By the numbers: Key stats from Rd. 3 at Masters

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 9, 2017, 12:00 am

Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia are tied for the lead after three rounds at Augusta. Here are the key stats from the third round at the Masters provided by the Golf Channel editorial research unit.

• Every Masters champion since 1990 was inside top 5 entering final round

• 27 of last 30 Masters champions were at/within three strokes of the lead after 54 holes

• 72.5 percent of Masters winners all-time were first or second entering final round

Justin Rose

• 5-under 67; ties lowest career round in Masters (fourth of career)

• 104 birdies/eagles in Masters since 2012 (10 more than anyone else)

• 30 under in third rounds of majors since 2014 (best of anyone in span)

• Trying to become second player to win majors at Merion and Augusta (Ben Hogan)

• First career 54-hole lead/co-lead in a major championship

• 34 under in weekend rounds in majors since 2012 (best of anyone in span)

• Leads field in birdies through three rounds (16)

• Eight birdies on par 5s through three rounds (tied for most in the field)

Sergio Garcia

• 2-under 70; ties lowest third round score of Masters career

• Second career 54-hole lead/co-lead in majors (2007 Open, finished second)

• 13th time inside top 5 after 54 holes in a major championship

• Last 20 years only Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els have more instances

• 12 top-5s in majors, most of anyone without win last 75 years

• Second-most top-10s in majors all-time without a win (22)

• Most top-10s in majors at time of 1st win – Tom Kite, 19

Rickie Fowler

• 1-under 71; played last six holes in 2 under (two birdies, four pars)

• Fifth time in career inside top 3 through 54 holes in a major

• 22 under in third/final rounds of majors since 2012 (second-best in span)

• Eight birdies on par 5s through three rounds (tied for most in field)

• Five career top-5 finishes in majors (four were in 2014)

Jordan Spieth

• 4-under 68; fourth career round in 60s at Augusta National

• 12th round inside top 5 in Masters (15 rounds played)

• Played last 26 holes in 8 under (nine birdies, one bogey)

• Was 10 shots back after first round this week

• Only player to win major when 10 or more strokes back after first round – Harry Vardon, 1898 Open

• Finished second or better in three straight Masters

• Only player to do it four straight Masters is Jack Nicklaus (1963-66)

• Made 9 in first round; no player has won Masters with 8 or worse

Charley Hoffman

• 72 (Even); two shots off lead entering final round

• Played last five holes of round in 3 over par

• 4 over par in last 31 holes (was 8 under over first 23 holes)

• One top-10 finish in 22 major starts (T-9 at ’15 Masters)

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.”

Getty Images

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.


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.

Getty Images

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).

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm