Fowler joining McIlroy at 2015 Irish Open

By Will GrayNovember 18, 2014, 1:28 pm

After a trio of high-profile duels this year, Rickie Fowler and Rory McIlroy will look to rekindle their budding rivalry next summer at a familiar venue.

McIlroy will headline the field at the Irish Open, which benefits his Rory Foundation, and the Ulsterman announced Tuesday that Fowler will be joining him for the May 28-31 event.

It will be played on a course familiar to both: Royal County Down in Northern Ireland, which hosted the 2007 Walker Cup when a star-studded U.S. squad that included Fowler, Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson, Billy Horschel and Chris Kirk beat McIlroy's team from Great Britain & Ireland, 12 1/2 to 11 1/2.

Fowler and McIlroy went toe to toe at the Open Championship and PGA Championship this summer, which both ended in a McIlroy victory and a  Fowler near-miss. The two were reunited at the Ryder Cup in September, when McIlroy again got the upper hand both in foursomes play and in their Sunday singles match, which he won 5 and 4.

"I am delighted that Rickie has decided to add the Irish Open to his schedule next year," McIlroy said. "Rickie’s performances in the majors and the Ryder Cup this year showed that he is not only one of the top players in the world, but also one of the most watchable. I know the Irish crowds will really take to him and enjoy seeing him in action next May."

After top-five finishes in each of the four majors this year, Fowler is up to No. 9 in the OWGR and looks forward to meeting McIlroy on a course where they first matched up as 18-year-old amateurs.

"When Rory told me the Irish Open was going to Royal County Down, I was really keen to play because of the special memories we have there, and also because it is such a great course," Fowler said. "It’s amazing what the players from that Walker Cup have gone on to achieve in the years since we played there, so I’m sure Rory and I will have plenty to reminisce about."

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