Kuchar claims playoff win at The Barclays

By Doug FergusonAugust 30, 2010, 2:30 am

the Barclays Logo 2007

PARAMUS, N.J. – Matt Kuchar and Tiger Woods are happy about where they’re going, even if the itinerary is entirely different.

Kuchar won The Barclays with a sensational shot out of the rough to beat Martin Laird with a birdie in a playoff. The victory assures he will be at East Lake in Atlanta – which the Georgia Tech grad considers a home course – to play the Tour Championship for the first time.

Woods tied for 12th and gets to go to Boston for the second round of the FedEx Cup playoffs.

Matt Kuchar
Matt Kuchar and son Carson pose with The Barclays trophy. (Getty Images)

A small step for one, a giant leap for another.

“There’s nothing like the feeling of winning,” said Kuchar, who moved up to No. 1 in the FedEx Cup standings, No. 1 on the PGA Tour money list and a career-best No. 10 in the world ranking. “You feel like you’re the best player in the world for this week.”

And he was, with help from Laird, who needed only two putts from just inside 25 feet to win on the final hole.

Woods hasn’t won in more than nine months, a strange sensation for a guy with 82 wins around the world. His primary goal Sunday was to do well enough to move inside the top 100 in the FedEx Cup standings to qualify for the second round of the playoffs at the TPC Boston. He shot a 67 – the first time since the Masters that he broke 70 in the final round – and moved from No. 112 to No. 65.

Better yet, he thinks a victory might not be far away.

“I haven’t won all year,” Woods said. “But this is a week that I was very close. I felt that if I would have putted better for all four days, I would have been right there. Looking forward to next week.”

Kuchar was having his best year on the PGA Tour, missing only a victory. It didn’t look as though that would change at Ridgewood.

Having closed with a 5-under 66, playing his final 24 holes in regulation without a bogey, he headed for the practice range in case it was good enough to force a playoff. Laird took the lead with a birdie on the par-5 17th, then made a terrific escape out of the rough and under the trees to just inside 25 feet above the hole.

“Once he hit that great shot just to the back fringe on 18, I was pretty much shutting down my practice sessions,” Kuchar said. “I went over and was just a spectator, thinking that he’s got this wrapped up.”

It all changed so suddenly.

Laird ran his putt 7 feet by the hole and missed the comeback putt for par. Then came the shot that got these FedEx Cup playoffs off to a rousing start – a 7-iron from 192 yards out of the rough that scooted through the green, caught the back ramp, turned to the left toward the hole and settled 30 inches away for the winning birdie.

It changed the outcome of the tournament, and Kuchar’s perspective on the year.

“I knew if I put myself in contention enough times I was going to break through,” Kuchar said. “And I’m awfully excited to have it here at the Barclays. It’s a great place, the start of our FedEx Cup playoffs. I don’t know if I would put many events much higher on the list.”

Kuchar is assured of going to East Lake, and now has a decent shot at winning the FedEx Cup and its $10 million prize.

Along the way, he got a little training for the Ryder Cup.

Winning sure helps. Kuchar and Jeff Overton are the only Americans among the eight who earned their way onto the team who have not won this year, and the 32-year-old is sure to get a shot of confidence leading up to the Oct. 1-3 matches in Wales.

The way he won can only help.

He hopped in a cart with rules official Mark Russell, the crowd chanting and cheers.

“I told him, ‘This is great prep for the Ryder Cup,”’ Kuchar said. “I’m in a match play situation, I’ve got a playoff and I’ve got people going crazy. Hopefully, I’ll be able to put that in the memory bank and go with it come Ryder Cup time.”

Plus, he was playing a European – Laird is a 27-year-old from Scotland.

Laird had a five-shot lead early on when he started with two birdies, but a double bogey on the par-5 third hole sent him tumbling back to the pack, and a half-dozen others entertained thoughts of winning. That included Dustin Johnson, who was still in the hunt until missing an 8-foot birdie on the 15th, then making bogeys on the next two holes in a desperate attempt to catch up. He shot 72.

Laird recovered, though, and he was tied with Kuchar when he had a 20-foot eagle putt on the par-5 17th, only to roll it nearly 8 feet beyond the hole. He made that birdie putt to take the lead. Faced with a similar situation – this time needing two putts for the win – Laird repeated his mistake and this time didn’t escape.

“Obviously, not the finish I was looking for,” said Laird, who shot a 71. “But I’m very proud of the way I played today. “I was kind of battling all day, and probably holed two or three of the biggest putts I’ve ever holed just to be where I was.”

The only consolation for Laird was being safe through next month in the playoffs. He was at No. 95, hopeful of advancing to the second round, and his runner-up finish puts him at No. 3 and virtually guarantees he’ll be among the top 30 at the Tour Championship.

As for Woods, he can only hope he makes it to Atlanta.

His tie for 12th – the highest for him since a tie for fourth at the U.S. Open – gives him a good chance of staying in the top 70 who go to the third round at Cog Hill outside Chicago. Only the top 30 make it to Atlanta, but Woods at least is going in the right direction.

“The next three events, the next three venues, I’ve won on,” Woods said, referring to past victories at the TPC Boston, Cog Hill and East Lake. “So I’m going to three venues I’m very familiar with, and I’m looking forward to it.”

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