A Winning Streak with Many Wrinkles

By Associated PressFebruary 19, 2007, 5:00 pm
2007- WGC-AccentureMARANA, Ariz. -- Tiger Woods ran into one player and got two reminders.
 
He was zipping along The Gallery during a practice round Monday, his first look at a new course for the Accenture Match Play Championship where he will try to win his eighth straight PGA TOUR event. Some people will argue it's not really a winning streak, for Woods has failed to win four times overseas.
 
So it was only fitting that he caught up to Shaun Micheel on the second green.
 
'Do you think I should wish him luck this week?' said Tony Lingard, the caddie for Micheel.
 
The streak in its purest form ended Sept. 14 on a gray afternoon in the English countryside when Micheel, the last seed in the 16-man field of the HSBC World Match Play Championship, pulled off a stunner and beat Woods, 4 and 3.
 
That never came up during the next 16 holes of a course that stretches some 3 miles out into the desert and eventually winds back through cactus and shrub toward the clubhouse.
 
They talked about the birth of Micheel's daughter, Marin Belle born on Feb. 9, and Micheel asked him if Woods knew what gender his child would be when it comes this summer.
 
'We're not going to find out,' Woods told him. 'It's got to be one or the other.'
 
The rest of the round was spent navigating the 7,446-yard course at Dove Mountain just north of Tucson, with two par 5s over 600 yards and two par 4s that can be reached off the tee.
 
It's a new course for all 64 players in the field after the World Golf Championship event left soggy La Costa Resort north of San Diego. Phil Mickelson was due on Tuesday, and he joked last week that he couldn't remember the last time he played a regular practice round anywhere except the majors.
 
It is rare for Woods to show up on Monday, but he knew nothing about the course, and didn't learn much except to notice it was green, brown and white with some marvelous vistas of the valley below.
 
At stake this week is the streak with the asterisk.
 
Counting only PGA TOUR events, the last time he didn't go home with a trophy was July 9, when he was second at the Western Open. Woods believes his streak ended when he lost to Micheel, although he also recognizes that his PGA TOUR streak is seven and counting, and each week brings him closer to the 11 in a row that Byron Nelson won in 1945.
 
More than anything, he realizes there are no guarantees at the Accenture Match Play Championship.
 
Woods is a two-time champion of this fickle event, but he also has lost in every round except the semifinals. A year ago, he was bounced by Chad Campbell in the third round.
 
And while this WGC event is played over 18 holes until the 36-hole championship match, even the purest form of match play -- 36 holes every match -- didn't spare Woods a defeat at Wentworth last September.
 
'I cherish my win against him,' said Micheel, who lost in the championship match that week to Paul Casey. 'It's exciting to be playing in the same generation with a guy who arguably is the best ever.'
 
And what does Micheel think when he hears about the winning streak?
 
'I'm not too much of a historian,' he said, 'But I don't think guys were going overseas back in Byron's day. Golf was nothing like it is today. Tiger's streak is a PGA TOUR streak, and it's amazing. But this can be the one tournament that gets him.'
 
Micheel won't face Woods in the first round Thursday -- he will play third-seeded Adam Scott, while Woods takes on No. 64 J.J. Henry, who got into the field when Charl Schwartzel withdrew. The former PGA champion would have to win all his matches, and Woods would have to win all his, for them to meet again.
 
Micheel already has the ending scripted.
 
'I think it's interesting that Byron's streak ended in Memphis,' he said. 'Wouldn't that be something if a guy from Memphis could stop Tiger's tour streak?'
 
That's getting too far ahead. Most players know better than to look past Wednesday.
 
The only player who should be concerned about Woods -- and vice versa -- is Henry. Maybe it was just a coincidence, but Henry was on the flight to Tucson with Micheel on Sunday night.
 
'I said, 'Maybe we'll have a couple of beers on the plane and see what I can pry out of him,'' Henry said. 'Golf is golf. Let's be honest, it's 18 holes. Anything can happen. I get hot, make a bunch of birdies, I'm just as capable of beating anybody.'
 
This isn't the first time Henry has faced the No. 1 seed.
 
He recalled getting the final spot in the '98 U.S. Amateur and having to take on Joel Kriebel in the first round. He won that match, but what makes Henry chuckle is that Kriebel and Woods were teammates at Stanford.
 
'I can even remember Johnny Miller saying, 'This is Joel Kriebel's worst nightmare,'' Henry said. 'I was a first-team All-American. Obviously, this is a little different.'
 
Not entirely.
 
Miller will be in the booth for the first time at this event as coverage shifts to NBC Sports.
 
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    Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • 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.”

    Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open

    By Associated PressDecember 11, 2017, 12:43 pm

    JOHANNESBURG – Shubhankar Sharma won his first European Tour title by a shooting 3-under 69 Monday in the final round of the weather-delayed Joburg Open.

    The 21-year-old Indian resumed his round on the eighth green after play was halted early Sunday afternoon because of storms. He parred that hole, birdied No. 9 and made par on every hole on the back nine.


    Full-field scores from the Joburg Open


    Sharma finished at 23-under 264, three strokes ahead of the pack, and qualified for next year's British Open, too.

    ''I actually wasn't going to come here about a week ago ... so I'm really happy that I came,'' said Sharma, who shot 61 in the second round. ''I don't think I'm ever going forget my first time in South Africa.''

    Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).

    Getty Images

    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm