A Tale of Two Leaders at Memorial

By Associated PressMay 30, 2008, 4:00 pm
2007 The Memorial TournamentDUBLIN, Ohio -- The first sign of hope at the Memorial came from the scoreboard, which showed Mathew Goggin coming back to the pack after a blazing start. The second sign came from a gray sky that promised relief from a brutal test of golf.
 
Goggin birdied four of the first five holes before strapping in for a wild ride of birdies and bogeys that ultimately added up to an even-par 72 that tied him for the lead with two-time champion Kenny Perry, who recovered from a rugged start for a 71.
 
They were at 7-under 137, one shot clear of Jerry Kelly.
 
All those scores seemed so much lower on a Muirfield Village course that felt like a major with its ankle-deep rough that swallowed up errant shots and greens as slick as glass.
 
Only three players broke 70 on Friday, with Johnson Wagner turning in a remarkable 67. Twenty players couldnt break 80.
 
The U.S. Open starts in two weeks in San Diego, but Joe Ogilvie came up with an environmentally friendly plan. He suggested the second major be contested at Muirfield, so players wouldnt have to travel as far in their private jets.
 
Youd save millions of pounds of carbon dioxide in the air, and golf would be a green sport again, Ogilvie said after a 75. All they have to do is change out the pins, replace the rakes and take away press parking.
 
Goggin is the 36-hole leader for the first time on the PGA TOUR, and part of him wishes he had it alone. He was bogey-free through seven holes, but then made only two pars the rest of the way. Three straight bogeys preceded a birdie, and he followed that with a double bogey into the water at No. 12, then two more birdies.
 
I had seven birdies today, so that was the same, Goggin said, alluding to his 65 in the opening round. The five bogeys and a double, well, that was probably a negative.
 
Perry knows all about the latter. He faced the brunt of the wind, and it showed when he bogeyed three of his first five holes, slipping down the leaderboard with so many others. But on the par-5 15th, he hooked a 3-wood into the gallery'a good place to miss because the pin was to the right'then watched his chip from the hill tumble into the cup on its last turn for eagle.
 
Hit the shot of my life to keep the ship from sinking, he said.
 
A birdie on the par-3 eighth allowed him to salvage a 71 and a share of the lead. But the 47-year-old Perry sure didnt look like he had just played a round of golf on a beautiful course.
 
Im tired, he said. Im mentally tired right now. That was a very stressful round to try to hang in there and keep it together. I hope that Saturday and Sunday, the weather will cooperate a little bit and not be as dicey out there.
 
Help might be on the way, with rain in the forecast. Tee times were pushed back for the third round because course officials expect to need extra time in the morning to get the course ready.
 
Phil Mickelson chopped his way to a 75 and was 10 shots behind. He was 35 feet behind the hole in two on the par-5 11th and rarely felt so hopeless with a wedge in his hand, given how badly his ball was buried. He hacked through the grass and watched his ball roll through the green into more rough, making him work for a par.
 
Someone asked him if he had a chance to win.
 
Did you see I was 10 back? he replied. I dont know if you saw that. I need some rough weather so the scores dont go too low, and theyve got to play a great round.
 
Ernie Els waffled on his decision to come to Ohio, flying over at the last minute and leaving just as quickly. He shot a 43 on the front nine, made eight pars and a birdie on the back and shot 78 to miss the cut by one shot.
 
The cut was 6-over 150, the highest at the Memorial since 1989, the year 40 mph gusts were accompanied by temperatures in the 50s. It was pleasantly warm Friday, and the gusts were only about 20 mph, but that was more than enough to punish anyone slightly off his game.
 
Sergio Garcia, coming off his victory in THE PLAYERS Championship, was going along nicely until he chunked a shot out of the rough and into the water on the 14th, missed a 4-foot putt and took double bogey. That was the start of him playing the final five holes in 5 over for a 77, leaving him a dozen shots behind.
 
Goggin took only nine putts on his final nine holes Thursday, and he kept right on going. He chipped in for birdie on the first hole, then holed a 35-footer on the second and a mere 10-footer on the third. That good start allowed him to keep some perspective when it got ugly.
 
Having seven birdies and you shoot even par, youre probably disappointed, he said. But the way the round went through the middle and coming back and then dropping back, its still pretty satisfying. And youre still around the lead. So thats all you can ask for.
 
Luke Donald had a 71 in the afternoon and was at 5-under 139, while former U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy had a 69 in the morning and was in the group at 140.
 
There was plenty of muttering about the thick rough, which might be as deep as it gets all year, and the slick greens, which might be as fast as players see all year. But those atop the leaderboard figured out a way to score.
 
It tests your short game, tests your mental game, Justin Rose said after a 73 left him four behind. Thats what golfs all about.
 
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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.