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Report cards: 2017 U.S. Presidents Cup team

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 2, 2017, 12:05 pm

Daniel Berger (2-1-0)

Daniel Berger
Grade B+

Skinny: Berger suffered what turned out to be a rare American loss in foursomes, but he came out firing in his second match while exuding confidence throughout. The rookie also notched the winning point on Sunday.


Kevin Chappell (1-1-1)

Kevin Chappell
Grade B

Skinny: It was a strong but unspectacular debut for Chappell, who had two shots at the decisive point but came up empty both times. His best effort may have come Friday alongside Charley Hoffman in a fourballs rout.


Rickie Fowler (3-0-1)

Rickie Fowler
Grade A

Skinny: Fowler played in the first match Thursday and the last match Sunday and won both by the same 6-and-4 margin. In between, he was an emotional spark plug and one of four Americans to go undefeated.


Charley Hoffman (1-2-0)

Charley Hoffman
Grade C+

Skinny: Hoffman had one of the best celebrations of the week, but it came on a hole he ultimately halved in a match he and Chappell ended up losing. The 40-year-old rookie was the only American to finish the week below .500.


Dustin Johnson (4-0-1)

Dustin Johnson
Grade A+

Skinny: When the world No. 1 goes undefeated and leads the team in total points, he deserves top marks. Johnson quietly went about his business while other players stole the spotlight, but a singles’ draw with Branden Grace was the only thing keeping him from a 5-0 sweep.


Kevin Kisner (2-0-2)

Kevin Kisner
Grade A

Skinny: Kisner flourished in his rookie appearance alongside Phil Mickelson, going undefeated in team competition. From witty banter to the “Three Amigos” dance, it was a week to remember.


Brooks Koepka (2-2-0)

Brooks Koepka
Grade B

Skinny: Koepka won twice alongside the world No. 1, but he was one of only two Americans with two losses on his record. That included a singles loss to Adam Scott during which he lost five of the final seven holes.


Matt Kuchar (2-1-0)

Matt Kuchar
Grade B

Skinny: Kuchar had a predictably solid week, although he may have saved his best stuff for the interview room Sunday night. Two wins alongside Johnson combined with another Sunday loss as Kuchar dropped to 1-7-0 in team singles play.


Phil Mickelson (3-0-1)

Phil Mickelson
Grade A

Skinny: For the second straight Presidents Cup, Mickelson shattered expectations as a captain’s pick. Lefty took Kisner under his wing and fittingly was the last American left on the course Sunday. Now 8-1-3 in team play since 2015.


Patrick Reed (3-1-1)

Patrick Reed
Grade A

Skinny: Reed was once again back in his element, riling up the home crowds and teaming with Jordan Spieth in one of the strongest pairings of the week. His singles loss to Louis Oosthuizen went the distance, but it did little to diminish a strong performance.


Jordan Spieth (3-1-1)

Jordan Spieth
Grade A

Skinny: Spieth was clinical alongside Reed and continues to take on more of a leadership role in team competitions. His 0-5-0 lifetime singles record in cup play may be cause for concern, but his final match ended long after this one was decided.


Justin Thomas (3-1-1)

Justin Thomas
Grade A

Skinny: It’s hard to believe Thomas was a rookie, and he certainly didn’t play like one as he moved from one animated hole-out to the next. He couldn’t keep pace with Hideki Matsuyama in singles but looks like an American stalwart for years to come.


Steve Stricker, Captain

Steve Stricker
Grade A+

Skinny: In his first stint as captain, everything he touched turned to gold. Stricker leaned on his heavyweight pairings and seamlessly integrated a six-pack of rookies. A straightforward approach led to one of the biggest blowouts in event history.

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