Two-Stroke Penalty Costs Garcia in Australia
Garcia made an up-and-down out of a bunker at the final hole Saturday for what he thought was a 68 and a two-shot lead over the 19-year-old Aussie. However, Garcia was informed afterward that he was assessed a two-stroke penalty for an incorrect drop at the first hole at The Lakes Golf Club.
Garcia was told of the infraction by the European Tour's chief referee John Paramor, who was later asked if the 21-year-old Spaniard was happy with the decision to change his score to a 70.
'I haven't really found a player yet who is happy about getting a two-shot penalty,' Paramor said. 'There has never been one who said, `Thanks very much.''
'Of course, I am angry,' said Garcia, who took a drop to get line-of-sight relief from an advertising sign after an errant tee shot at the opening hole. 'I was leading by two and now I'm tied for the lead. That's okay. I'm playing well. Hopefully, even with John Paramor's rules and everything I will be able to win the tournament.'
Garcia was asked by Greg Norman, his playing partner and the tournament host, if he wanted to get an official to give a ruling on the drop. When Garcia said no, Norman looked at the situation and said that he felt the drop was legal.
'I personally feel bad because he asked me for a ruling,' said Norman, who at 14-under is just two shots out of the lead. 'I gave him a ruling the way I thought the ruling reads. Thank God he wasn't disqualified.'
Norman said that according to Paramor, Garcia would have been disqualified had the drop blatantly improved his subsequent shot.
'The onus goes on the players,' Norman admitted. 'We really should know the rules of golf. We're professionals. At the end of the day it is the individual's responsibility, nobody else's.'
The penalty marred what has been an otherwise sensational tournament for Garcia, whose only other blemish this week was a bogey in the second round. His round on Saturday was still a solid one, fueled by four birdies over a five-hole stretch from the eighth to the 12th hole.
Baddeley will tee off in the final group with Garcia on Sunday after posting his second straight round of 5-under 68.
'You had to have patience out there today,' said Baddeley, the winner of the last two Australian Opens. 'The wind was blowing and then the rain started. I was patient all the way through. I tried to hit good shots, smart shots.'
The young Aussie tallied a birdie at the par-3 15th, and two holes later notched another after hitting a 50-yard bunker shot close at the 17th green.
'I thought if I hit a full bunker shot it would get up into wind,' he said. 'I tried to hit it like a pitch shot and bounce and run it up there. I hit an absolute gem.'
England's Ian Poulter turned in the round of the day, firing an 8-under 65 for solo third at 15-under 204.
'The round I played today, I can't really play much better than that,' said Poulter, whose card was bogey-free on Saturday. 'I started with five birdies in the first seven and had a very makeable chance on three.'
Poulter, who added three more birdies on the homeward nine, was asked to rate his chances for finishing on top on Sunday.
'If I play the way I did today, I can't see any problem,' he said.
Norman celebrated his 46th birthday Saturday with a somewhat disappointing 71. He made it to 15-under with three birdies over the first 11 holes, only to find the water at 14 and three-putt at 16 for bogeys.
He recovered one of the lost strokes at 17, rolling a 15-footer into the heart of the cup for a birdie. Then like Garcia, Norman found the right bunker at the par-3 closing hole and shadowed the Spaniard with a sand shot out to 10 feet followed by a par-saving putt.
Win or lose Sunday, Peter Lonard will be able to drive away from the tournament behind the wheel of a new car. The Sydney native used a 4-iron to ace the 195-yard 18th, negating with one swing bogeys at the 15th and 17th. He finished with a 66, and after 54 holes is tied with fellow Aussie Jarrod Moseley for fifth place at 13-under.
Moseley capped off his round in less auspicious fashion. The Perth resident bogeyed the last and had to settle for his 66.
Craig Parry is five shots off the pace at 11-under, while Scott Gardiner, David Bransdon, Peter Baker, Steve Alker, Phillip Price and Pierre Fulke round out the top-10 at 10-under.
Click here for Full-Field scores from the Greg Norman Holden International!
Lexi 'applaud's USGA, R&A for rules change
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.”
PGA Tour, LPGA react to video review rules changes
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:
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.
Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open
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.
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).
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates:
No. 5: Dec. 12
No. 4: Dec. 13
No. 3: Dec. 14
No. 2: Dec. 15
No. 1: Dec. 18