Spieth (67) peppered with questions about ruling

By Ryan LavnerJuly 29, 2016, 7:21 pm

SPRINGFIELD, N.J. – Jordan Spieth stepped onto the podium next to the Baltusrol clubhouse Friday prepared to discuss the 3-under 67 that put him back in the mix at this PGA Championship. Instead, he was peppered with questions about a ruling he received on the seventh hole, for which there was no penalty.

The issue arose Spieth lost his tee shot on 7 way right. His ball settled in a puddle below the level of a gravel cart path. After consulting with rules official Brad Gregory and several attempts to drop, Spieth was allowed to place his ball on the path, taking relief from casual water. (He opted to play the ball off the path instead of dropping into the tall grass to the left, where he would have had little shot underneath a tree.)

Taking his normal stance, Spieth’s left foot would have still been in the puddle, so he altered his foot line and hovered his left toe above the water. The official on hand cleared him after a nine-minute ruling, and Spieth hit a sweeping hook that wound up over the back of the green. He made bogey.

Watching the replay on the telecast, CBS Sports announcer Gary McCord suggested that Spieth might be subject to a two-shot penalty because he didn’t take full relief from the casual water.

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Afterward, however, Spieth said he “never thought twice” about a potential infraction.

“I don’t think there’s any problem with it,” he said. “If there happens to be, then that’s not on me. I literally asked every question I could ask and I got every answer I could to be content. He said it was just fine, so it was just fine.”

Spieth said the ruling was “as complicated as I’ve ever really had,” but added that he never would have hit the shot if he hadn’t received the all-clear sign from Gregory.

The PGA of America later sent out an explanation for why Spieth did not receive a penalty, under Decision 20-2c/0.8.

"Once the ball was dropped and in play," the PGA said, "Jordan had the option to select another type of stroke or another type of club to actually play the shot and he chose to play a stroke to the right of a tree in an attempt to try to hook the ball toward the green.

“Jordan was entitled to either play the ball as it lay, even if his stance was still in the casual water, or he could have elected to take relief again from the casual water under this different type of stroke that he then elected to play.” 

The scene was reminiscent of a ruling involving Rory McIlroy that occurred at the European Tour event in Abu Dhabi in 2014. Officials determined after the round that McIlroy hadn’t taken full relief from a gallery crosswalk because his foot was still on the white line marking the drop area. He was assessed a two-shot penalty and said later, “There’s a lot of stupid rules and this is one of them.” He went on to win that week.

The difference here is that Spieth was told by a rules official that the drop was OK. In McIlroy’s case, it was the caddie of one of the players in his group that informed him of the potential violation, which was later confirmed via video review.

“He told me it was fine,” Spieth said. “I really don’t know why we’re talking about it, to be honest. It was a casual-water relief drop that took a little extra time. It was no problem.”

And so ended an eventful second round for Spieth, who began his day sitting in a tent near the 10th tee for about 45 minutes as the crew worked to make the course suitable for play. After needing 15 holes to make his first birdie Thursday, he opened with back-to-back birdies and turned in 4-under 32. He went 1 over on the front nine, his lone mistake coming at the seventh.

“I’m striking the ball beautifully,” he said. “The driver went a little astray, but overall I feel like I’m in a good position to make a run. I just need a couple of good rounds.”

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Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

Masters victory

Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative

Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket

Man of the people

Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

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Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together

Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018

Departure from TaylorMade

Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'

Victory at Valderrama

Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
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Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

Well, this is a one new one.

According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.