Piller, Lewis fall short of podium for U.S.

By Jay CoffinAugust 20, 2016, 6:32 pm

RIO DE JANEIRO – There was a time on Saturday when it looked like Americans could occupy two spots on the Olympic podium. They ended up occupying none.

After an opening-round 68 Lexi Thompson was a non-factor, even though she did shoot 66 in the final round and tied for 18th place. Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller were the best hopes for the red, white and blue.

Piller was in the last group with ultimate winner Inbee Park and silver medalist Lydia Ko and began the day only two shots behind. She got off to a shaky start with bogeys on the first two holes but steadied the ship with birdies on two of the next three holes. A seven-hole stretch where Piller made three bogeys set her back so far that even the bronze medal was out of reach. She shot 74 and tied for 11th place.

“I didn’t even think I had a chance to be here, so to come and to be in contention is all I can really ask for,” Piller said. “Just going to learn from it and move on.”


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Piller wasn’t even on the U.S. team until an eighth-place tie at the U.S. Women’s Open last month vaulted her into the top 15 in the world ranking.

Lewis entered the Olympics with low expectations because, even though she played six events in a row at one point this summer, she took the last two weeks off to get married. Her preparation was not typical. But a second-round 63 where she seemingly made every putt she looked at, gave her a chance at victory.

The third round finish will be something Lewis thinks about for a long time, especially a double bogey on the last hole that resulted in a 5-over 76.

On a windy Saturday Lewis went out with nothing to lose and started to get hot with the putter again. Birdies on 16 and 17 gave her an outside shot at a bronze medal, and a birdie at the last would’ve got her into a playoff for third place, but she left her putt inches short of the cup. She shot 66 and tied for fourth place, one shot behind the bronze-medal position.

“You’ve got 60 players in the field and only three can be on the podium,” Lewis said. “It was going to be hard to get there anyway. You’ve got all the top players in the world here. You’re going to have to play some great golf to get up there on the podium.”

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.

LPGA:

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