Tom Watson leads as Tiger Woods misses cut

By Associated PressJuly 17, 2009, 4:00 pm
135th Open Championship TURNBERRY, Scotland ' Tom Watson leading the British Open heading to the weekend?
 
Tiger Woods gassing up the plane and heading for home?
 
Treacherous Turnberry delivered a pair of shockers Friday.
 
The 59-year-old Watson rolled in two impossibly long putts, danced a Scottish jig on the 18th green and walked off tied with unheralded American Steve Marino for the 36-hole lead at the British Open, where the course struck back with a fury thanks to a stiff breeze whipping off the Firth of Clyde.
 
Tom Watson
Tom Watson made four birdies and no bogeys over his final 10 holes Friday. (Getty Images)
Woods probably wont be around to see how it all turns out. He took two double bogeys on the back side, limped off with a 4-over 74 and appeared likely to miss the cut in a major for only the second time in his professional career.
 
It was just problem after problem, said Woods, who came into golfs oldest championship as an overwhelming favorite after winning three times since his return from knee surgery. I kept compounding my problems out there.
 
Major title No. 15 will have to wait, it seems.
 
I hit some bad tee shots, a couple of bad iron shots, didnt get it up and down, Woods said. I kept making mistake after mistake.
 
Watson, trying to shatter the record for the oldest major winner, had all his bad shots at the start. The five-time Open champion bogeyed five out of six holes on the front ' four of them in a row ' but he remarkably played the final 10 holes at 4 under.
 
He signed for a 70 that might have been more impressive than his bogey-free 65 in the opening round.
 
I wouldnt be here if I didnt think I could win, Watson said.
 
Woods had missed only one cut in a major since turning pro, and that was at the 2006 U.S. Open shortly after the death of his father, Earl. He tried to rally, making birdies on two of the last three holes, but that was likely to leave him one stroke shy of the cut line.
 
Unfortunately, it just didnt happen, Woods said. No doubt Im frustrated. I was playing well the first seven holes, right there in the championship. I felt like if I was under par for the tournament, I would be in the top 10. I didnt do that. I went the other way.
 
The top 70, plus ties, make it to the final two rounds. When Woods walked off the course, he was tied for 77th at 5-over 145.
 
The British Open doesnt have a 10-shot rule, which would allow anyone within 10 strokes of the lead to make the cut. Woods was 10 behind co-leaders Marino and Watson.
 
Marino shot 68 in treacherous conditions and will go out in the final group Saturday with Watson. Another old-timer, 49-year-old Mark Calcavecchia, will start one stroke back.
 
Its as if the spirits are on my side, said Watson, who rolled in a 75-foot birdie at the 16th and a 45-footer at the final hole. I hope the spirits stay on my side.
 
Since the 06 miss at Winged Foot, Woods had made the cut in 43 consecutive tournaments worldwide. He opened with a disappointing 71 in much easier conditions Thursday, but was still in decent shape when he made the turn.
 
Then, he fell apart.
 
Woods tee shot at No. 10 sailed wildly into the tall grass far right of the fairway ' a familiar problem both days ' and it was clear he was in trouble when he hit a provisional. Even with dozens of fans helping him look, he could only find someone elses lost ball ' who knows how long thats been there? ' took a one-stroke penalty and wound up with a double-bogey 6.
 
He made bogey at the 12th after driving into a fairway bunker, then had another double at 13. He was only 159 yards away in the first cut of rough after his tee shot, then needed five more strokes to get down. A ragged approach missed the green, a sloppy chip failed to stay on, and a missed putt from about 5 feet sent him tumbling into an even deeper hole.
 
I just made mistakes, Woods said. And obviously you cant make mistakes and expect to not only make the cut, but also try and win a championship. You have to play clean rounds of golf, and I didnt. I made my share of mistakes out there today and didnt play a very clean card.
 
Watson began to rally with two birdies around the turn, but he closed with a real flourish. The long putt at No. 16 plopped right in the center of the cup, prompting Watson to pump both fists. The one from the edge of the 18th green dropped, too, and Watson kicked his right leg with glee, hardly looking like a guy who had his left hip replaced last October.
 
He would easily be the oldest major champion in golf history; Julius Boros was 48 when he set the record at the 1968 PGA Championship.
 
But remember, the Open teased us with a similar scenario a year ago ' Greg Norman, then 53, led after 54 holes but faded on the final day.
 
Maybe Calcavecchia will take it down. With his wife on the bag and just one year away from being eligible for the senior tour, he got off to a 67-69 start two decades after his lone major title, right up the road at Troon.
 
Im real happy with the way things have gone, he said. Im getting some good bounces, and Im getting lucky on occasion, which always helps.
 
With props to his father for sending along his passport, Marino looked right at home in his first Open appearance.
 
I didnt have a passport, said Marino, who got in as an alternate. I had to fly my dad down to Florida so he could get my passport and FedEx it to me. I wasnt even expecting to play in this tournament.
 
His father made the dash from his home in Virginia, sent along the passport to his son playing in the John Deere Classic and flew back'all in the same day. When Shingo Katayama withdrew from the Open last weekend because of an injury, Marino received the spot.
 
Though he had never played on a true links course, Marino felt his game was suited to a style of golf that requires imagination and low ball flight.
 
I would consider myself a feel player, he said. I kind of see shots before I hit them. I dont really hit the same shot every time. Over here, you kind of have to be that way a little bit and hit some low shots and some high shots and bounce them in there and use the slopes.
 
For most, this was a day for surviving.
 
First-round leader Miguel Angel Jimenez struggled to a 73. The ponytailed, cigar-smoking Spaniard got off to a grisly start but held it together and joined the pack at 137.
 
Im pleased the way I finished, not very pleased with the way I started, Jimenez said. You need to put it on the fairways, and I started missing the fairways for a little bit.
 
Japans Kenichi Kuboya had the lead for a while, but lost it ' along with his ball ' when an errant tee shot at No. 13 led to double bogey. A 72 kept him in contention among at 137, along with Englands Ross Fisher (68), South Africas Retief Goosen (70) and Fijian Vijay Singh (70).
 
Sergio Garcia was in the hunt at 140. John Daly, who won at St. Andrews in 1995, made it to an Open weekend for the first time in four years with a 140 after shooting 72.
 
It was brutal out there, moaned Daly, who might have said the same about his psychedelic green pants. The course'whether it is calm or blowing'your are always 5 feet or 5 inches from a disaster.
 
Just ask Ben Curtis, the 2003 Open champion. He was challenging for the lead with an opening 65, but soared to an 80 on Friday.
 
I just hit it bad, he said. I got lucky yesterday with the weather. That helped me keep it in play. Today was different.
 
To say the least.
 
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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.”