Tryon eager to make comeback starting at US Open

By Associated PressJune 16, 2010, 3:34 am

2010 U.S. OpenPEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Ty Tryon chipped high over the green, sent several hard shots well past the pin and left a few short.

He was all over the place on No. 14 during a practice round Tuesday at Pebble Beach Golf Links, considered among the toughest holes at this U.S. Open.

“That’s a crazy one,” Tryon said several hours later, once done for the day. “I was fairly perplexed there for a minute. Hopefully, I’m not back behind the green there.”

That image, of balls spraying every which way, provided a fitting picture of Tryon’s up-and-down golf career.

The former teen phenom who turned pro at 16, flopped and lost his PGA Tour card is ready to soak in the experience of his first major, finally at age 26 and after quite a road – including a cross country drive to the Northern California coast after qualifying – to get here.

This is the start of what Tryon hopes is a successful comeback.

“I believe this is a good chance,” he said. “A lot of things can fall into place if you play well here.”

He is good-naturedly accepting the added attention this week, knowing his return to golf’s big stage provides a feel-good story for the tournament. Still, he knows he needs to bring his best game to compete here.

“That’s all I can do,” Tryon said. “I’m embracing whatever’s coming my way. I realize it’s an interesting story, but when it’s time to play golf I have to play the best I can play. I don’t have to worry about it being any bigger. It can’t be any bigger than the U.S. Open, and this is the biggest tournament I’ve played.”

Tryon spent a little extra time trying to figure out the tricky par-5, 580-yard 14th – Pebble’s longest hole.

“That’s real tough, toughest hole on the course,” his caddie, local Pebble looper Bob “Rocket” Lytle, said. “A lot of extra practice there.”

Tryon’s tee shot on the 15th landed in the first cut of the rough just off the fairway and some 30 yards short of the lies by playing partners Marc Leishman and Dan McCarthy.

After his trouble on 14, Tryon settled down and finished strong the rest of his round. He only played nine holes because his partners decided to stop at that point on a day when play was slow and the conditions were chilly and challenging.

So, Tryon instead headed for the driving range for a long hitting session and then to get himself a backup set of wedges and a new 3-wood.

Little fazes Tryon these days. He’s seen it all in this game.

“I’m glad to be in a good frame of mind,” Tryon said. “Yesterday, if I’d hit those bad shots, I would have been frustrated. Bad things are going to happen. You’ve just got to deal with them. There have been a couple of quintuple-bogeys on the PGA Tour this year. I hope I get through (14) unscathed.

“I had a really good practice. A couple spots out there are really difficult. It’s the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, a couple spots are impossible. I haven’t played an event in six years that has that much green sloping difficulty.”

Tryon has come a long way since those early days as a teen prodigy with a hefty Callaway endorsement deal, when he earned his card at Q-school while still in high school. He’s married to wife Hanna and they have a 3-year-old son, Tyson.

No sponsorships now, though he still plays with the Callaway equipment he prefers.

During the Open practice rounds, Hanna is right there alongside her husband near the tee box or green to watch every shot, then walks with him down the fairway to retrieve his ball.

They sported nearly identical black windbreaker sweat suits on a cool, breezy morning by the ocean Tuesday. Tryon’s spiky brown hair stood up through his black visor, and dark shades covered his eyes for much of his round even with the gray skies.

The couple’s son passed the time at the Pebble Beach daycare.

“It’s very emotional. I wasn’t with him when he was very young and successful,” Hanna said. “All the strides he’s made are amazing. It’s surreal. It’s been quite a roller coaster ride – a lot of ups and downs. We never know what the next day will bring and just take it as it comes.”

Hanna described her husband as “very relaxed and upbeat” as he prepares for Thursday’s opening round.

Leaning on a club, he playfully pushed Lytle’s right shoulder while waiting his turn at the 17th tee – then took more than a dozen practice swings before hitting for real.

“Down, down,” he yelled at his ball.

Tryon had what seemed to be unlimited potential a decade ago when he burst on the scene, making the cut in two PGA Tour events at age 16.

Early on, big galleries followed his every move. At the Honda Classic in March 2001, at 16 he became the youngest player in 44 years to make a cut in a tour event. Playing professional golf was all he dreamed about.

By 2003, he missed the cut in 17 of 21 events. He wasn’t any better on the Nationwide Tour the next year, failing to make the cut in 16 of 22 tournaments. Tryon has been bouncing in and out of the minor tours trying to work his way back to his former form.

A 10th-place tie at Bay Hill in March 2003 is his best finish.

Tryon shot a 138 in his sectional qualifier to get here, then drove from Maryland to Pebble Beach.

“I was playing a sectional outside of Washington, D.C., and I was planning on going back home to Orlando and then find a flight later in the week,” Tryon said. “I hadn’t told my wife, but I woke up about 6 a.m., and I’m like, ‘Are you ready?’ When we were heading out to the highway, I went northwest and I’m like, ‘No, we’re going to go.”

His supporting cast plans to enjoy this picturesque setting right along with the golf.

“It’s just a very exciting time for us as a family,” Hanna Tryon said. “I really couldn’t be more happy for him. He’s persevered and been through a lot. He’s come back from a lot. For him to be here is quite an achievement.”

If Tryon has his way, it won’t stop at Pebble Beach.

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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 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.


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.”