Fore Things: Rory can take over as world No. 1

By Rex HoggardMarch 5, 2017, 12:38 am

MEXICO CITY – Justin Thomas leads Dustin Johnson by one shot at the WGC-Mexico Championship, and that - as entertaining as it is by itself - tells only a fraction of the story through 54-hole at Club de Golf Chapultepec.

1. Earlier this week Rory McIlroy was asked the importance of being world No. 1, and he admitted it was essentially an ego boost. If all goes well on Sunday, his ego will be boosted. If McIlroy, who is tied for third place and two shots back, wins on Sunday and current world No. 1 Dustin Johnson (who is in second place) finishes in a tie for fourth or worse, the Northern Irishman will move back into the top spot. McIlroy last held the No. 1 ranking in June 2015.

2. The reviews for this week’s stop in Mexico and Club de Golf Chapultepec have largely been positive, but the poa greens have left a few players confused and a little cranky. Asked to explain the difference between this week’s greens and those at Riviera, which are also poa, Johnson had an interesting take. “Well, I mean Riv's greens roll fantastic,” said Johnson, who won two weeks ago at Riviera.


WGC-Mexico Championship: Articles, photos and videos


3. Jim “Bones” Mackay was back on Phil Mickelson’s bag on Day 3 after taking Friday off to recover from a stomach virus. Mackay was noticeably slow moving around the course as he continued his recovery on Saturday. “He was good; Bones was good today. Yeah, it seemed to be only a 24-hour thing,” Mickelson said.

4. Justin Thomas’ father, Mike, has a collection of golf balls from the tournament's his son has won that he keeps in a special case. That said, the display for the balls Justin's used to make a hole-in-one is a little less grand. Following his ace at the 13th hole on Saturday, Thomas was asked what his father would do with the ball. “I think he has them like in a shoe box in his office,” he said.

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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

Sharma among three Open qualifiers at Joburg Open

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:16 pm

Shubhankar Sharma earned his first career European Tour win at the rain-delayed Joburg Open and punched his ticket to The Open in the process.

Sharma returned to Randpark Golf Club Monday morning after storms washed out much of the scheduled final day of play. Beginning the re-start with a four-shot lead, he hung on to win by three over South Africa's Erik Van Rooyen.

Both men can make travel plans for Carnoustie next summer, as this was the second event in the Open Qualifying Series with three spots available for players not otherwise exempt who finished inside the top 10. The final spot went to Shaun Norris, who tied for third with Finland's Tapio Pulkkanen but had a higher world ranking (No. 192) than Pulkkanen (No. 197) entering the week.

The Joburg Open was the final official European Tour event of the year. The next tournament in the Open Qualifying Series will be the SMBC Singapore Open in January, where four spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs.