You Oughta Know: Shell Houston Open

By Will GrayApril 5, 2014, 9:20 pm

Matt Kuchar let one slip through his fingers last week in San Antonio, but he's once again in position to grab the trophy this week at the Shell Houston Open. Here's what You Oughta Know heading into the final round in the Lone Star State, where Kuchar holds a four-shot lead:

  • Kuchar tied for fourth after closing with a 75 at the Valero Texas Open, but now is the man to beat this time around. Should Kuchar win Sunday, it would be his seventh PGA Tour title and third win since February 2013.
  • Kuchar is known as one of the Tour's top ball-strikers, and that tee-to-green proficiency has been on full display this week in Houston. Kuchar leads the field in greens in regulation percentage, having hit 48 of 54 GIR, and missed only one green en route to a 4-under 68 in the third round.
  • While Kuchar appears to be in command, a large lead is hardly safe these days on the PGA Tour. Two weeks ago, Adam Scott carried a three-shot advantage into the final round at Bay Hill but finished third behind Matt Every, and last week Steven Bowditch won the Valero Texas Open but only after his three-shot cushion was trimmed to just one.
  • Sergio Garcia sits in a two-way tie for second, four shots behind Kuchar. He began the third round with the lead and, while he reached 13 of 18 GIR as he did in each of the first two rounds, his putter failed him. Garcia needed only 51 total putts across the first 36 holes, but took 30 putts Saturday while carding a 1-over 73.
  • Like Kuchar, Cameron Tringale played his college golf at Georgia Tech and now will try to chase down his fellow Yellow Jacket in search of his first career PGA Tour win. Tringale will begin the final round in second alongside Garcia, and is one of four players among the top seven that could earn the final spot in the Masters field with a win in Houston.
  • Jon Curran won earlier this year on the Web.com Tour, but he is making just his fifth career PGA Tour start - and making the most of it. Curran, a longtime friend of Keegan Bradley, will tee off Sunday in a tie for eighth, nine shots off the pace and in position for the largest payday of his professional career.
  • Retief Goosen is also tied for eighth through 54 holes, and a solid effort in the final round will secure the South African's playing privileges for the balance of the season. Goosen is in the final start of a major medical extension and needs to earn $50,625 this week in order to remain fully exempt for the rest of 2013-14.

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