Phil: New driver could 'alter game significantly'

By Jason SobelJanuary 31, 2013, 11:21 pm

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – For a noted tinkerer like Phil Mickelson, putting a new club in the bag isn’t such a big deal. Seeing an immediate impact is, though.

On Tuesday, Mickelson started testing Callaway’s RAZR Fit Xtreme driver on the TPC-Scottsdale driving range and liked it so much that he decided to add it to his arsenal right away.

“Here's the difference: I spin the ball a lot with my irons, and when I go to a driver that has enough loft, it spins too much for me so I have to deloft it, which you see me create this tilt in my golf swing to get the ball up in the air,” he explained. “This driver spins so low that I can have more loft on the club, making it easier to hit.

“This has got to be good for every player, I would think, but it sure as heck is good for me. And by having it be a low spin driver with enough loft, and because it's that RAZR Fit Xtreme where you can fit it, I was able to get it dialed in to where it goes straight. But I'm able to make the same golf swing as my irons so you'll see me extend down the target line, you won't see this kind of tilt because it's not enough loft to get up and it's not low enough spin to not float, and it really could be a revolutionary club for me. Possibly all golfers, but certainly for my game. If I can drive it like I did and with the ease with which I did and the misses be where they were, then this could be a really big deal for me.”

In posting an opening-round 11-under 60, Mickelson hit 8-of-14 fairways and averaged 300.6 yards off the tee. Afterward, he gushed about the new club.

“On 17, this is a great example, you've seen me over the years miss it left, and there's water left, and I know there's water left because I've been in it so many times, and I aimed right at the middle of the green, I trusted the club and went right at the middle of the green, on the middle of the green 50 feet from the hole, two-putted for birdie, and to me that's the biggest thing,” he said. “So if this driver does what it did for me today, it could alter my game significantly.”

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