Match-by-match results: WGC Match Play, Day 3

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 25, 2016, 6:23 pm

It's the final day of pool play with several win-or-go-home matches at the WGC-Dell Match Play. Follow along here to see who advances to the Round of 16: 

Group 1: (1) Jordan Spieth def. (31) Justin Thomas, 3 and 2. Spieth (3-0-0) won the second hole and never trailed thereafter against his longtime friend, easily advancing to the Round of 16. Thomas (0-3-0) didn't win his first hole until No. 10.

Group 1: (51) Jamie Donaldson def. (39) Victor Dubuisson, 1 up. Donaldson (2-1-0) had the lead for every hole but the nith, when Dubuisson (1-2-0) got the match back to all square. Donaldson won the next three holes, however, and hung on for the win. 

Group 2: (2) Jason Day def. (25) Paul Casey, WD: Casey (0-2-1) had been battling a stomach virus all week, and after six holes he couldn't continue. Casey won the first two holes, but then Day (3-0-0) was able to level the match at No. 6. That's when Casey decided to withdraw and get ready for the Masters. Meanwhile, Day became the first player to make the Round of 16.

Group 2: (36) Thongchai Jaidee and (62) Graeme McDowell halved. Jaidee (1-1-1) had a one- or two-hole lead through 11 holes, but McDowell (0-1-2) won the 12th with an eagle and the 13th with a par to pull even. They traded wins at 14 and 15, then halved the next three holes for the tie. 

Group 3: (3) Rory McIlroy and (26) Kevin Na halved. Na (2-0-1) held the biggest lead in the match, 2 up after six holes. But McIlroy (2-0-1) squared it through nine, and the two battled to a draw on the back. In their playoff, Na hooked his drive into a hazard on the second hole, then hit his third shot into a greenside bunker. McIlroy, with less than a full wedge, missed the green to the right, but managed to get up and down for the win.

Group 3: (64) Thorbjorn Olesen def. (46) Smylie Kaufman, 2 and 1. Neither player could pull more than one hole ahead until Kaufman (0-3-0) bogeyed the 13th to go 2 down. That was enough of a margin for Olesen (1-2-0).

Group 4: (63) Patton Kizzire def. (33) Emiliano Grillo, 2 up. Kizzire (1-0-2) took a 1-up lead by chipping in from 73 feet for eagle at the 16th hole, then birdied the 18th for the win and a spot in the Round of 16. Grillo finished 1-2-0 in pool play.

Group 4: (21) J.B. Holmes def. (4) Bubba Watson, 1 up. Watson (1-1-1) was 2 up through seven holes, but Holmes fought back to all square through 14 when Watson (1-1-1) bogeyed. Another Bubba bogey at 15 gave Holmes a 1-up lead, and both players parred in. 

Group 5: (47) Scott Piercy def. (58) Jason Dufner, 1 up. Dufner (1-2-0) led by one or two holes the entire match until No. 16, when Piercy (1-0-2) chipped in for eagle on the par 5. On 18, a wayward drive by Dufner led to a concession and the win for Piercy. Piercy lost a playoff to Byeong-Hun An for a spot in the Round of 16.

Group 5: (5) Rickie Fowler and (27) Byeong-Hun An halved. An (1-0-2) took the biggest lead of the match, 2 up, with a 94-yard hole-out eagle on the 13th and a birdie on the 14th. But Fowler (0-1-2) birdied the short par-4 18th to square the match. An beat Piercy in their playoff for a spot in the Round of 16.

Group 6: (30) Bill Haas def. (6) Adam Scott, 1 up: Haas (3-0-0) just needed a halve to move on, but the match came down to the 18th hole, where Haas made a birdie on the short par 4 to beat Scott (1-1-1) and advance.

Group 6: (55) Thomas Pieters def. (41) Chris Wood, 3 and 2: Pieters (1-1-1) was already 2 up on the par-4 15th, and he went three ahead with a birdie on his way to winning his first match. Wood ended the week 0-3-0.

Group 7: (28) Matt Kuchar def. (7) Justin Rose, 3 and 2. One up at the turn, Kuchar (2-0-1) made four birdies on the back nine to upset Rose (1-1-1) and advance.

Group 7: (48) Anirban Lahiri def. (57) Fabian Gomez, 4 and 2. Gomez (0-2-1) won the second hole to go 1 up, but won only one other hole. A Gomez bogey at the 15th gave Lahiri (1-1-1) a 3-up lead, and the winner stretched the margin to 4 up with a birdie at the 16th.

Group 8: (8) Dustin Johnson def. (22) Jimmy Walker, 2 and 1. DJ (2-1-0) took the lead on the fourth hole and never surrendered it. Two up at the turn, he won by the same margin as Walker (1-2-0) never came within one hole. DJ played off against Kiradech Aphibarnrat for a spot in the Round of 16, winning with an opening-hole birdie.

Group 8: (37) Kiradech Aphibarnrat def. (49) Robert Streb, 1 up. An extremely tight match, this one alternated between Aphibarnrat (2-1-0) being 1 up and the match being all square. Streb (1-2-0) never led. Aphibarnrat took his final lead with a birdie on the 13th, and the two matched pars the rest of the way. Aphibarnrat then lost a playoff to Dustin Johnson for a spot in the Round of 16.

Group 9: (42) Matthew Fitzpatrick def. (53) Daniel Berger, WD: This one never got started as Berger (0-3-0) withdrew due to an injured wrist. Berger hit a rock Thursday in his match against Phil Mickelson, and he decided to withdraw and rest up for the Masters. Fitzpatrick finished the week 1-2-0.

Group 9: (9) Patrick Reed def. (17) Phil Mickelson, 5 and 4. Reed (3-0-0) led by 7 up through 10 holes, thanks to two eagles (one a hole-out) and two birdies. Mickelson (2-1-0) cut the lead to 5 up through 13, but Reed closed him out on the next hole, sailing into the Round of 16. 

Group 10: (50) Jaco Van Zyl def. (40) Billy Horschel, 2 and 1. One up through 15 holes, Van Zyl (1-1-1) eagled the par-5 16th to beat Horschel's birdie, then matched biries on the par-3 17th to close out the match. Horschel finished 1-2-0.

Group 10: (10) Danny Willett def. (18) Brooks Koepka, 4 and 3. Willett (1-1-1) probably got a clue that it was his day when he won the second hole with a bogey to Koepka's double. Willett was 5 up at the turn, and though Koepka (2-1-0) won the next two holes, it was too little, too late. Koepka advanced to the Round of 16, though.

Group 11: (11) Branden Grace def. (32) Russell Knox, 5 and 4: Knox (1-1-1) controlled his own destiny, but he was never in this match against Grace (2-1-0). Grace birdied Nos. 5 and 6 to take a 2-up lead, and then he just needed a par on 7 to go 3 up. Knox's chances pretty much ended when he found the water on the par-3 11th and conceded the hole. Grace lost a playoff to Chris Kirk for a spot in the Round of 16.

Group 11: (56) Chris Kirk def. (38) David Lingmerth, 3 and 2: Kirk (2-1-0) was 2 up after two holes, and he never looked back against Lingmerth (0-2-1). Kirk defeated Grace in a playoff for a spot in the Round of 16.

Group 12: (43) Soren Kjeldsen and (52) Rafa Cabrera Bello halved. Kjeldsen (0-2-1) led 1 up at the turn as Cabrera Bello (2-0-1) made only one birdie on the front side. Kjeldsen was 1 up through 17, but Cabrera Bello birdied the par-4 18th to earn the half-point and advance.

Group 12: (12) Hideki Matsuyama def. (20) Kevin Kisner, 3 and 2. After the two halved the first seven holes, Kisner (1-2-0) bogeyed No. 8, giving Matsuyama (2-1-0) a lead he would never relinquish. Kisner didn't win a hole until No. 14, his only win of the day.

Group 13: (13) Sergio Garcia def. (25) Marc Leishman (25), 5 and 4. Garcia (2-1-0) quickly went 3 up as Leishman (0-2-1) bogeyed three of the first four holes. Garcia put the match away by winning Nos. 10, 13 and 14.

Group 13: (45) Ryan Moore def. (59) Lee Westwood, 3 and 1. With the match all square through 14 holes, Moore (2-0-1) won the next three holes with birdies to close out Westwood (1-2-0) and advance.

Group 14: (14) Zach Johnson def. (24) Shane Lowry, 4 and 3: Johnson (3-0-0) dominated this group and advanced to the Round of 16. Lowry (0-2-1) was 5 down after 10 holes and was never able to recover.

Group 14: (44) Martin Kaymer def. (60) Marcus Fraser, 4 and 3: This one was also a route, with Kaymer winning the opening four holes. Fraser dropped to 0-2-1.

Group 15: (15) Brandt Snedeker def. (19) Charl Schwartzel, 5 and 3. Schwartzel (2-1-0) actually led, 1 up, through seven holes, but bogeyed the eighth and ninth to give Snedeker (2-0-1) a 1-up lead.  Schwartzel drew even with a birdie on No. 10, but Snedeker then won the next five holes and advanced.

Group 15: (56) Charley Hoffman def. (34) Danny Lee, 4 and 2. Hoffman (1-2-0) won the first hole and led the entire match, including winning the par-3 11th with a double bogey to Lee's triple. Lee finished 0-2-1.

Group 16: (16) Louis Oosthuizen def. (29) Andy Sullivan, 4 and 2. A one-hole match through 13 holes, Oosthuizen (3-0-0) won the next three holes to advance. Sullivan finished 2-1-0.

Group 16: (35) Bernd Weisberger and (61) Matt Jones halved. Weisberger (0-2-1) led from the second hole through the 17th. He was 3 up after 15, but Jones (0-2-1) birdied the last three holes in a meaningless match

Getty Images

Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

Well, this is a one new one.

According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.

PGA Tour suspends Hensby for anti-doping violation

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 8:02 pm

Mark Hensby has been suspended for one year by the PGA Tour for violating the Tour’s anti-doping policy by failing to provide a sample after notification.

The Tour made the announcement Monday, reporting that Hensby will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

The statement reads:

The PGA Tour announced today that Mark Hensby has violated the Tour Anti-Doping Policy for failing to provide a drug testing sample after notification and has been suspended for a period of one year. He will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

Hensby, 46, won the John Deere Classic in 2004. He played the Tour this past year, playing just 14 events. He finished 142nd on the money list. He once ranked among the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking but ranks No. 1,623 today.

The Sunshine Tour recently suspended player Etienne Bond for one year for failing a drug test. Players previously suspended by the PGA Tour for violating the anti-doping policy include Scott Stallings and Doug Barron.

The PGA Tour implemented revisions to its anti-doping program with the start of the 2017-18 season. The revisions include blood testing and the supplementation of the Tour’s prohibited list to include all of the substances and methods on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list. As part of this season’s revisions, the Tour announced it would also begin reporting suspensions due to recreational drug use.

The Tour said it would not issue further comment on Hensby's suspension.

Good time to hang up on viewer call-ins

By Randall MellDecember 11, 2017, 7:40 pm

Golf announced the most massive layoff in the industry’s history on Monday morning.

Armchair referees around the world were given their pink slips.

It’s a glorious jettisoning of unsolicited help.

Goodbye and good riddance.

The USGA and R&A’s announcement of a new set of protocols Monday will end the practice of viewer call-ins and emails in the reporting of rules infractions.

“What we have heard from players and committees is ‘Let’s leave the rules and administration of the event to the players and those responsible for running the tournament,’” said Thomas Pagel, the USGA’s senior director of rules and amateur status.


The protocols, formed by a working group that included the PGA Tour, LPGA, European Tour, Ladies European Tour and the PGA of America, also establish the use of rules officials to monitor the televised broadcasts of events.

Additionally, the protocols will eliminate the two-shot penalty when a player signs an incorrect scorecard because the player was unaware of a violation.

Yes, I can hear you folks saying armchair rules officials help make sure every meaningful infraction comes to light. I hear you saying they make the game better, more honest, by helping reduce the possibility somebody violates the rules to win.

But at what cost?

The chaos and mayhem armchair referees create can ruin the spirit of fair play every bit as much as an unreported violation. The chaos and mayhem armchair rules officials create can be as much a threat to fair play as the violations themselves.

The Rules of Golf are devised to protect the integrity of the game, but perfectly good rules can be undermined by the manner and timeliness of their enforcement.

We have seen the intervention of armchair referees go beyond the ruin of fair play in how a tournament should be conducted. We have seen it threaten the credibility of the game in the eyes of fans who can’t fathom the stupidity of a sport that cannot separate common-sense enforcement from absolute devotion to the letter of the law.

In other sports, video review’s timely use helps officials get it right. In golf, video review too often makes it feel like the sport is getting it wrong, because timeliness matters in the spirit of fair play, because the retroactive nature of some punishments are as egregious as the violations themselves.  

We saw that with Lexi Thompson at the ANA Inspiration this year.

Yes, she deserved a two-shot penalty for improperly marking her ball, but she didn’t deserve the two-shot penalty for signing an incorrect scorecard. She had no idea she was signing an incorrect scorecard.

We nearly saw the ruin of the U.S. Open at Oakmont last year, with Dustin Johnson’s victory clouded by the timing of a video review that left us all uncertain if the tournament was playing out under an incorrect scoreboard.

“What these protocols are put in place for, really, is to make sure there are measures to identify the facts as soon as possible, in real time, so if there is an issue to be dealt with, that it can be handled quickly and decisively,” Pagel said.

Amen again.

We have pounded the USGA for making the game more complicated and less enjoyable than it ought to be, for creating controversy where common sense should prevail, so let’s applaud executive director Mike Davis, as well as the R&A, for putting common sense in play.

Yes, this isn’t a perfect answer to handling rules violations.

There are trap doors in the protocols that we are bound to see the game stumble into, because the game is so complex, but this is more than a good faith effort to make the game better.

This is good governance.

And compared to the glacial pace of major rules change of the past, this is swift.

This is the USGA and R&A leading a charge.

We’re seeing that with the radical modernization of the Rules of Golf scheduled to take effect in 2019. We saw it with the release of Decision 34/3-10 three weeks after Thompson’s loss at the ANA, with the decision limiting video review to “reasonable judgment” and “naked eye” standards. We’re hearing it with Davis’ recent comments about the “horrible” impact distance is having on the game, leading us to wonder if the USGA is in some way gearing up to take on the golf ball.

Yes, the new video review protocols aren’t a panacea. Rules officials will still miss violations that should have been caught. There will be questions about level playing fields, about the fairness of stars getting more video review scrutiny than the rank and file. There will be questions about whether viewer complaints were relayed to rules officials.

Golf, they say, isn’t a game of perfect, and neither is rules enforcement, though these protocols make too much sense to be pilloried. They should be applauded. They should solve a lot more problems than they create.

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.”