Japans Ishikawa faces torn emotions on golf course

By Doug FergusonMarch 16, 2011, 4:26 am

Transistions ChampionshipPALM HARBOR, Fla. – Japan’s biggest golfing star Ryo Ishikawa wishes he could fly home to see his family and find ways to help a country devastated by an earthquake and tsunami, that now faces concerns over a nuclear meltdown.

The 19-year-old realizes there is little he can do but try to play his best golf.

Ishikawa is in the middle of a three-tournament stretch at the Transitions Championship and will be in America through the Masters.

He grew up northwest of Tokyo, some 300 miles (480 kilometers) from the Miyagi prefecture that was hardest hit by the calamity. His family is safe and he speaks to them every day. But his heart is hurting.

“It almost pains me that I am out there and the people of Japan are going through the worst crisis,” Ishikawa said Tuesday. “I never for once felt lucky that I am here, meaning that my heart and soul are with the people of Japan. Even though I am physically here, my mind is there. Thousands are struggling over there as I speak here today.

“I would like to perform at my best with them in my thoughts.”

Ishikawa learned quickly of the destruction last Friday, then finished off his best round on American soil with a 65 at Doral. The rest of the week was a struggle, however, and he closed with a 78 to tie for 42nd.

The teen sensation attributed that more to the Blue Monster at Doral than the distraction of what is happening at home. And he is determined not to let it bother him on the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook this week.

“I wish I could go over there and assist with the search-and-rescue teams,” he said. “In reality, even if I were to go back, there is very little that I could actually do. I couldn’t bring them a whole lot of food or go back into the areas that were hit. We’re not allowed in there right now. The only thing I can do is train hard, play hard, play great golf and provide some good news for the people of Japan.”

He will play the Arnold Palmer Invitational next week at Bay Hill, then go to Augusta National to prepare for the Masters, which is to be played April 7-10. Ishikawa said he will go home right after the Masters, and he still plans to play the Japan Golf Tour’s opening tournament that next week.

Ishikawa has not been able to bring his extraordinary success in Japan over to American soil, a priority for him. If there were ever a time for him to break though, he could not think of a better one.

“I would love to win for the people of Japan, but that is a thought I always carry when I play overseas,” he said. “Given this crisis, my motivation is at the highest it has ever been. There is no negative pressure. I just feel very focused and zoned in. And if I could produce such a brilliant result … and if the bright news could be a source of encouragement for the people of Japan, I would be at my happiest.”

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.

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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).

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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