Notes: TV technology has attention of USGA, R&A

By Doug FergusonSeptember 18, 2013, 12:28 am

ATLANTA – Television evidence indicated a possible rules violation. The official talked to the player before he signed his card, and the player was adamant that no violation occurred.

The decision went in favor of the player because the evidence was deemed inconclusive.

This was not Tiger Woods at the BMW Championship.

This was Colin Montgomerie in the Volvo Masters at Valderrama in 2002. Video appeared to show Montgomerie's putter touch the ball before it had stopped rolling after he missed a 5-foot putt on the 10th hole.

He wasn't penalized, and wound up sharing the title with Bernhard Langer when the playoff couldn't continue in darkness.

Why no penalty?

''We went through this involved question-and-answer,'' European Tour chief referee John Paramor said Tuesday. ''He said, 'I did not touch this ball.' We had no other evidence apart from these two-dimensional TV picture. If it had been shot from another angle, maybe it could have been proved.''

Golf and television have come a long way.

Woods was penalized two shots in the BMW Championship despite arguing that his ball only oscillated as he tried to remove a branch in front of it. The video that showed otherwise was taken in high-definition, clear enough to see every dimple.

And this might be golf's next frontier, at least when it comes to the rules.

''Our Rules of Golf committees - the USGA and R&A - are always trying to look forward at what they should address,'' said Thomas Pagel, the USGA's senior director of rules and competition. ''Certainly, HDTV has been on the forefront for the last several years.''

Pagel pointed to April 2011 and Decision 33-7/4.5 as ''the beginning of the review of HDTV and what impact it has.''

The faces on those decisions were Padraig Harrington and Peter Hanson. Harrington was disqualified for an incorrect score when HDTV revealed his ball moved when he was removing his marker on the green. Hanson's violation was a double-hit.

In both cases, the infraction was revealed only through the use of high-def - in Hanson's case, it was played in super-slow motion.

The next edition of the Decisions of Golf is due in January 2014.

''As we continue to have these issues, it's certainly something to consider,'' Pagel said. ''But I don't want to get ahead of myself.''

Regarding the players who get far more TV coverage than anyone else, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said there was no easy answer.

''We have a lot more cameras on the players who are in contention Sunday,'' he said. ''You've got 70-something players on Sunday. Seven or eight or 10 of them can win the golf tournaments; 85, 90, 95 percent of the camera time is on those seven or eight players.''

Finchem doesn't have strong feelings about TV viewers calling in violations. He referred to it as ''cumbersome and difficult and awkward'' at times, yet interesting to the fans. He said the tour would take a look at prohibiting viewers calling in, though it is not believed to be a high priority.


PAYNE STEWART AWARD: Peter Jacobsen is this year's recipient of the Payne Stewart Award, given each year to a player who personifies some of Stewart's traits - integrity, sportsmanship, presentation and charity.

The award began the year after Stewart perished in a freak plane accident in 1999, the year he won the U.S. Open.

''He was an amazing guy,'' Jacobsen said. ''A lot of you knew Payne, knew what he stood for. He was a dynamic personality, somebody who was as intense competitor as there is in the history of the game, but also somebody who knew how to have fun.''

And not just on the golf course.

Stewart played the harmonica in ''Jack Trout and the Flounders,'' the band of PGA Tour players that Jacobsen organized.

''Huey Lewis, who's a great harmonica player, said Payne was about an 8 handicap on the harmonica, which is pretty good. Because he (Lewis) was about a 15-handicap golfer. So it's a fair trade.''


THE FINALS: Ryo Ishikawa has received three special invitations to play in the Masters. He was awarded an exemption for the PGA Championship last month, even though he had fallen to No. 158 in the world ranking.

But getting a PGA Tour card? This time, the 22-year-old from Japan earned it.

Ishikawa had a 69-68 weekend at the third Web.com Finals event in Ohio. A week earlier, he shot 66 in the final round and finished fifth in North Carolina. Those results have assured him earning back his PGA Tour card for next year.

The Web.com Tour Championship at Sawgrass next week (Valley Course) is the final event of the four-tournament series.

The top 25 players from the Web.com Tour money list already have their cards and are playing for a priority ranking. The other 25 are based on the money list from the four tournaments. Ishikawa is sixth on that list, making him a mathematical lock.

Everyone down to Hudson Swofford can't fall out in the race for the open 25 cards. Heath Slocum and Sean O'Hair are close.

The replacement for Q-school seems to be working well for its first year. One of the curiosities about this Web.com Tour Finals was whether it would favor the players from Nos. 126-200 in the FedEx Cup or the players from Nos. 26 to 75 on the Web.com money list.

Going into the last event, the PGA Tour players have a 15-10 lead in the race for those 25 open cards.

Steve Wheatcroft is holding down the 25th spot, just $1,583 ahead of Bhavik Patel of the Web.com Tour. Among those PGA Tour players in jeopardy of not getting a card are three former Ryder Cup players - Robert Karlsson ($12,955 out of the 25th spot), Chad Campbell ($20,755 behind) and Chris DiMarco ($20,950 behind).


SHINNECOCK SCOTT: Adam Scott had a record-setting score last week, just not at the BMW Championship.

On his way to Chicago, the Masters champion played a casual round at Shinnecock Hills and wound up setting the course record with a 63. Scott played the red tees, which are the tips on the Long Island course. He made a 12-foot putt on the last hole to beat by one the record set by Raymond Floyd during a recreational round in 1996.

''It's pretty cool,'' Scott said. ''The members got pretty excited when I came off the course, and it's one of the best tracks in the world, for sure. No one has ever shot that score in over 100 years off the tees I played. So that's a pretty neat thing.''

Shinnecock Hills is one of the five founding clubs of the U.S. Golf Association. Scott had rounds of 75-75 to miss the cut when the U.S. Open was held there in 2004. It returns to Shinnecock in 2018.

''It was a really fun day, and I felt a little sense of achievement, absolutely - especially beating Raymond Floyd,'' he said. ''It's added to a really good year.''


DIVOTS: Steve Stricker says his practice amounts to playing golf during the summer in Wisconsin. In the winter? That's a different story. ''I enjoy practicing because it's all I can do,'' he said. ... Mike Scanlan is leaving the LPGA Tour as its media director to become communications director for IMG in North America. ... The AT&T National began in 2007 as a new tournament built around the Fourth of July in the nation's capital. That's no longer the case. The tournament hosted by Tiger Woods now has moved earlier, and that Fourth of July date now belongs to The Greenbrier Classic. ... Dating to the Canadian Woman's Open last year, 16-year-old amateur Lydia Ko would have earned just short of $1.2 million. ... Five players from PGA Tour Canada have earned Web.com Tour cards for next season - Mackenzie Hughes, Riley Wheeldon, Mark Hubbard, Hugo Leon and Wil Collins.


STAT OF THE WEEK: Nick Watney (63) started the FedEx Cup playoffs with the worst seed of the 30 players who made it to East Lake for the Tour Championship. Harris English (19) had the best seed of players who did not make it.


FINAL WORD: ''It's been a college degree and a Masters' degree. I've learned more than any other year.'' - Jordan Spieth, on his rookie season on the PGA Tour.

Getty Images

Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.


Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

Getty Images

Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

“I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

“The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

Getty Images

Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

He's making his first start in the event.

''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

Getty Images

Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

How rare is his missing the cut there?

The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.