Veterans Set Stage in Madeira Island Open

By Golf Channel NewsroomMarch 15, 2001, 5:00 pm
European Tour veterans Des Smyth and Malcolm Mackenzie shot matching rounds of 6-under-par 66 on Thursday to take a share of the outright lead through the first round of the Madeira Island Open.
The two lead by one shot over a large grouping of players at 5-under, including John Bickerton, Andrew Oldcorn and young American Hank Kuehne.
For Smyth, it was a strong start to his round that saw him through to his score of 66, as he recorded four birdies over his opening six holes. The Irishman is searching for the second European Tour victory of his career to add to his title from the 1993 Madrid Open.
I got off to a great start, Smyth commented following his day. That built my round. Had a good start today but it means very little until later in the tournament.
Im just very pleased to be out here.
At 48, the veteran indeed seemed to be content just competing against the younger majority.
Some people think I should have higher ambitions, but they dont play with these young players, he said. I am well aware of how high the standards are. You have to see them hit it to see how good they are. Im happy to keep tagging along with them.
At 40, Mackenzie is likewise thinking along the same lines as Smyth. Yet, unlike Smyth, Mackenzie is still searching for his maiden victory on the European ranks.
Following Thursdays round, however, he made mention that he likes his game this week.
Ive had a good start to the year ' the best start Ive ever had. This year I think there is something there. Im shooting low rounds which I havent done for a long time. Ive stopped fiddling with the theory side. Just tee it up and hit it and worry in between the shot. Find the ball, hit it, and find it again and hopefully get it in the hole.
With comments like that, Mackenzie is sounding more like 20-something rather than his actual age of 40.
Comments such as his might be more appropriated from the likes of Kuehne, who at 5-under, is just happy to be playing this week.
The big-hitting American had been out of the game for some time following surgery on one of his bicep muscles. While it had been healing, though, his pain had not gone away.
In a strange twist, however, he recently re-tore the same muscle while in rehabilitation. Then, the pain suddenly stopped.
The pain went, he exclaimed. Its not a muscle you need anyway, so I thought I could go play. I made some calls to get invitations in Europe and Im delighted to be playing. Now I want to play for the rest of the year.
Another few more consecutive rounds of 67 and Kuehne could very well prove that you dont need the bicep muscles to play golf.
Click here for full-field scores from the Madeira Island Open

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.”

Getty Images

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.


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.

Getty Images

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).

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm