Webb Simpson surges into the lead at The Barclays

By Doug FergusonAugust 28, 2009, 4:00 pm
The Barclays JERSEY CITY, N.J. ' Webb Simpson looked at the scores and the weather, neither of which indicated an easy time Friday at Liberty National. He quickly settled on a simple game plan Friday and made it pay off in The Barclays.
 
Simpson took advantage on some of the shorter holes to give him a cushion for the inevitable mistakes. It led to a 3-under 68 on a long, tough and wet afternoon that put the 24-year-old rookie atop the leaderboard for the first time all year.
 
My caddie and I talked beforehand about taking advantage of the par 5s and the shorter par 4s, just because we knew we were going to make bogeys, Simpson said. It was just one of those long, tough days. But I feel good with where Im at.
 
Tiger Woods at The Barclays
Tiger Woods slams his driver on the 16th hole Friday. (Getty Images)
He was at 8-under 134, two shots clear of Paul Goydos and Steve Marino, who started the second round tied for the lead and did well to get around in even-par 71.
 
Sergio Garcia also was tied for the lead, got stuck in the morning wave and the worst of the rain, and shot a 76.
 
It was hands down ' I mean, forget about the PGA (Championship) ' it was the longest course Ive played this year, the way it was playing, Garcia said. I dont know how many 5-, 4- and 3-irons I hit into the greens. I hit some woods into the green.
 
Tiger Woods tried to hit driver onto one green on the 16th, where the tees were moved up. His shot sailed 65 yards wide of his target, over the water hazard, beyond the tee boxes at No. 17. He nearly crushed a tee marker before stopping the club a foot short, and while he made par, it summed up his frustration.
 
Woods had a 72, yet still moved up 10 spots on the leaderboard into a tie for 17th at even-par 142. For the second straight day, he refused to meet with the reporters to discuss his round.
 
Smiles were rare on Friday, except at the top of the leaderboard.
 
The cut came at 5-over 147, matching the highest cut of the year (Bay Hill). Only nine players broke par, one day after there were 26 scores under par. The average score was 74.361, nearly 2 1/2 shots harder than the first round.
 
Simpson and Ernie Els had the low round at 68, and the Big Easy only got there with a driver on the 16th hole that stopped 8 feet from the hole for an eagle.
 
Goydos was atop the leaderboard for most of the round until he finished with three bogeys over his last four holes. He at least was happy to make enough pars and birdies that a sloppy ending to his round didnt hurt him.
 
Plus, he knew what to expect.
 
I was watching it a little bit this morning, and it didnt look like anybody was having a whole lot of fun, Goydos said. And quite frankly, I went downstairs about nine oclock and looked down, and didnt look like the guy parking the cars was having a whole lot of fun, either.
 
The difficulty came from a combination of factors.
 
A half-dozen tees were moved up, which helped. What hurt was the wet conditions ' the rain in the morning and the soft turf throughout the cloudy day ' and the heavy air that kept the ball from traveling very far.
 
Throw in the fact that if you do hit it a little crooked, youve got 3 or 4 inches of wet rough, Goydos said. Youve got greens that look like my shirts after Ive packed them. It just makes for a challenge.
 
Some players hopes for the $10 million FedEx Cup prize ended on Friday. Among those who missed the cut and will not finish among the top 100 to advance to Boston were Ben Curtis (84), Mark Calcavecchia (79) and Steve Flesch, who was disqualified after a 76.
 
The flip side is Heath Slocum, who finished bogey-double bogey for a 72 and still was tied for fourth at 4-under 138 with Fredrik Jacobson, who had a 72. Slocum made the top 125 to qualify for the playoffs by a measly two points. If he were to remain in a tie for fourth at the end of the week, he would go from No. 124 to No. 37 in the standings.
 
Simpson is No. 85 in the standings on the strength of a strong West Coast, and mediocre golf the rest of the season. He turned it around at a good time, however, at least made himself the player to chase going into the weekend, with more wet weather in the forecast. Tee times Saturday were pushed back a few hours in case of heavy rain expected overnight.
 
I couldnt have picked a better time to be playing well here in the playoffs, Simpson said. Im sure a lot of emotions will be going through my head tomorrow. But you know, Im a big believer in prayer, so Ill go to bed saying a few prayers tonight and come out tomorrow just like I did today.
 
Whatever he says will be more than Woods has offered after the first two days.
 
He headed straight to the locker room after making bogey from a fairway bunker on the 18th hole. It was the first time since the second round of the Memorial that he failed to break par in a regular PGA Tour event.
 
Woods missed only three fairways all day, yet he missed several putts, including a 5-foot birdie attempt.
 
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    Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

    Well, this is a one new one.

    According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

    “No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

    Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

    “If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

    The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

    “I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

    The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

    Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

    Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.

    PGA Tour suspends Hensby for anti-doping violation

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 8:02 pm

    Mark Hensby has been suspended for one year by the PGA Tour for violating the Tour’s anti-doping policy by failing to provide a sample after notification.

    The Tour made the announcement Monday, reporting that Hensby will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

    The statement reads:

    The PGA Tour announced today that Mark Hensby has violated the Tour Anti-Doping Policy for failing to provide a drug testing sample after notification and has been suspended for a period of one year. He will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

    Hensby, 46, won the John Deere Classic in 2004. He played the Web.com Tour this past year, playing just 14 events. He finished 142nd on the money list. He once ranked among the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking but ranks No. 1,623 today.

    The Sunshine Tour recently suspended player Etienne Bond for one year for failing a drug test. Players previously suspended by the PGA Tour for violating the anti-doping policy include Scott Stallings and Doug Barron.

    The PGA Tour implemented revisions to its anti-doping program with the start of the 2017-18 season. The revisions include blood testing and the supplementation of the Tour’s prohibited list to include all of the substances and methods on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list. As part of this season’s revisions, the Tour announced it would also begin reporting suspensions due to recreational drug use.

    The Tour said it would not issue further comment on Hensby's suspension.

    Good time to hang up on viewer call-ins

    By Randall MellDecember 11, 2017, 7:40 pm

    Golf announced the most massive layoff in the industry’s history on Monday morning.

    Armchair referees around the world were given their pink slips.

    It’s a glorious jettisoning of unsolicited help.

    Goodbye and good riddance.

    The USGA and R&A’s announcement of a new set of protocols Monday will end the practice of viewer call-ins and emails in the reporting of rules infractions.

    “What we have heard from players and committees is ‘Let’s leave the rules and administration of the event to the players and those responsible for running the tournament,’” said Thomas Pagel, the USGA’s senior director of rules and amateur status.

    Amen.

    The protocols, formed by a working group that included the PGA Tour, LPGA, European Tour, Ladies European Tour and the PGA of America, also establish the use of rules officials to monitor the televised broadcasts of events.

    Additionally, the protocols will eliminate the two-shot penalty when a player signs an incorrect scorecard because the player was unaware of a violation.



    Yes, I can hear you folks saying armchair rules officials help make sure every meaningful infraction comes to light. I hear you saying they make the game better, more honest, by helping reduce the possibility somebody violates the rules to win.

    But at what cost?

    The chaos and mayhem armchair referees create can ruin the spirit of fair play every bit as much as an unreported violation. The chaos and mayhem armchair rules officials create can be as much a threat to fair play as the violations themselves.

    The Rules of Golf are devised to protect the integrity of the game, but perfectly good rules can be undermined by the manner and timeliness of their enforcement.

    We have seen the intervention of armchair referees go beyond the ruin of fair play in how a tournament should be conducted. We have seen it threaten the credibility of the game in the eyes of fans who can’t fathom the stupidity of a sport that cannot separate common-sense enforcement from absolute devotion to the letter of the law.

    In other sports, video review’s timely use helps officials get it right. In golf, video review too often makes it feel like the sport is getting it wrong, because timeliness matters in the spirit of fair play, because the retroactive nature of some punishments are as egregious as the violations themselves.  

    We saw that with Lexi Thompson at the ANA Inspiration this year.

    Yes, she deserved a two-shot penalty for improperly marking her ball, but she didn’t deserve the two-shot penalty for signing an incorrect scorecard. She had no idea she was signing an incorrect scorecard.

    We nearly saw the ruin of the U.S. Open at Oakmont last year, with Dustin Johnson’s victory clouded by the timing of a video review that left us all uncertain if the tournament was playing out under an incorrect scoreboard.

    “What these protocols are put in place for, really, is to make sure there are measures to identify the facts as soon as possible, in real time, so if there is an issue to be dealt with, that it can be handled quickly and decisively,” Pagel said.

    Amen again.

    We have pounded the USGA for making the game more complicated and less enjoyable than it ought to be, for creating controversy where common sense should prevail, so let’s applaud executive director Mike Davis, as well as the R&A, for putting common sense in play.

    Yes, this isn’t a perfect answer to handling rules violations.

    There are trap doors in the protocols that we are bound to see the game stumble into, because the game is so complex, but this is more than a good faith effort to make the game better.

    This is good governance.

    And compared to the glacial pace of major rules change of the past, this is swift.

    This is the USGA and R&A leading a charge.

    We’re seeing that with the radical modernization of the Rules of Golf scheduled to take effect in 2019. We saw it with the release of Decision 34/3-10 three weeks after Thompson’s loss at the ANA, with the decision limiting video review to “reasonable judgment” and “naked eye” standards. We’re hearing it with Davis’ recent comments about the “horrible” impact distance is having on the game, leading us to wonder if the USGA is in some way gearing up to take on the golf ball.

    Yes, the new video review protocols aren’t a panacea. Rules officials will still miss violations that should have been caught. There will be questions about level playing fields, about the fairness of stars getting more video review scrutiny than the rank and file. There will be questions about whether viewer complaints were relayed to rules officials.

    Golf, they say, isn’t a game of perfect, and neither is rules enforcement, though these protocols make too much sense to be pilloried. They should be applauded. They should solve a lot more problems than they create.

    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.”