damage.
 
The course reopened at 9:45 a.m., after forcing fans to wait in parking lots that were miles away.
 
'We were worried about all of the structures and what we call 'loose impediments' that were around the site until we could conduct a full review in daylight,' Ryder Cup tournament director Richard Hills said.
 
Gusts were about 40 mph, and Hills said anything beyond that could have created dangerous situations for spectators. He was more worried about tables, chairs and umbrellas taking flight than any problems with grandstands or three-story corporate chalets.
 
The storm was from remnants of Hurricane Gordon, which steadily has weakened as it crossed the Atlantic. Ireland's state forecasting system says the weather will remain wet or storm on Thursday, with more rain Friday.
 
What will that do to the practice rounds?
 
'These are top professionals of Europe and America. They have played here before,' European Tour chief George O'Grady said. 'I don't think our forecast is so bad that we won't be able to play tomorrow, but we'll do everything we can to start on time Friday.'
 
The weather raised a couple of issues, however.
 
The opening ceremony is Thursday near the practice range, and that might have to be moved indoors. Officials also acknowledged a Monday finish is possible. Rules officials also are debating whether to play preferred lies, meaning players can clean mud off their golf balls and replace them in the fairway.
 
Captains Tom Lehman and Ian Woosnam will have to agree on that.
 
'We will resist the temptation of playing preferred lies as far as we possibly can,' O'Grady said. 'But if both captains wish to do it. ... I don't think it would demean the tournament.'
 
EUROPE PREPARED
Paul McGinley of Ireland said he believes bad weather will favor the home team if it continues through the weekend.
 
'The Americans, I know they were cringing when the plane landed in Dublin airport and it was blowing an absolute gale and lashing rain,' McGinley said.
 
The U.S. team is usually known for its sense of fashion, if not its good play in recent Ryder Cups. But Woosnam might have done the Americans one better with his attention to detail on rain suits.
 
'I spent six months working on the rain suits, because I know what the weather can be like here,' Woosnam said. 'I've tried to get the very best out of the waterproofs.'
 
PAIRINGS GAME
Woosnam's main duty this week is pairing players with different games, personalities and even languages, while somehow making it work.
 
He can draw on his own Ryder Cup playing days for some help.
 
Woosnam remembers being paired in 1993 with Bernhard Langer of Germany, who has a reputation for calculating everything down to the smallest detail.
 
Before the alternate shot match, Langer told Woosnam he could leave him 101 or 80 meters for any approach shot. During one match, he asked Woosie how long of a shot to leave into the green.
 
'Just hit it down there, it doesn't bother me. I'll just get on with it,' Woosnam said.
 
The pairing might have been apples and oranges, but it worked. Woosnam and Langer won, 7 and 5, in the opening match over Payne Stewart and Paul Azinger. Oddly enough, it was the only time the two were paired in foursomes.
 
GO FIGURE
Woosnam isn't totally up to speed on how this course might play into his hands.
 
A reporter asked him Wednesday about how The K Club works nicely if he chooses to pair a big hitter with a short hitter in foursomes. The par 5s are all even-numbered holes (Nos. 4, 10, 16 and 18), allowing the long hitter to hit the tee shot. The par 3s are even-numbered holes except for No. 3.
 
'I haven't thought of that,' Woosnam said as the room broke up in laughter. 'I think that's something we'll discuss; we're going to have a team meeting tonight and we're going to have a look at that. That's a good point, who is going to be comfortable hitting more often off the par 3s than the others.'
 
HIGH SCHOOL REUNION
It's been quite a year for Brett Wetterich, the only player to go from Q-school to the Ryder Cup in one year. Along the way, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame at Oak Hills High School in Cincinnati.
 
That might have been the biggest surprise of all.
 
'I don't think my high school really liked me too much, and it was kind of weird when they called me and said they were going to induct me into their Hall of Fame,' he said.
 
And why didn't he get along with the school?
 
'I don't know if I should go into that one,' Wetterich said. 'I spent a lot of time in the principal's office, I should say.'
 
Other athletes who went to Oak Hills include Mark and Kim Rodenbaugh, who were part of the U.S. Olympic swimming team in 1984; former Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Bill Wegman; and Pete Rose Jr.
 
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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.