Bubba surprised by 'shots like that' from Tiger

By Will GrayAugust 3, 2014, 8:46 pm

AKRON, Ohio – While details surrounding Tiger Woods’ withdrawal from the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational remain scarce, the player with the best view of Woods’ performance offered some insight after his round.

Bubba Watson played with Woods both Saturday and Sunday, and he was walking just ahead of Woods on No. 9 when Woods informed him that he would be unable to continue.

“Obviously something was bothering him, and you could kind of tell something was going on,” said Watson, who shot a 2-under 68. “He probably wasn’t trying to play a draw on [No.] 9, and when he came over it like that, his back probably tightened up and caused the draw.”

Woods explained after the round that he withdrew because of lower back pain, an injury that stemmed from his second shot on No. 2, when he fell back into a bunker after hitting from an awkward stance in the rough.

“I didn’t see the shot on No. 2. I saw the shot, but didn’t see his reaction and as he fell in the bunker or jumped in the bunker,” Watson said. “If I’d have seen what he did ... then I would definitely have seen pain.”


Timeline: Tiger's injuries throughout the years

Photo gallery: Woods rides off course, out of Firestone


Woods played his final six holes 4 over, with several wayward shots. Even though Woods remains on the comeback trail after back surgery in March, Watson was surprised by some of the shots from his playing partner.

“He hit some shots that we’re not used to seeing Tiger hit, even when he’s coming back from an injury like this,” he said. “We don’t see shots like that.”

Watson specifically pointed to Woods’ tee shot on the par-3 fifth, which came up 65 yards short of the green.

“You hit one fat like that, it’s going to jam your wrist, and your whole body’s going to be jammed,” he said. “So obviously, you’re going to feel it there. No matter if you have a hurt back or not, you’re going to feel it.

“Even if I’d have hit one fat, I’d have felt it, so obviously that one jarred the body a little bit.”

Woods’ withdrawal also created a bizarre situation since he and Watson were playing behind Russell Henley, who was playing the final round by himself after the pre-round withdrawal of Graham DeLaet. Following his birdie on No. 9, Watson asked if it was possible to join up with Henley for the inward half.

“It was strange,” Watson said. “I called over to (Henley) on 4 and said, ‘You don’t have any friends? You don’t have to be playing a onesome.’ Later I said, ‘Hey, I got no friends either. Let’s join up on 10.’”

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.”

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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).

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm