Ochoa Turns it Around Bastel Leads - COPIED

By Associated PressJune 26, 2008, 4:00 pm
McDonalds LPGAHAVRE DE GRACE, Md. -- Lorena Ochoa had sufficiently recovered from a double bogey and was slowly making her way up the leaderboard Thursday in the McDonalds LPGA Championship when she stopped to ask a question on her way to the next tee.
 
What did Annika shoot today? she asked.
 
Told that Sorenstam had a 2-under 70 in the morning, Ochoa nodded her head.
 
Then she made sure she was one better.
 
Ochoa didnt finish in the lead, but she was close enough to be satisfied with her start. Four birdies on her flawless back nine at Bulle Rock gave her a 3-under 69, leaving Ochoa three shots behind Lorie Kane of Canada and Emily Bastel as she tries to become only the fourth woman to win three straight majors.
 
Today was important just not to get away too far from the leaders, and thats why Im so happy that I did, Ochoa said. Three under for the first day of a major is good, even though I had the double bogey. And hopefully, tomorrow Ill have a great round.
 
Neither of the leaders have had a top 10 all year, and Kane has struggled to make cuts. But they found their way across a long and soggy golf course, with took on so much rain overnight that fairways felt like carpet in a home that had been flooded.
 
Am I surprised by a low round? I knew it was in me, and I know I have a lot more of those, Kane said. I know its a long way to Sunday, but I am encouraged by whats been happening the last few weeks.
 
Bastel finished her bogey-free 66 with a hybrid into 12 feet for birdie on the 18th hole, one of two holes where the tees were moved up some 30 yards to accommodate the wet conditions.
 
She won the Futures Tour money title a year ago, and is slowly making progress.
 
Its exciting to have this happen, said Bastel, playing in only her sixth major. Early in the week, just try to enjoy it and keep it going.
 
Lindsey Wright had a 67 and was one shot behind, followed by a group at 68 that included Nicole Castrale.
 
Ochoa seems to always know the score, and she didnt stop with her question about Sorenstam.
 
She gazed at an electronic board behind the seventh green, her 16th of the day, to size up the competition and make sure they were not getting too far away. A year ago, Ochoa plodded along around par until she was too far back to make a move.
 
Perhaps she inquired about Sorenstam because she never saw the Swedes name on the board. Sorenstam certainly had her chances, but couldnt convert several birdie putts inside 12 feet.
 
Hit the ball beautifully today, said Sorenstam, a three-time LPGA champion in her final year on tour. Just didnt make some putts today, unfortunately. But Im very, very happy with my game.
 
Ochoa went wire-to-wire to win at St. Andrews to win her first major at the Womens British Open, and she was atop the leaderboard the final three rounds of the Kraft Nabisco for her second in a row.
 
But she was on the ropes early at Bulle Rock.
 
Ochoa hooked her tee shot into waist-high native grasses on the 13th, so deep in the rough that even taking two club lengths for an unplayable lie did not give her a shot. After conferring with a rules official, she walked some 50 yards back in a line with the green, dropping in the rough near the 11th fairway. She wound up with a double bogey, 2 over after four holes.
 
It happened early in the round, and I knew I had a lot of holes left, Ochoa said. I was feeling good. I didnt get too stressed. I just thought, Make a couple of birdies on the front and finish even, and then 3 under on the back. So I did that.
 
She got back to even par with a 40-foot birdie on the 18th, then birdied the third and fourth holes from 12 feet.
 
By then, Ochoa was in a rhythm of fairways and greens, picking up her last birdie on the par-5 eighth with a 5-wood into 20 feet and an eagle putt that hung on the lip.
 
Bastel handled the length of the course just fine, picking up two birdies with metal clubs'the hybrid on the 18th and a 7-wood to 12 feet on the 13th hole'and the only downer was coping with a nasty cold.
 
Kane, a popular Canadian with a big smile, has gone seven years since her last victory and was starting to wonder what was wrong. A month ago at the Michelob Ultra Open, she wasnt aware that sports psychologist Bob Rotella was watching her along the back nine. He told her she was doing fine, and when the putts started falling, they would fall in bunches.
 
She made four from the 10-foot range, chipped in for birdie on the 13th and picking up much-needed confidence along the way.
 
This is a major week for Kane for two reasons'after the LPGA Championship, she will try to qualify for the U.S. Womens Open. Kanes caddie asked her if she wanted to take a free pass from the pro-am and practice on the qualifying courses.
 
She declined.
 
Im here to win the McDonalds, and Im preparing for that, she said. Im going to worry about Monday when Monday comes.
 
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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 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.”