Press Pass Rule 88 Validating No 1

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 6, 2007, 4:00 pm
Press PassEach week, GOLF CHANNEL experts and analysts offer their thoughts and opinions on hot topics in the world of golf with the Press Pass.
Hot Topic
Do you agree with the LPGAs 88 Rule that states if any non-member shoots 88 or higher, she is banned from playing on tour the remainder of the year?
Brian Hewitt Brian Hewitt - Columnist,
Seems like the penalty doesn't fit the crime, doesn't it? Too harsh. I am also a little perplexed at why they plucked the number '88' out of the ether. Why not 90? Why not 100? Finally, as we saw, there's an easy way around the rule. If you are close to shooting 88 or worse, just withdraw before the end of your round.
Steve Sands Steve Sands - Reporter, GOLF CHANNEL:
Yes. It's the highest level of women's golf and the LPGA Tour should protect itself from non-members who don't have the ability to compete against those who do.
Steve Duemig Steve Duemig - Panelist, Grey Goose 19th Hole:
I most certainly do. A professional tour is supposed to be for the best of the best. There must have been a reason for this rule to be implemented in the first place, based on the past. The USGA has a similar rule, when trying to qualify for the Open, based on number of strokes over the course rating, and future applications.
Mark Rolfing Mark Rolfing - Analyst, GOLF CHANNEL:
No. I dont think that a finite number such as 88 makes sense. Obviously golf courses vary in terms of difficulty so the standard should be relative to difficulty. The USGA uses a formula relative to the course rating. Its a better system.
Mercer Baggs Mercer Baggs - Senior Producer,
I like the rule. I have no idea why it's 88, but if you can't break 88, especially in decent weather conditions, then you have no business playing on tour -- any tour. That being said, I am in no way offended by special players like MacKinzie Kline getting the occasional sponsor's exemption.
Hot Topic
This week is the McDonald's LPGA Championship. Does Lorena Ochoa have to win a major to validate her position as the No. 1 player in the world?
Lorena Ochoa deserves her ranking at No. 1. She is the best player on the LPGA right now, week in and week out and the stats prove it (she dominates so many categories). But before we begin to think of her as a dominant player in the Sorenstam mold she is going to have to start winning multiple majors and she's going to have to figure out how to be a more consistent closer.
Yes. Greatness in golf is measured by major championship titles. Plenty of players have won majors who were not great. But to be considered great in golf, I think you have to win at least one major.
Golf is probably different than team sports in that aspect. Many great players in sports have left competition without having won a Super Bowl, Stanley Cup, etc. I don't think having to win a major to validate a ranking is neccessary. A ranking is based on the player's perfomance over a certain period of time. If a person can grab hold of the No. 1 ranking without having won a major during that time, then blame the system. Getting to No. 1 validates that player by getting there. However, if you are judging a career, that is a whole different matter.
No. It is clear to me that Lorena is the No. 1 player in the world and certainly winning a major would validate that position even more. I think it is likely that Ochoa will win a major this year, but even if she doesnt I still think she will finish the season as No. 1.
Lorena is the best player in the game today ... but she's not dominant. At least not compared to Annika before her. Unfortuantely, Annika set the standard for greatness on the LPGA. In order for Lorena to be seen as dominant -- which is what we like to think of No. 1 players being -- she has to win majors. Not one, but multiple. Given her talent, I'd be suprised if she didn't get at least one this year.
Hot Topic
Woods and Mickelson are among those who have gotten an early look at Oakmont. Do you think this U.S. Open site will play tougher than Winged Foot?
Clearly, Oakmont is a tougher golf course than Winged Foot. How tough it plays will depend on how tough the USGA's Mike Davis sets it up. Davis is a reasonable man. He wants the golf course to play fair. But 'fair' is a subjective concept. I think if it's hot, windy and dry at Oakmont, 10 over par could be the winning score.
Depends on the weather. If it's hard and fast the winning score will be over par. If Oakmont is softened by rain the winning score will be under par.
I do, because of the severity of the greens at Oakmont and the length they have added. When players are having to hit woods to certain par-3s, it minimizes their accuracy chances, thus coming up with many more difficult situations.
I believe that Oakmont will play even tougher than Winged Foot. Any rain at all this week will thicken up the rough. I also think that Oakmont has the most difficult sets of green complexes in championship golf.
I never really bought into all of the complaining players do before a major, all the whining about how hard the course is going to be and how no one will finish under par. Until last year's U.S. Open. For once, they were right and no one finished better than 5 over. I think this year's winning number will be a little lower, but if it's hot and dry, then over par could still win.
Hot Topic
Tell the readers: whats the ONE thing youre most looking forward to this week?
I'm looking forward to the biggest story in golf happening. This week that story would be Michelle Wie winning the McDonald's LPGA. I'm not saying that would be the 'best' story, just the 'biggest.' Nor am I predicting a Wie triumph. The 'best' story would be Lorena Ochoa winning her first major. And, by way, it would be pretty cool if Annika Sorenstam won at Bulle Rock, too.
I'm looking forward to a great week in Memphis. It's the best field that tournament's had in years. The new date before the U.S. Open certainly helped. The good people in Memphis and the fine people who run the event deserve to show the world's best players that their tournament should be a regular stop for them each year.
If her poor wittle wist is OK this week, I want to see if Michelle Wah, errr, Wie, can finish a tournament, without making any excuses. What's the weather forecast? Hope it's not too hot for her.
I am most looking forward to seeing what Michelle Wie decides regarding the LPGA Championship. If she plays, the scrutiny and pressure to turn things around from last week will be very intense.
I want to see Ochoa carry a lead into the back nine Sunday at the McDonald's LPGA. She has had trouble, including last week, in closing tournaments. I want to see if she has it in her to close a major championship.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - McDonald's LPGA Championship
  • Full Coverage - Stanford St. Jude Championship
  • Getty Images

    Garcia cruises to five-shot win in Singapore

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:10 pm

    SINGAPORE - Sergio Garcia played 27 holes on the last day without dropping a shot to win the Singapore Open by five strokes Sunday in an ominous display of his newfound self-belief as he prepares to defend his Masters title.

    Still brimming with confidence after claiming his first major title at Augusta National last year, Garcia started his new season with a runaway victory at the Sentosa Golf Club, finishing at 14-under 270.

    Returning to the course just after dawn to complete his third round after play was suspended on Saturday because of lightning strikes, Garcia finished his last nine holes in 4 under for a round of 66 to take a one-shot lead into the final round.

    With organizers desperate to avert the constant threat of more bad weather and finish the tournament on time, Garcia promptly returned to the first tee shortly after and fired a flawless 3-under 68, cruising to victory with 10 straight pars as his rivals floundered in the stifling humidity.

    ''It may have looked easy, but it wasn't easy. You still have to hit a lot of good shots out there,'' Garcia said. ''It's always great to start with a win, to do it here at this golf course against a good field in Asia on conditions that weren't easy. Hopefully I can ride on this momentum.''

    Garcia's closest rivals at the end were Japan's Satoshi Kodaira (71) and South African Shaun Norris (70). Both birdied the last hole to share second spot but neither was ever close enough on the last day to challenge the leader.

    Full-field scores from the Singapore Open

    ''I could not reach Sergio. I was thinking, 12 or 13 under for the win, but he went beyond that,'' Kodaira said.

    Jazz Janewattananond (71) and his fellow Thai Danthai Bonnma (73) finished equal fourth at 8 under, earning themselves a spot in this year's British Open, while American Sean Crocker, who was given an invitation to the event after turning pro late last year, also won a place at Carnoustie by finishing in a tie for sixth.

    Garcia made just three bogeys in 72 holes and his victory provided the 38-year-old with the 33rd title of his professional career and his sixth on the Asian Tour.

    He has also won three titles in the last 12 months, including the Masters, and his game looks to be in better shape now than it was a year ago.

    He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for Augusta National because of the steamy conditions and the testing stop-start nature of the tournament, which is regularly stopped because of inclement weather.

    Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore a year ago, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

    "I'm extremely happy with how the week went. It was a tough day and a tough week, with the stopping and going. Fortunately, the weather held on. Still, it was hard to play 27 holes under this heat and I can't wait to get a cold shower,'' Garcia said. ''I came with some good confidence and wishing that I will play well. I hit the ball solid the whole week and didn't miss many shots.''

    Getty Images

    Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.

    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

    It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

    Getty Images

    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

    Getty Images

    Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

    Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

    ''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

    It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    ''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

    Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

    ''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

    After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

    ''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

    He's making his first start in the event.

    ''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

    Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

    ''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

    Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

    ''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

    The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

    ''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

    Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

    ''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

    Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

    John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.