Tour players like changes, but what about DMDs?

By Rex HoggardMarch 1, 2017, 2:01 pm

MEXICO CITY – The USGA and R&A spent the last few weeks preparing top players for Wednesday’s release of the proposed modernization to the Rules of Golf.

USGA officials were on site at three West Coast events to brief players on the proposal, which include 30 possible changes to the rules, the R&A had representatives at the European Tour stop in Abu Dhabi earlier this year, and USGA executive director Mike Davis even had lunch with Rory McIlroy in south Florida last week to go over the proposed changes.

“I think it’s great, I said it to him, I think golf’s focus on the rules can sometimes turn people away a little bit, so to modernize and make them a little more simple is a good thing,” McIlroy said.

More then anything McIlroy said the proposed changes, which would go into effect in 2019, would help change the perception of the game for those who don’t play golf. Incidents like last year’s rules snafu at the U.S. Open when Dustin Johnson’s golf ball moved on the fifth green during the final round at Oakmont would be simplified and mitigated under the proposed changes.

Full list: Proposed changes to Rules of Golf

Rules of Golf modernization: Articles, explanations and videos

“What’s happened over the last couple of years with some rulings and high-profile things that have happened at crucial stages in tournaments, people look at that who might want to get into the game and are like, you know the rules are too complicated. I don’t really want to get into that,” McIlroy said. “Simplifying them, trying to make them a little more modern and try to move with the times. It’s a good thing.”

Most players who had been briefed on the possible changes didn’t need six months to formulate an opinion, instead they pointed out that anything that makes the game easier to understand is a step in the right direction.

“I think as long as it simplifies things for everyone and makes the rules easier to understand across the board it can't be bad,” Lucas Glover said.

Although most players embraced the possible changes, there were a few exceptions, like the proposal to allow distance-measuring devices during tournament rounds.

“I personally hope not,” Glover said when asked if he could imagine Tour players using DMDs during rounds. “I don't think it will speed up play, people will be getting cover numbers with their laser all over the place, plus it takes away the advantage of a good caddie.”

Even if the USGA and R&A allow the use of DMDs, the Tour could enact a local rule that would continue to prohibit the use of them during tournament rounds. The Tour did not specifically address the use of DMDs.

Russell Knox concurred with Glover that allowing DMDs to be used during tournament rounds could be counterproductive.

“College golf has proven it doesn’t speed up play,” Knox said. “Guys are always going to want numbers to the front [of the green], numbers to the back of the ridge, numbers to back. It really wouldn’t make much of a difference.”

But Brandt Snedeker, one of the circuit’s fastest players, had a different take.

“It’s certainly not going to slow things down,” Snedeker said. “Anything to help speed up the game a little bit. Guys will still use yardage books and still do their work, but when you get those weird numbers when you hit one off the planet and it’s hard to find a number, it [DMDs] could make a huge difference speeding stuff up.”

For some players there’s also an unknown element to some of the proposed changes that need to be addressed, like the adjustment that would allow for accidentally touching the sand in a bunker while preparing to hit a shot out of the hazard.

“It’s still a little bit unclear where you can ground your club in a bunker but you can’t ground it for testing. So if I lean on it is that considered testing?” asked William McGirt. “I think they are on a good track here. But there is a lot of discussion to be done in the next two years to get some more clarity.”

Still, most players who had been briefed generally found the proposed changes encouraging as an effort to simplify the rules and speed up play.

“Anything that makes the game faster, more fun and less difficult I’m all for,” Kevin Kisner said. “That’s the problem with the game. That’s what I tell people all the time, the game is going to die because it’s too slow, too difficult and there’s too many rules. It’s an easy fix to make it more fun, faster and easier.”

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. 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.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.