Every chases down Stenson, wins second API

By Nick MentaMarch 22, 2015, 9:38 pm

Thanks to a birdie on the 72nd hole, Matt Every fired a 6-under 66 to chase down Henrik Stenson and win the Arnold Palmer Invitational for the second year in a row. Here’s what went down in the final round at Bay Hill:

Leaderboard: Every (-19), Stenson (-18), Matt Jones (-17), Morgan Hoffmann (-15)

What it means: The win is the second of Every’s career and, of course, his second at the API, following his victory last year. He is just the third man to win in back-to-back years at Bay Hill, joining Loren Roberts (1994-95) and Tiger Woods (2000-03; ’08-09; ’12-13). The 31-year-old journeyman took a while to win his first Tour event and, thereafter, struggled to follow it up. In between API victories, he posted just one top-10 finish and failed to complete 11 of 26 events, via a combination of withdraws, disqualifications and missed cuts. His best finish on Tour this season was a T-27 at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, a no-cut event with a total field of 33 players. In two years, Every has collected $2.25 million at Arnie’s place.

Round of the day: Three back to start the final round, Every dropped a shot on his opening hole and then didn't drop another the rest of the round. He rattled off four birdies in six holes from Nos. 3-8 to make the turn in 3 under, followed it up with two more on Nos. 10 and 11 and then capped off the round with a 17-footer for birdie on the 18th green to win by one.

Best of the rest: Zach Johnson tied Every for the low round of day with by far the most colorful card of the day. ZJ made seven birdies, seven pars, two bogeys, a double bogey, and a double eagle - the second albatross in as many days at Bay Hill - en route to a 66.

Biggest disappointment: Stenson started the day with a two-shot lead and led by one with four holes to go before giving it away. Back-to-back three-putts on Nos. 15 and 16 resulted in a bogey and a par and cost him the chance to force a playoff, leaving him one shot shy of Every. It was ultimately the putter that fell Stenson on Sunday; after leading the field in strokes-gained putting over his first three rounds, he finished dead last in the category in the final round. His failure extends a nine-event streak on Tour where the 54-hole leader or leaders have failed to win. 

Shot of the day: Johnson wins for his albatross at 16 from 206 yards, but honorable mention goes to Camilo Villegas, who made an improbable birdie on 18 by playing under a tree and over the lake to the back bunker, where he pitched in for three.

Quote of the day: "I kind of had a feeling, man. That [downhill] putt on 18 is exactly what you want under pressure." - Every

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