PGA president doesnt expect changes at Whistling Straits

By Doug FergusonAugust 17, 2010, 1:04 am
MILWAUKEE – When the PGA Championship returns in five years to Whistling Straits the rules on playing the countless bunkers may still be in place.

The golf world was still reeling Monday over the two-shot penalty given to Dustin Johnson on the final hole. He grounded his 4-iron in the sand to the right of the fairway, not aware he was in a bunker.

Johnson had a one-shot lead when he teed off on the 18th. He missed a 7-foot par putt and seemed to slip into a playoff. But when he learned he had let his club touch the sand during his preshot routine, Johnson added two shots to his score and tied for fifth.

Asked if there was any consideration to change the unusual local bunker rule for 2015, PGA of America president Jim Remy said, “Not at this point.”

“Obviously, it’s the day after,” Remy said. “I’m sure (championship director) Kerry Haigh will do his due diligence. He made the decision not to do it from 2004 to 2010. My guess is that probably the way we’re leaning is to leave it that way.”

It wasn’t the first time someone paid for the bunker rule at Whistling Straits.

When the PGA Championship was first played there in 2004, Stuart Appleby was penalized four shots late in the third round for removing a dead piece of grass (two shots) to the right of the 16th hole and touching the sand on a practice swing (two shots).

That didn’t cost him a major championship, though.

What never will be known is how Johnson would have fared in the three-hole playoff, which Martin Kaymer won over Bubba Watson. It was the most shocking finish involving rules at a major since Roberto de Vicenzo signed for a 4 when he had made a 3 on the 17th hole of the final round in the 1968 Masters. He had to accept the higher score and finished one shot behind Bob Goalby.

Johnson said he didn’t look at the rules sheet that had been posted all week in the locker room and on the first tee throughout the week, explaining that every bunker was a hazard, even if they were outside the ropes where the gallery had been standing.

“It was unfortunate for Dustin. I feel bad for him. He’s a PGA member, just like I am,” said Remy, the general manager of Okemo Valley Golf Club in Vermont. “I feel sad for him the way it all unfolded. But that’s the rules of golf. Those things happen in sports, and nobody feels good about it.”

Remy said he didn’t see a a practical solution for 2015, or in 2020 for the Ryder Cup.

“Do you mark 900 of them not as bunkers and 300 as bunkers? How do you ever mark them?” he said. “Clearly, with this happening, players will be more aware of it in the future. And we didn’t have any other infractions during the week.”

Players continued to weigh in on both sides.

“In light of PGA finish, Augusta just announced new seating for patrons available in right greenside bunker by 18 green,” Stewart Cink joked on Twitter.

PGA Tour rookie Kris Blanks, who missed the cut at the PGA, posted a picture of a child’s sandbox and suggested that would be considered a bunker at Whistling Straits.

Johnson tied for fifth, still enough for him to easily make the Ryder Cup team. The only way he would have failed to finish among the top eight qualifiers would have been to sign his card for a bogey and learn of the bunker gaffe later. Then, he would have been disqualified for signing an incorrect score.

“The one thing that I will remember from this more than anything is the way Dustin handled himself,” Pavin said. “He was very mature. I couldn’t imagine a player handling it any better than he did. He played beautiful golf on Sunday, put himself in position to win the tournament. I think it was the proper ruling. It was an unfortunate situation.”

Among the questions raised was whether the marshals should have done a better job clearing out the gallery around Johnson, which might have made it clearer to him that he was on the edge of a bunker.

Johnson thought it was grass that had been trampled all week by foot traffic.

The PGA rules official didn’t remind Johnson that he was in a bunker – if he even knew – although Paul Goydos pointed out that a rules official’s job is not to remind players of the rule, rather to interpret them if a player asks.

Goydos is not sure he would change the bunker rules for 2015.

“You’ve either got to say they’re all bunkers or they’re not bunkers,” Goydos said. “I don’t think you take into account that guys would hit the ball 75 yards off line. Maybe they could have cleared the gallery so he could see the bunker. It’s just a weird situation.”

Asked if the PGA could make a rule that anything outside the ropes is not a bunker, Goydos shook his head.

“Now you’re trying to call foul balls and fair balls,” he said.

After Johnson hit his 4-iron to the left of the 18th green into a difficult spot, he sent a magnificent flop shop to 7 feet. That gave him a chance – or so it seemed – to win his first major. Remy was standing behind the 18th green watching it all unfold when he heard radio traffic about a potential problem on the bunker shot.

It was not clear if PGA officials noticed the problem on the telecast or if someone alerted them to it.

Remy wasn’t sure what to think.

“I was aware of what was unfolding, but at that time, I didn’t know the outcome,” he said. “I knew there was a question. I was aware we were going to have to deal with the issue. But I wanted the putt to go in because I didn’t know what the ruling would be. I thought it would have been an epic finish to a great championship.”

And what if the putt had gone in?

“It didn’t,” Remy said. “But I sure thought about it.”

Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.