You Oughta Know: Scott, Garcia set for Sunday duel

By Will GrayFebruary 28, 2016, 12:52 am

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – A Sunday showdown looms at the Honda Classic between two of the game’s biggest international names. Here’s what You Oughta Know heading into the final round at PGA National, where Adam Scott and Sergio Garcia share the lead:

• Scott was a runner-up last week at the Northern Trust Open, and he shot a third-round 66 despite a quadruple bogey on the 15th hole. He’s in search of his 12th PGA Tour victory and first since 2014 at Colonial.

• This is the 11th time Scott has held at least a share of the 54-hole lead on Tour, while this is Garcia’s 13th such opportunity. Scott has won six times in his 10 previous chances, while Garcia is just 3-for-12.

• Both Scott and Garcia had some heartache the last time they held a 54-hole lead. Scott blew a three-shot lead at the 2014 Arnold Palmer Invitational, finishing third after a final-round 76, while Garcia was passed by Rory McIlroy at the 2014 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational despite starting the day three shots clear.

• Scott’s best finish at this event is T-11 at TPC Heron Bay in 2001, while his best result at PGA National came in 2014 when he finished T-12.

• Garcia is in search of his ninth career PGA Tour victory, but his first since a win at the 2012 Wyndham Championship. His last worldwide win came in December at the Ho Tram Open in Vietnam. • In five prior starts in this event, Garcia’s lone top-10 finish came in 2014 when he tied for eighth.

• Since moving to PGA National in 2007, this event has seen six of nine champs hold at least a share of the 54-hole lead. But each of the last two 54-hole leaders (McIlroy in 2014 and Ian Poulter in 2015), failed to win.

• Blayne Barber is alone in third place at 5 under, four shots behind Scott and Garcia. Currently in his second full season on Tour, his best career finish is a T-8 at the 2015 Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

• After playing his first 36 holes without a bogey, Rickie Fowler failed to record a birdie during a third-round 74. He entered with a one-shot lead but is now five shots back as he looks for his fifth top-5 finish in his last six worldwide starts.

• Graeme McDowell (T-6) will be watching the FedEx Cup standings after his final round. McDowell entered the week at No. 8 in the points race, and should he remain in the top 10 after this event he will qualify for next week’s WGC-Cadillac Championship.

(Stats provided by the Golf Channel Research Department.)

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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
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Sharma among three Open qualifiers at Joburg Open

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:16 pm

Shubhankar Sharma earned his first career European Tour win at the rain-delayed Joburg Open and punched his ticket to The Open in the process.

Sharma returned to Randpark Golf Club Monday morning after storms washed out much of the scheduled final day of play. Beginning the re-start with a four-shot lead, he hung on to win by three over South Africa's Erik Van Rooyen.

Both men can make travel plans for Carnoustie next summer, as this was the second event in the Open Qualifying Series with three spots available for players not otherwise exempt who finished inside the top 10. The final spot went to Shaun Norris, who tied for third with Finland's Tapio Pulkkanen but had a higher world ranking (No. 192) than Pulkkanen (No. 197) entering the week.

The Joburg Open was the final official European Tour event of the year. The next tournament in the Open Qualifying Series will be the SMBC Singapore Open in January, where four spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs.

Rules changes include no more viewer call-ins

By Rex HoggardDecember 11, 2017, 12:00 pm

Although the Rules of Golf modernization is still a year away, officials continue to refine parts of the rulebook including an overhaul of the video review protocols.

A “working group” led by the USGA and R&A announced on Monday the new protocols, which include assigning a rule official to a tournament broadcast to resolve rules issues.

The group – which includes the PGA Tour, European Tour, LPGA tour and PGA of America – also voted to stop considering viewer call-ins when processing potential rule violations.

In addition, a new local rule was announced that will discontinue the penalty for signing an incorrect scorecard when the player was unaware of the violation.

In April, Lexi Thompson was penalized four strokes during the final round when officials at the ANA Inspiration learned via e-mail from a viewer of an infraction that occurred during the third round. Thompson was penalized two strokes for incorrectly marking her golf ball and two for signing an incorrect scorecard.

“The message is, as a fan, enjoy watching the game and the best players in the world, but also have the confidence that the committee in charge of the competition have the rules handled,” Thomas Pagel, the USGA’s senior director of the Rules of Golf, said on Golf Channel’s "Morning Drive" on Monday. “Let’s leave the rules and the administration of the event to the players and to those responsible for running the tournament.”

The working group was created in April to review the use of video in applying the rules and the role of viewer call-ins, and initially issued a decision to limit the use of video through the introduction of the “reasonable judgment” and “naked eye” standard.

According to that decision, which was not a rule, “so long as the player does what can reasonably be expected under the circumstances to make an accurate determination, the player’s reasonable judgment will be accepted, even if later shown to be inaccurate by the use of video evidence.”

The new protocols will be implemented starting on Jan. 1.

A comprehensive overhaul of the Rules of Golf is currently underway by the USGA and R&A that will begin on Jan. 1, 2019.