Stock Watch: Phil rises even though he falls

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 16, 2016, 2:01 pm

Each week on, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.


Phil (+6%): Pebble Beach underscored why the final chapter of Mickelson’s career is so fascinating: His talent and physical skills haven’t diminished, but can the 45-year-old hold it together mentally for four days?

Vaughn Taylor (+5%): He isn’t likely to set the world ablaze after winning the Clambake, but every now and then it’s refreshing to see how one great week – really, one great weekend – can change the fortunes of a 39-year-old journeyman.

Lydia Ko (+4%): Over the past two weeks, she has proved to be gracious both in defeat and in victory – after winning the New Zealand Open for her 15th pro title, she donated all of her winnings to her home country, which was rocked by an earthquake just before the final round.

East Lake (+3%): Reversing the nines for the FedEx Cup finale will produce more drama and excitement. Granted, that isn’t saying much – the old closing hole was a boring, 235-yard par 3.

Keith Pelley (+2%): The new European Tour CEO made good on his promise to call out the circuit’s slowpokes – in a tour press release, no less! The public shaming might not help speed up play, but it’s made the tour a lot more fun.

Charl Schwartzel (+1%): Eight of his 11 career Euro Tour titles have come in a four-month span between November and February. Or, in other words, when no meaningful golf is played.


Ryder Cup team building (-1%): Fishing trips with Tiger, dinners with Jack – um, how, exactly, will these experiences help the Americans make more putts during Sunday singles?

Mike Weir (-2%): Credit the diminutive left-hander for continuing to put himself out there, but at this point his decline, precipitated by injury, is just sad. Rounds of 77-76-79 at Pebble led to his 19th consecutive missed cut or withdrawal, dating to fall 2014.

Exhibitions (-3%): Cool idea to stage a Rory-Rickie duel under the lights, but why water down the product with a celebrity team component? (Didn’t we suffer enough at Pebble?) There’s nothing more compelling than head-to-head match play, especially in primetime.

Caddies (-5%): Now that their lawsuit has been dismissed, they can focus on a more pressing issue with the Tour: improved workplace conditions.

Anchoring (-7%): It took Bernhard Langer a whopping three starts to earn his first victory since the ban was enforced – and he still used the long putter! Sorry, governing bodies, but there is life after anchoring, after all.

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