Piller embracing dream of winning gold medal

By Jay CoffinAugust 19, 2016, 7:54 pm

RIO DE JANEIRO – Earlier in the week Gerina Piller was moved to tears when asked to describe what it would mean to win an Olympic gold medal.

After shooting a third-round 68 Friday that she said felt more like a 64 because of the difficult, windy conditions, Piller said she knows she belongs among the best in the game, even though she hasn’t collected a victory as a professional.

The final round Saturday will be one of the most important rounds of Piller’s career as she’ll have to battle the emotions of the moment while attempting to capture her first win, one that would put a gold medal around her neck.

“I allow myself to think about it,” she said about winning gold. “Because I’m a firm believer that when you see yourself doing something, and you keep running that through your mind, then you’re more likely to do that.

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“Just really see myself in contention, up at the top of the leaderboard, standing on that podium and just really giving myself belief and self-talk that I do belong there. I feel like I have a chance at this.”

Piller has eight top-10 finishes this year. Again, no victory. An eighth-place tie at the U.S. Open last month was just good enough to slide her into the top 15 in the world rankings, which was good enough to meet the criteria for entry into the Olympics.

On Friday, Piller took advantage of the front nine and shot 31 with four birdies. The last few holes were more of a struggle than previous days because they were suddenly playing into a 30 mph wind. Piller made birdie on the 16th hole when she hit her approach to 5 feet, but made bogey on the home hole because of a wayward drive and a poor fairway bunker shot that caught the lip.

“The good thing about today was I didn’t really panic at all when I was out of position and that was huge,” Piller said.

Piller is likely remembered most for helping the U.S. win the Solheim Cup in Germany last September. She drained a testy 8-footer to defeat Caroline Masson when a missed putt would’ve handed the Solheim Cup back to Europe. That experience gave Piller confidence heading into this season on the LPGA.

But none of that matters now. Piller is only two shots off the lead with 18 holes remaining in the Olympics. She desperately wants a victory for herself and her beloved red, white and blue, even though a top-three finish would be a momentous occasion.

“If something comes in my head and I use that as motivation and just a lot of confidence, I think that’s going to do me a lot of good,” Piller said.

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.


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