Day not done with 2017, makes ‘Uranus’ joke

By Nick MentaAugust 9, 2017, 2:33 pm

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Two years ago, after finishing 2015 without a major victory, Rory McIlroy characterized his campaign as a “lost year.”

Those same words were directed at Jason Day on Wednesday during his pre-tournament news conference ahead of the PGA Championship.

The former world No. 1 has slipped to No. 7 and hasn’t tasted victory since the 2016 Players, 15 months ago. He’s registered just two top-10 finishes this season and hasn’t been much of a factor in the three majors to date: T-22, CUT, T-24.

But Day isn’t ready to write 2017 off just yet, and while he will call his year to date “disappointing,” he won’t call it lost.

“It's not a lost year because actually the years leading up to the 2015-2016 season - I always talk about it - they weren't lost years. It's just that I was working towards something, and it ended up happening all in those two seasons,” Day said.

“And it's the same this year. If I don't win, I don't win. But obviously I'm focusing on trying to win each and every week, and trying to get back to the way I felt."


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Here’s another reason this isn’t quite a lost year – Day still has some important golf ahead of him, starting this week at Quail Hollow. The Aussie won this event in 2015 at Whisting Straits and was runner-up to Jimmy Walker last year at Baltusrol.

He’ll then head into the FedExCup Playoffs, where guys have been known to get hot and suddenly make a season look special.

“I remember Rory winning two events in the FedExCup last year, and he ended up winning the FedExCup coming off a year that probably he wouldn't think it was the greatest year until the FedExCup Playoffs. You never know what's around the corner,” Day said.

“I was talking to Phil [Mickelson] last night about this. We were talking about plateaus and he was talking about a book. He was explaining this in a sense where we're all in plateaus to a certain degree. And the way he explained it, you just never know when you'll go from here to here, but you've got to all keep practicing and keep staying disciplined. Because it could be next week. It could be six months down the road. It could be six years from now. But as long as you keep improving it'll jump up and you'll have that great run again.”

As he continues to search for the form that took him to the top of the Official World Golf Ranking, Day is holding on to his sense of humor.

Last night at the PGA champions’ dinner, Walker – the defending champ who is staying in Day’s RV this week – gave out telescopes as a gift to the dinner’s attendees.

Asked by a reporter if he knew how to use his, Day replied: “[I can] probably see Uranus from here, mate.”

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