Makeover Diary - Wild Bill Cannon

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 10, 2004, 4:00 pm
Natural Golf Makeover ChallengeEpisode 1: Here I sit in a hotel in San Diego preparing for an early flight to Orlando. Im about to embark on one of the most exciting adventures of my life ' hold on golfing world.WildBill is on his way!!! Departed San Diego at 6:50 am ' had a three hour layover in Cincinnati and landed in Orlando at 6:40 pm. What a long freaking day!! Jeff Muddell and his assistant producer Ashley met me at the airport.
Also met the other participants ' Kevin Odberg from Hartford, CT, Ken Dashow from New York City and Ralph Sanzari from Martinez, CA. The fourth participant Summer Jones from Texas missed her flight so Ill meet her tomorrow. Were staying at the Crowne Plaza Hotel ' very nice! Had dinner with everyone at Mortons Steakhouse where we met Andrew Wyant, President & CEO of Natural Golf. Everyone if very cool ' had lots of fun and laughed a lot!
* Very busy day ' we were to meet in the lobby of the hotel at 6:20 a.m. Summer was running late so we didnt leave til 6:45. Finally we were on our way ' we are playing at Reunion Golf Club. Arrived at Reunion Golf Club and they had a catered breakfast waiting for us which was very cool. We met the film crew which consisted of 9 ' 11 cameras, sound guys, the director, a gib and a boom.
Anyway ' after breakfast we got wired for sound and stared on our day of golf. 18 holes 'shot lousy. Dont know if it was the cameras or the intimidation of the other playersbut I had fun! I broke a 7 iron on a par 5 hole that happened to be caught on tape. I was even interviewed by Vince Cellini ' the host.
After the game we met with our three gurus. The first one was a retired NFL coach named Lou Holtz. Very cool guy ' could listen to him talk all day. The next guru was the fashion guru ' Marty Hackle. He writes the Ask Mr. Style column in Golf Digest. This guy shows up in red pants, a purple belt and a striped shirt ' and they say I need a makeover!!!! He said he pictures me in tie-dye ' God I hope hes kidding!! Wrapped up shooting for the day and met for dinner at an Italian restaurant named Buca de Peppas with the rest of the Golf Channel and Natural Golf staff. End-o-day.
* Day started at 6:30 a.m. with ride to Reunion Golf Course and another catered breakfast. After breakfast we did individual interviews and did some opening shots for the show. After that we had individual skills assessment where the head instructor for Natural Golf Ed Wornicz watched how we shot. After Ed evaluated us all we went to the driving range for some instruction on the Natural Golf method. We were all given a practice golf club and the swing system, DVD and book.
On the way back to the hotel we were informed of a surprise that they had in store for us ' they were flying us all to Chicago to visit the national headquarters of Natural Golf. We had 40 minutes to pack and be back in the lobby to catch a flight to Chicago! We boarded the 767 headed for Chicago on time well most of us were on time ' Summer was on summer-time but fortunately for her- the flight was delayed due to a leak in one of the jet engines. The flight was eventually cancelled and ended up on a flight to Atlanta, Georgia where we will spend the night and fly on to Chicago in the morning.
* Arrived in OHare for our trip to Mt. Prospect, Illinois where the national headquarters for Natural Golf is located. We checked into a cheapie motel there to freshen up before our shoot at the headquarters. Like being around cameras 24/7 isnt intimidating enough ' try seeing Vince Cellini walking around your room in a towel!! Wish I wouldve had a camera! We had a tour of the factory and were each fitted for a custom set of Natural Golf Clubs ' compliments of Natural Golf! How cool is THAT?! Also did some taping for the show as well. Later we checked into the Hard Rock Hotel in downtown Chicago. Very cool ' real modern theme. Lots of chrome. We all met for dinner at a real Chicago pizzeria ' great food! After dinner we went to a bar on the 95th floor of the Hancock building! Great view! I fell in love with Chicago ' the city is clean, the people are nice and friendly ' would love to bring Kat here one day. I know shed like it. Early flight back home in the morning.
Natural Golf Makeover ChallengeEpisode 2: Jeff Muddell and the camera crew came to Winchester today. We did some taping of my home life and around the town so they could get to know me a little better. They set up in the living room and interviewed Kat about her feelings on me getting into golf. Then it was time for my famous turkey tacos and some cold beer. The guys loved them! Kat introduced Jeff to some almond tequila to help him relax a little once he got back to his room.
* Met Jeff this morning on our way to Desert Willow in Palm Springs for my first lesson with the private instructor that they set me up with. Cliff Armstrong is one of the best instructors that they have and Im lucky enough to get him all to myself for two months! Cant wait to get started. He gave me a Natural Golf Navigator to help me gain a proper swing and stance and ball placement. After my lesson ' we drove down to Sherman Oaks to meet up with Ralph Sanzari and his wife Suzi. Ralph and I did our fitness segment with Kelly Blackburn at a Ballys gym. I think my flame gym shorts were a hit!
Kelly gave me a work out program to follow along with a healthy eating plan. I wouldnt call it a diet ' just a new way to eat. Ill give a try ' what have I got to lose. We all met up for dinner at Siselys. Good food ' lots of laughs. Found out that Jeff has a weird fascination with the way the Irish say 40 (farty). He was having a good time. Kat and I walked back to hotel a little early to get some sleep. Have a big day ahead of us tomorrow.

* My first golf tournament ' how exciting. We all met in the lobby to head on over to the LPGA Office Depot Championship Tournament. Of course that was after Kat made her Starbucks run for her latte and Jeffs vanilla steamer (dont know what that is all about!) Anyway we got to the tournament and waited for Jeff to get his media pass. We didnt even make it into the tournament before Suzi found something to buy (that woman can shop like no ones business!) We were like little kids at their first circus ' didnt where to go first.
We met so many people ' Kat got a LPGA visor and I attempted to get Laura Davies' autograph but I guess I wasnt being aggressive enough. Kat took over and ended up with a whole visor full of autographs. Ralph and I got a chance to meet and talk on camera with Amy Alcott. Very nice lady ' Jeff introduced me to her and she commented that I was very marketable. I think thats good She gave some advice to remember ' keep a loose grip and to keep our heads down but most of all to have fun. Sounds like good advice to me. We watched Annika Sorenstram tee off from the 9th hole with her ball ending up on the 18th green! She ended up having to take a drop because the grandstands blocked her from the 9th green. What a great golfer though ' she ended up winning the tournament with her 50th championship win. What an awesome day!!
Natural Golf Makeover ChallengeEpisode 3:I weighed in this morning at 187 pounds. After work I did the training program that Kelly planned out for me and walked 1 miles. My dinner was a grilled chicken breast and broccoli. I even switched over to MGD Light. Hows THAT for dedication!
* Met with Cliff for second lesson session today. He had me work on wedges and 7 iron. He showed me how I need to come under the ball while taking out turf and not to kill the ball. Its all about timing and a consistent rhythm. We worked on aiming by not looking at the top of the ball but at the back of the ball. Learned a lot ' was a good day. No exercising today ' didnt get home from Palm Springs til 9:00pm and was tired. I had a chicken salad and diet coke for dinner. Of course I had a light beer when I got home.
* I walked two miles today after work. I did my exercise program minus the rubber band exercise. Had a taco salad and two Coors light beers for dinner. So far ' so good.
* Had my session with Cliff at a golf shop in Palm Desert. He introduced me to a guy who did a 3D analysis of my golf swing. He hooked me up to some body sensors and also on my club so when I took a swing it inputted my movements into a computer program so that we could analyze it at all angles. Very cool ' learned a lot. I can feel that I am improving. They gave me a DVD of my swing so when I got home the first thing I did was put it in the computer and show Kat. She was as impressed as I was. Then it was time for my walk ' did two miles ' and exercise program. The family had Kathys awesome spaghetti ' I skipped the noodles and just had the sauce and meatballs with a salad. Strangely enough ' I didnt feel deprivedthe sauce is the best part anyway! Oh ' and of course I had two light beers too.

* Went to a bed and breakfast in Big Bear to celebrate 3rd wedding anniversary. Despite the chocolates and champagne that was left in our room, I held to my eating program as best as I could. I took my portable exercise equipment with every intention of using it but the couples massage that my wife treated me to was so relaxing I forgot they were in my bag. I did do my strength training once while Kat was in the shower but that was it ' no aerobic exercises eitherwell none that Kelly prescribed anyway!
Natural Golf Makeover ChallengeEpisode 4:Weighed in at 185.4 lbs. Down a pound and a half! Way to go WildBill!! Did my aerobics, strength training and golf swings. Its a wonder what motivation you get from losing a mere pound! Had a tuna salad and yes, a lite beer for dinner.
* Met Cliff at Pala Mesa and focused on wedges, golf swing and chip shots. I had two bunless Jumbo Jacks and a diet coke for diner. Did my strength training but was too tired to do aerobic.

* Ashley, the assistant producer at the Golf Channel came to town to tape some footage of me at work and my golf lesson tomorrow. She was excited to meet the trophy wife with a nice rack that I am always talking about. She and Kat hit it off right away. We had grilled chicken and steaks with salad and corn for dinner. No training at all (have to make it up later.)
* Ashley came to job site around 12:30 pm and taped me doing a fiber splice then followed us to yard for more taping. She got a chance to meet my partner Mike, Al and Ray and the rest of the guys. After work Al joined us and we drove to the Pala Mesa golf course. Ed Wornicz was there and watched the lesson ' he added his two cents in every once in a while. Did some stopping and running shots, chipping and short game fundamentals. After the session we went to the bar for a couple of beers ' yes I had lite beersthen went to dinner at Claim Jumper.
Ashley scored major points by sending home a berry pie for Kat!! Was a good day although I had to go to work that night.
* Got home at 4 am ' had the rest of the day off. Walked two miles and did Kellys program. Practiced chipping in the back yard.
* Went and got a driving net and set it up in the back yard. Also set up the video camera on the tripod so I could get some home footage of my practices. Twenty minutes into my practice, I drove the navigator straight into the driving net! Oops No walking today. Went to a bbq at a friends ' Had a hamburger patty, some deviled eggs and raw veggiesand lite beer. Gotta tell you ' a bag of popcorn is sounding pretty damn good about now.
Natural Golf Makeover ChallengeEpisode 5:Had a HOG meeting this morning ' out for a motorcycle ride. Was nice to get out and relax. Got back and had lots to do around the house and property. Practiced swing for a bit and walked 2 miles. Dinner was meatloaf, hominy and some lite beers.
* Weighed in at 183.1lbs. - emailed Kelly to tell her the good news. Walked 2 miles then practiced in the backyard for an hour. Worked with exercises that Kelly made.
* Ate a hardy breakfast (Kelly would be proud). Met up with Al after work to go to Desert Willow for a great practice session. Man thats a long drive ' 75 miles to hit a golf ball for an hour or sobut Im sure it will be worth it in the long run. Cliff helped with me recognize some bad habits that I will need to work on. After the session went for dinner ' had chicken salad and diet coke. When I finally got home I walked 1 miles on the treadmill but was too tired to do Kellys program ' will make it up tomorrow.
* Usual work day ' good breakfast, lite lunch. After work I was off to Desert Willow again. We played my first real round of golf (9 holes) with Cliff. I had a lot of good shots but need to keep my head down and quit raising my left arm. Good day though - fun playing with Cliff. Great instructor, I feel very comfortable with him and his teachings.
* Best day yet!! Good night sleep and great breakfast. Good day at work, pumped and ready to go to Desert Willow (again). Met up with Cliff and Bernadette to play 9 holes and was very pleased with myself. I stayed focused and in control. Didnt want the day to end. Desert Willow is an awesome courselove it.
* Took the day off to get some stuff done before heading off to Houston for the Shell Open. Very excited to meet up with the other participants again. Wish Cliff could attend. My flight to Phoenix left on time ' I met up with Ralph at the Fox Network bar for a quick beer then we both flew into Houston together. Arrived in Houston at 1:30 am and finally made it to bed around 3 a.m.
Natural Golf Makeover ChallengeEpisode 6:Rain, Rain, Rain. Looks like the Shell Houston Open will be postponed till Monday so with our plans of watching a day of golf were washed down the fairway ' we all went to a film studio to do some green screen taping for opening segments of show. After taping we went to lunch and then to and an arcade to kill time before flying home. Said our goodbyes and flew home. Arrived home about 10 pm - was nice to be home.
* Weighed in at 181.6 pounds ' down almost 5 pounds! Would kill for a bag of popcorn Went to work had good breakfast and lite lunch. No treadmill today but worked on my swing for a while.
* After work it was off to Pala Mesa to meet Cliff. Shot 9 holes ' had some good shots. Had an awesome shot that surprised even Cliff. I still need to work on my tempo and aiming ' gotta remember to keep my head down. How difficult could that be? Its tough because I keep wanting to watch where the ball goes. Cliff told me that if I keep my head down and follow through that the ball will go where I want it to so I dont have to watch it. Im an old dog ' it takes a lot to teach me a new trick!
* Had too much stuff to do after work so golf was the last thing on my mind. I feel lousy not being able to have the time to practice as much as I would like. Tried to have a pity party but Kat got on my ass and told me to stop trying to do everything myself. She made up a schedule for the kids to take on some of my chores so that I could make the show my priority. It feels good to get my ass kicked every once in awhile. Rode out to Indian Wells for an industry party that Kats company was doing. Got to play rough, tough biker for a night ' wasnt much of a stretch but had a good time.
* Woke up early to drive back home from Indian Wells then changed and went to work. I met Cliff at Pala Mesa after work. I shot like crap ' I couldnt focus to save my life. I think that I was just tired. Didnt do crap when I got home except go to bed. Too old to party late and go to work the next day.
* Here it is ' the weekend Ive been dreadingits my fashion makeover!! Got off work early and rode the Harley to La Costa to meet Jeff, Marty and Kelly. We had lunch with Ms. Versace who owns a boutique and is friend with Marty. Got fitted for some alterations. Kat arrived around 6-ish. We were joined at dinner by Justin and his wife Lynn. Justin was the first contestant on Breaking 90 which was a Golf Channel show as well.
* Got up early to meet Jeff and film crew. We did some footage of me arriving at La Costa on my bike. Kat slept in. We went over to the spa for the physical makeover and Kat arrived at the salon just as they were taking the first snip off my hair. Didnt go over too well but it was only an inch so she calmed down quickly.
They trimmed my fu-man-chu and shaped it into a goatee (Kat didnt argue with that at all ' shes been trying to get rid of that for a while!) Even got my first manicure on film. Then it was time for the clothesGod I hope he forgot about the tie-dye!! Turns out I was skeptical for no reasonMarty did an awesome job of selecting clothes that fit my personality. When I came out in my first outfit ' they had Kat on film to get her reaction. There were people at the course having lunch that actually thought Kid Rock was doing a fashion shoot! How funny is THAT!
There was only one shirt that I could do without ' it was this tight, red, wet-suit looking thing. Kat wasnt impressed with it eitherI sure hope they dont use that one on the show!! After modeling about 6 or 8 outfits ' Marty presented me with a pair of customer made leisure slippers with skulls and crossbones on the toe and a beautiful watch from Switzerland called the Silver Lady. The watch had a skull with wings and a saber for the second hand. Very cool. Then it was time to get Marty on the bike! Got some great shots of me and Marty riding off into the sunset. Then it was Kellys turn and I even gave Jeff his first ride on a Harley! It was a great day - everybody went out of their way for me.
Natural Golf Makeover ChallengeEpisode 7:Met Cliff and film crew at Desert Willow for more filming. Headed over to the Beer Hunter bar to share a few beers with Cliff ' Good guy.
* After work went to driving range and hit about 250 balls mostly with 46 degree wedge. Worked on aiming and keeping my head down. I did very well I thought. Walked 1 miles for exercise. Had a lean cuisine for dinner ' although all I want is a bag of popcorn!
* Had to cancel lesson with Cliff due to work. Rescheduled for Friday, May 7th. Did of swing drills. Had a salad with tuna for dinner.
* Off today due to working all night Tuesday. Went to range and hit approx 300 balls, felt good. Broke my 3-wood at the hozzle, hit 20 balls with it but went to clean the club afterward and head fell off. Met Al at North Course in Sun City later that day to play 18 holes. Lasted till hole 12 and my hands were killing melesson learned ' dont try to hit so many balls before playing a round. Ate good all day ' exercises on course.
* No golf or exercises today. Had HOG board meeting ' ate good though.
* Good day at work and awesome day at the range with Cliff. Best day yet ' everything came together and Cliff gave lots of great advice on bunker shots, rough and using driver. Felt great with great shots. Ate good ' no lunch though..too busy
* Plans to go to Renaissance Pleasure Faire were changed. Director duties at HOG were calling so Kat and I had to fill in as grill sergeants for Hot Dog Duty. No golf or exercises. Had a family night at the rodeo grounds watching motorcycle speedway races. How redneck is THAT! Kids had a blast. Ive got to call and ask Kelly about popcorn!!
* General meeting for HOG chapter today. After meeting worked on golf swing and to prep for final lesson with Cliff. Big surprises in store.
* Weighed in at 177.9! Almost 10 pounds since the start of the program ' emailed Kelly and guess what Im having for dessertyep ' POPCORN!!!! After work, chipped balls in back yard. Walked on treadmill.
* Film crew met me at Pala Mesa for my final lesson with Cliff. Kind of bummed ' I like him and hope he keeps in touch. Had a fair day golfing. Gave Cliff a Biker Makeover for a role reversal bit that we filmed for the show. Was lots of fun. Hope they decide to use it in the show.
* Got lots of stuff to do before going to Orlando, short walk and ate good.
* No golf or exercises ' needed a little mental break to reflect all Ive learned before Orlando.
Natural Golf Makeover ChallengeEpisode 8:Very busy day ' had to shop for Grandpa, get feed for the animals, clean the house, check emails, went to driving range for 1 hours and packed bags for Orlando. Kicked back for the rest of the day and caught up on the news. Kats mom came in from Idaho to stay with the kids while were gone.
* Picked up Al on our way to the airport. Arrived in Orlando at 7:00 p.m. ' what a long flight! Driver met us in baggage claim. He did some creative packing to fit all of our luggage and two sets of clubs in the car and still left room for three passengers!
Went to Hard Rock Hotel to drop off luggage and then straight to a luau where all the other contestants were enjoying some after dinner entertainment. Very cool to see everyone again and meet the wives. After the luau we checked into the hotel and met everyone in the Velvet Lounge of the hotel for drinks then off to bed.
* Got up early to meet Ashley in the lobby. The five of us went to the Reunion Course and met up with Lou Holtz ' what an amazing man! Then got to meet and play a round with PGA Tour player Craig Bowden who practices Natural Golf. Got to ride in the cart with Craig and he gave me lots of pointers which helped. Ate lunch under rainy clouds. The nemesis met up to play a round together. Kat met me back at the hotel after a day of lying by the pool and spa-ing with Jane, Otis wife. The group all met for dinner at Buca de Peppos including Lou Holtz and his wife and the Natural Golf execs. Went back to hotel and the Velvet Lounge for a nightcap ' that for some lasted until 4 in the morning!!!
* This is it ' what weve been training for for two months. Had a blast!! Did very well on front nine ' started psyching myself out on back nine until Andrew Wyant snuck me a cold MGD (not even an MGD Light but an honest to goodness, cold-filtered MGD in a bottle!) Damn that was a good beer!!
Dont remember what the final score was but I know it was my best round ever. After everyone was done with their rounds ' they got us all together and announced that the five of us were going to represent Natural Golf in the Dupont World Amateur Handicap Championship in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in August!!
Five glorious day of golf! What an awesome opportunity! We even get to keep our instructors until then! Had the final wrap party at a The Kitchen in the Hard Rock. More surprises were in store. Was nice to unwind and know that we all did our best. Thanks to Natural Golf and The Golf Channel for the opportunity of a life-time.
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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.

PGA Tour suspends Hensby for anti-doping violation

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 8:02 pm

Mark Hensby has been suspended for one year by the PGA Tour for violating the Tour’s anti-doping policy by failing to provide a sample after notification.

The Tour made the announcement Monday, reporting that Hensby will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

The statement reads:

The PGA Tour announced today that Mark Hensby has violated the Tour Anti-Doping Policy for failing to provide a drug testing sample after notification and has been suspended for a period of one year. He will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

Hensby, 46, won the John Deere Classic in 2004. He played the Tour this past year, playing just 14 events. He finished 142nd on the money list. He once ranked among the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking but ranks No. 1,623 today.

The Sunshine Tour recently suspended player Etienne Bond for one year for failing a drug test. Players previously suspended by the PGA Tour for violating the anti-doping policy include Scott Stallings and Doug Barron.

The PGA Tour implemented revisions to its anti-doping program with the start of the 2017-18 season. The revisions include blood testing and the supplementation of the Tour’s prohibited list to include all of the substances and methods on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list. As part of this season’s revisions, the Tour announced it would also begin reporting suspensions due to recreational drug use.

The Tour said it would not issue further comment on Hensby's suspension.

Good time to hang up on viewer call-ins

By Randall MellDecember 11, 2017, 7:40 pm

Golf announced the most massive layoff in the industry’s history on Monday morning.

Armchair referees around the world were given their pink slips.

It’s a glorious jettisoning of unsolicited help.

Goodbye and good riddance.

The USGA and R&A’s announcement of a new set of protocols Monday will end the practice of viewer call-ins and emails in the reporting of rules infractions.

“What we have heard from players and committees is ‘Let’s leave the rules and administration of the event to the players and those responsible for running the tournament,’” said Thomas Pagel, the USGA’s senior director of rules and amateur status.


The protocols, formed by a working group that included the PGA Tour, LPGA, European Tour, Ladies European Tour and the PGA of America, also establish the use of rules officials to monitor the televised broadcasts of events.

Additionally, the protocols will eliminate the two-shot penalty when a player signs an incorrect scorecard because the player was unaware of a violation.

Yes, I can hear you folks saying armchair rules officials help make sure every meaningful infraction comes to light. I hear you saying they make the game better, more honest, by helping reduce the possibility somebody violates the rules to win.

But at what cost?

The chaos and mayhem armchair referees create can ruin the spirit of fair play every bit as much as an unreported violation. The chaos and mayhem armchair rules officials create can be as much a threat to fair play as the violations themselves.

The Rules of Golf are devised to protect the integrity of the game, but perfectly good rules can be undermined by the manner and timeliness of their enforcement.

We have seen the intervention of armchair referees go beyond the ruin of fair play in how a tournament should be conducted. We have seen it threaten the credibility of the game in the eyes of fans who can’t fathom the stupidity of a sport that cannot separate common-sense enforcement from absolute devotion to the letter of the law.

In other sports, video review’s timely use helps officials get it right. In golf, video review too often makes it feel like the sport is getting it wrong, because timeliness matters in the spirit of fair play, because the retroactive nature of some punishments are as egregious as the violations themselves.  

We saw that with Lexi Thompson at the ANA Inspiration this year.

Yes, she deserved a two-shot penalty for improperly marking her ball, but she didn’t deserve the two-shot penalty for signing an incorrect scorecard. She had no idea she was signing an incorrect scorecard.

We nearly saw the ruin of the U.S. Open at Oakmont last year, with Dustin Johnson’s victory clouded by the timing of a video review that left us all uncertain if the tournament was playing out under an incorrect scoreboard.

“What these protocols are put in place for, really, is to make sure there are measures to identify the facts as soon as possible, in real time, so if there is an issue to be dealt with, that it can be handled quickly and decisively,” Pagel said.

Amen again.

We have pounded the USGA for making the game more complicated and less enjoyable than it ought to be, for creating controversy where common sense should prevail, so let’s applaud executive director Mike Davis, as well as the R&A, for putting common sense in play.

Yes, this isn’t a perfect answer to handling rules violations.

There are trap doors in the protocols that we are bound to see the game stumble into, because the game is so complex, but this is more than a good faith effort to make the game better.

This is good governance.

And compared to the glacial pace of major rules change of the past, this is swift.

This is the USGA and R&A leading a charge.

We’re seeing that with the radical modernization of the Rules of Golf scheduled to take effect in 2019. We saw it with the release of Decision 34/3-10 three weeks after Thompson’s loss at the ANA, with the decision limiting video review to “reasonable judgment” and “naked eye” standards. We’re hearing it with Davis’ recent comments about the “horrible” impact distance is having on the game, leading us to wonder if the USGA is in some way gearing up to take on the golf ball.

Yes, the new video review protocols aren’t a panacea. Rules officials will still miss violations that should have been caught. There will be questions about level playing fields, about the fairness of stars getting more video review scrutiny than the rank and file. There will be questions about whether viewer complaints were relayed to rules officials.

Golf, they say, isn’t a game of perfect, and neither is rules enforcement, though these protocols make too much sense to be pilloried. They should be applauded. They should solve a lot more problems than they create.

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.”