Great debate: Arguing the Lexi ruling

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 3, 2017, 4:34 pm

The ruling that led to a four-stroke penalty for Lexi Thompson during the final round of the ANA Inspiration sparked debate that transcended the game. senior writers Rex Hoggard and Ryan Lavner were also fired up and went back and forth on email with differing opinions:

HOGGARD: Uncomfortable? Absolutely. Unfortunate? Without a doubt. Avoidable? No, at least not under the current rules. The social universe can scream all they want about how stupid golf is to penalize Lexi Thompson on Sunday, but the fact is she violated a rule and paid the price for it regardless of who reported the infraction.

LAVNER: No one is debating whether a rule was broken here. She clearly played from an incorrect spot. That’s a two-shot penalty. Fine. Why people are (rightfully) fired up is simple: Because TV viewers should not be allowed to determine the outcome of an event – especially a day late. 

HOGGARD: So the alternative to your point is that if a rules official or fellow competitor sees a violation that’s fine, but if someone watching at home sees a violation (a clear violation) that’s just the luck of the draw? Isn’t the point to assure a fair competition, regardless of how an infraction is discovered?

LAVNER: So, if we’re trying to assure a fair competition, regardless of how it was discovered, you’d be OK with armchair officials phoning in missed holding calls in football and blocking charges in basketball and pitches that actually painted the black? Of course not. In those sports, only an official is allowed to call penalties. It should be the same way in golf. Put an official in charge of monitoring the TV feed. If he spots an infraction, there’s a penalty. If he misses it, well, that’s sports, and there are good breaks and bad. Common sense. Keep the viewers out of it. 

HOGGARD: Other sports don’t have 144 competitors spread out over acres of land on a sprawling playing field. Other sports don’t call penalties on themselves. Other sports (with the exception of cricket) don’t go from dawn to dusk over four days. Golf is not like other sports. Also, officials didn’t just take Joe Viewer’s word for it and dole out penalty strokes. They reviewed the footage, countless times we would imagine, before they penalized Thompson. This is no different, for example, than an official asking a fan where a shot went out of bounds or crossed into a hazard to assure the correct drop is taken. How is this different?

LAVNER: Because those aren’t infractions. In the situation you described, rules officials are gathering as much data as possible to make a decision that doesn’t grind pace of play to a halt. The Lexi case is yet another example of how the Rules allow casual fans to play “gotcha!”. Clearly the USGA and R&A have realized this is unfair – that’s why there is a new “reasonable judgment standard” in the proposed rules changes so players aren’t subjected to second-guessing. In 2019, if those changes are approved, Lexi would not have received the second two-shot penalty. 

HOGGARD: And those changes will be a much-needed and welcome adjustment to the golf landscape, but that doesn’t change the reality now. Under the current rules, Thompson deserved her penalty strokes, whether it came from a rules official standing over her shoulder on Saturday, a fellow competitor or a random fan watching at home. This wasn’t a “gotcha” moment. It was the correct execution of the current rules. The alternative is a victory that is overshadowed by an obvious infraction.

LAVNER: Um, that’s not much better than what we now have – an overshadowed major winner, So Yeon Ryu. Here’s guessing video review will soar to the top of the list of priorities for golf’s governing bodies before the next wave of rules changes. (You and I can both agree it’s more significant than the height a player takes a drop.) Video review is beginning to affect more and more big events. Golf deserves a common-sense solution. 

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Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'

President at the Presidents Cup

Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump

Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

Cart on the green

Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green

Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open

Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National

Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

Trump golf properties


Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers

Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up

Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.