Vijay Pleads for Media Understanding

By George WhiteNovember 2, 2004, 5:00 pm
OK, maybe we have it wrong. Maybe Vijay Singh is really a barrel of laughs. We were wrong about his ability ' no one conceived of him winning nine times in one year. And maybe we misjudged just as badly his personality.
 
We, of course, are the members of the golf media. We talk to the golfers, watch them as they go about their chores on the golf course, see how they relate to the gallery. We then attempt to be amateur psychologists and tell you what the different personalities are like. The problem is, its a very inexact science. Sometimes a first impression is the wrong impression.
 
Singh, talking to the media after his win in Florida Sunday evening, says we have gotten it all wrong. And maybe we have.
 
The way you write about me, I'm very intense out there, said Singh. I probably had more fun out there today than you guys are ever going to have in a whole year, but my fun out there is very intense, and when I finish the round, then I enjoy the game.
 
Look how serious you guys are right here. This is your work. My work is out there. People who don't know me read what you guys write about me, and if you write negative about me, how I'm not having fun, how serious I am - that is not true.

And that may be correct. Singh was quiet when he first came to America more than 10 years ago. We assumed that it was because he was leery of questioners probing into the cheating issue ' he was accused of incorrectly doctoring a score many years ago on the Asian Tour. Incidentally, he strongly denies it.
 
Singh didnt have a lot to say the following years. Maybe that is his Fijian culture. Maybe he is always guarded around strangers. Anyone banished to Borneo for a couple of years isnt going to be Mr. Funny when he finally gets to civilization. And then he had a run-in with a writer who quoted him as saying that Annika Sorenstam shouldnt play in the mens tournament at Colonial ' a quote that he claims was inaccurate ' and he merely stopped talking to the media.
 
That lasted for six months or so. But he began to win so often that the pressure to give interviews was overwhelming. He grudgingly agreed at first. And this year, as both Singh and the media have become more comfortable with each other, both have found that the other was not as bad as they had thought.
 
Singh has certainly contributed to the misunderstanding. An incident involving Brandel Chamblee, when Singh repeatedly cursed the Golf Channel reporter, didnt help. But ' maybe the media is at fault here, too. Maybe Singh is a much warmer guy than he has been painted to be.

I have fun, I talk to the guys, and I probably have more fun than 80 percent of the guys out there, he said. But you guys do not write that. You see how intense I am.
 
Off the golf course, when I come over here (to the interview room), I'm still intense. I cannot just let go and be relaxed. The intensity still stays on for a couple of hours. I mean, that's the way you focus, that's the way you wind down. It takes a while.
 
So, write good.
 
That last sentence is hugely indicative of the barriers that have been broken down between Singh and the media. Write good. Singh cares that he has gotten such negative press. For years he gave no indication that it mattered. But he does ' he is nothing but human, after all.
 
Singh is older now, and the media has been around him longer. Singh probably doesnt brush by reporters as brusquely as he once did. And maybe now the press wont write about him so much as a tall, dark robot who is into his golf game and not much else.
 
The real issue, though, is the manner in which he relates to fans. If Singh tries to be pleasant, smiles occasionally, signs autographs after his round is over, the people will respond. And if he continues to win, the media will continue to see him at ease more and more. Singh wont be quite as much a mystery to them.
 
Goodness knows that hes won nine times, equal to Tiger Woods top season. He has won four of the last five times hes teed it up and finished tied for second the fifth. In fact, hes won six of the last eight times hes gone to the post, dating back to the British Open.
 
Maybe this will mark the time for an old-fashioned thawing out of the relationship of press-vs.-Singh. He says we have gotten him all wrong, and he could be correct. He is a great golfer ' that no one can deny by now. Maybe he is just as great a person.
 
One thing is for certain ' we are going to see much, much more of this multi-talented person. He is going to see much more of the media. Right now, an uneasy truce has developed. Its time for a genuine appreciation to become the order of the day. Vijay rightly deserves a second chance.
 
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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