Punch Shot: Should viewer call-ins be disallowed?

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 26, 2017, 2:00 pm

The USGA and R&A released a new decision to the Rules of Golf Tuesday morning that will limit the use video, but it does not eliminate viewer call-ins. Should such feedback be disallowed to report possible infractions? Our writers weigh in.

By WILL GRAY

Golf as a sport has plenty of unique characteristics, with self-imposed penalties near the top of that list.

It makes for a tricky situation, then, when you try to find the line in the sand where valid sources of information stop in the event that a player misses an infraction.

The situation has negatives on both sides. Limit call-ins and you could potentially have a tainted title if a player goes un-penalized for what in hindsight is a clear infraction. Let the calls flood in, and you have major titles decided by 8-handicaps on the couch.

This morning, the NBA announced that LeBron James got away with a travel on a go-ahead shot in a close playoff win. But that announcement didn’t change the outcome of the game. I think that’s golf’s best option: limit the sources and put the trust in the players and on-site officials, even if it merely serves as the lesser of two evils.


By REX HOGGARD

Consider it an early shot across the bow of technology, with the USGA and R&A announcing on Tuesday that the use of video technology will now include a measure of “reasonable judgment.”

Common sense has long been a missing component to the Rules of Golf, and anything that includes more prudence is an improvement. Where the “working group” appears to have strayed into dangerous ground is in regards to what is labeled “information from sources other than participants.”

Viewer call-ins, emails and social media posts appear to have become public enemy No. 1, with many players criticizing the practice in the wake of the Lexi Thompson ruling earlier this month at the ANA Inspiration.

Although it appears the rule makers may be leaning in this direction, not all of golf’s institutions share the same sentiment.

“I don’t think we would do away with call-ins,” Andy Pazder, the Tour’s chief of operations, told GolfChannel.com earlier this month. “Our current attitude is we will accept information from all sources.”

Golf doesn’t have officials poised with yellow flags or whistles to call penalties when a player, be it intentional or otherwise, runs afoul of the rules. The central tenets of the game require the integrity of the competition to be protected, regardless of where that information comes from.


By RYAN LAVNER

Yes, but it’ll require a fundamental change in how golf is perceived. It’s always been a game of integrity and honesty and character and sportsmanship … and getting rid of viewer call-ins would put golf in the uncomfortable position of being like every other sport.

There are blown calls in every sporting event. A lineman commits an obvious holding penalty. A forward commits an obvious foul in the paint. An umpire misses an obvious third-strike call.

Wailing against the officiating is part of what makes sports so great, but there’s also a serious undercurrent there – that whatever happened on the field or on the court has in some way been compromised by human error.

Getting rid of viewer call-ins sounds like a good idea in theory, because it’s not a level playing field with only a dozen or so players shown on a broadcast. But what about when a player commits an obvious penalty – like a hold or a foul or a blown third strike coal – and is not held accountable?

Golf might have to find out if being like other sports is actually worth it.


By RANDALL MELL

No, but put the armchair referees on a clock.

When the first round ends, it’s closed out and becomes official when the second round begins. No viewer interventions can affect the first round once that second round begins. And it keeps going like that, with each round becoming official once the next round begins, limiting viewer interventions to that time clock. In cases where rounds overlap, because of suspended play issues, make a round official as soon as it ends. And make the tournament official once the final scorecard is signed.

That’s pretty much the plan Stacy Lewis proposes, and while there’s no perfect answer to golf’s great armchair referee headache, there’s logic and symmetry in giving each round a life of its own.

It seems to be all about pain management in dealing with viewer interventions, and 24 hours makes sense as a tourniquet.

Getty Images

Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

"That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

Getty Images

Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

Getty Images

Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

Getty Images

Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.