US Survives Rally Wins Presidents Cup

By Associated PressSeptember 30, 2007, 4:00 pm
MONTREAL -- The United States won the Presidents Cup. Mike Weir gave Canada quite a consolation prize.
 
The Americans won enough of the singles matches Sunday to capture the Presidents Cup for the second straight time, giving them an international victory in cup competition for the first time since 1993.
 
That didn't stop the relentless cheers that rocked Royal Montreal on a spectacular autumn day, especially when Weir won the final two holes to beat Tiger Woods and send his country home feeling like a winner.
 
Weir won the Masters four years ago, and he wasn't sure which felt sweeter.
 
'It's right there with it,' Weir said. 'Obviously, winning the Masters was such a thrill, but to play Tiger ... he's the best player there is, and I had to play my absolute best today to beat him.'
 
He needed some help from the world's No. 1 player.
 
With the match all square and Weir safely in the 18th fairway, Woods pulled his tee shot and watched it land in a pond, just a few yards short of a Canadian flag fans were holding behind the ropes.
 
Weir hit his approach to 15 feet, and after Woods' chip for par stopped rolling 2 inches from the cup, he conceded the putt.
 
By then, the Americans were celebrating something far more important.
 
'I lost,' Woods said after changing into sneakers. 'But the team won the cup, and that's the important thing.'
 
The International team won seven matches, not nearly enough to avoid the inevitable: United States 19, International 14.
 
For the Americans, it was another victory for their beloved captain, Jack Nicklaus, who now is 2-1-1 in the Presidents Cup. It also was the first time Nicklaus won in Canada. He was runner-up seven times in the Canadian Open, including a playoff loss at Royal Montreal in 1975.
 
Woods and Weir shared a hug on the 18th green as thousands of fans crammed into the bleachers. The crowd covered every blade of grass around the green and chanted, 'Mike! Mike! Mike!'
 
'I told him I was proud of how he handled himself,' Wood said. 'He had to carry and entire country on his shoulders. Not too many people can play as well as he did. He handled it magnificently.'
 
The Americans were superb.
 
Former Oklahoma State standout Scott Verplank completed a 4-0 week with birdies on the 16th and 17th to beat Rory Sabbatini, 2 and 1. Phil Mickelson hammered Vijay Singh, closing him out on the 14th hole while wearing soft spikes.
 
Woody Austin finally lost in a meaningless match against U.S. Open champion Angel Cabrera, but he continued to keep the Canadian crowd entertained. Walking up the 14th fairway, Austin put on a mask to mock his plunge into the lake on the 14th hole Friday.
 
'Way to go, Aquaman,' Mickelson called out to him.
 
The Americans needed to win only three matches to retain the gold cup, and Stewart Cink delivered the clinching point. He birdied the first five holes and beat Nick O'Hern, 6 and 4, for the largest margin of the week.
 
'We came into this week with a little score to settle up in the international golf arena,' Cink said. 'I think we showed everybody that we can play again.'
 
That was a reference to the Ryder Cup, which the Americans have won only once since 1993. They seem to have no trouble against an equally strong International team, winning this week on the strength of capturing 10 points from 11 foursomes matches.
 
Verplank, a captain's pick last year who was mysteriously benched the first day of the Ryder Cup, extended his winning streak to six matches in the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup. David Toms led the U.S. team with 4 points in five matches.
 
'Our guys can hold their heads up high,' International captain Gary Player said. 'And to Mike Weir, I can only say, 'Well done, my friend. That's a big thing in your life.'
 
A predictable outcome was saved by a match between the two biggest golf stars on the Ile Bizard -- Weir, the most popular golfer in Canada, and Woods, the most popular figure in golf.
 
With former President Bush on the first tee to greet every match, the crowd made golf sound like a heavyweight fight. And Weir certainly looked the part when he birdied the second hole, won the fourth hole when Woods made bogey from a bunker, and went 3 up on the par-5 sixth hole after Woods hit his tee shot out of bounds.
 
'It was similar to a Ryder Cup, especially early on when he was 2 up and 3 up,' Woods said.
 
With a chance to go 4 up, Weir missed an 8-foot birdie on the 10th hole, and Woods took a slight opening and kicked it open. His approach to the 11th stopped 9 inches from the cup for birdie. He won the par-5 12th with an up-and-down birdie short of the green, and the match was square when Weir missed a 5-foot putt at No. 14 for his first bogey on his own ball the entire week.
 
Woods took his first lead when Weir's approach to the 15th trickled into the water hazard. He removed his shoes to hit out of the water, but splashed the ball over the green.
 
Weir didn't quit, and the crowd sure didn't get more quiet. As he stood over a 10-foot birdie putt on the 17th, the bleachers across the pond behind the 16th green stood in silence, then roared when the ball disappeared for birdie.
 
Then came the 18th, the decisive hole of the only match that seemed to matter. Two fans were holding the Canadian flag directly behind the pond, and it worked like a magnet.
 
Splash!
 
'I pulled it just a touch,' Woods said.
 
Woods returned to celebrate with the rest of the Americans, and the only thing left to settle was the final score.
 
Related Links:
  • Scoreboard
  • Full Coverage - Presidents Cup
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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.”