He Said/She Said: Change these dumb rules!

By Bailey MosierOctober 27, 2011, 3:00 am

The Rules of Golf. Hardly anyone who plays the game knows all of the rules, and rightfully so, as many in the book are simply outdated and a bit harsh on most of us hackers. With the U.S. Golf Association and R&A recently coming to their senses on some rules changes, here are a handful that also need to be addressed.


Stroke and distance: As a golfer who has a tendency to launch tee shots right, or snap hook them well left, I hate this rule. First off, not only am I disgusted with my never-ending ability to not find a fairway, but then I have to endure the one-stroke penalty for going O.B. Fair enough, I suck, and should pay the price. But to have to go back to the tee box and re-tee, well that’s just too much of a penalty for one swing. That’s like getting the courage up to ask out a woman at a bar and having her not only tell you to ‘get lost,’ but then finishes it with a slap across the face. But then again, trying to figure out golf or women never seems fair.

Signing a scorecard: Yes, this doesn’t affect 99.9 percent of us playing in our casual rounds, but it does affect those playing this sport at the highest levels. Could you imagine watching the Packers beat the Jets 42-28 to win the Super Bowl only to then find out that the Packers are getting DQ’d because Aaron Rogers wrote down 41-28 instead? Scorecard, really? Try thinking ‘scoreboard.’ Every sport has them – including – duh – golf. Let the players play. Let other people keep the scores.

Repairing a spike mark: Let me get this straight: you can take out a tool and repair a divot on the green but you are not allowed the use your putter to tap down a spike mark? This old rule needs to be ixnayed inway ahurryway (pardon my pig Latin). I’m not sure why more professionals do not make a bigger stink out of this. Putting on superfast, otherwise perfectly manicured greens, I would think something as simple as tapping down one of these imperfections should not be against the rules. And for those of you in opposition – using the ol’ ‘rub of the green’ argument – how about I come out to the course and club you over the head with a 2-iron and then just call it ‘rub of the green'? Just kidding – that was my inner Tommy 'Thunder' Bolt coming out. 


Divots: It’s unfortunate, really. When a player hits a phenomenal tee ball only to get to the fairway and find one’s ball has come to rest in a divot. The divot is not considered a hazard or ground under repair, and golfers are required to play it as it lies. Golfers shouldn’t be penalized simply because their ball comes to rest in a divot. That should be considered ground under repair – because, after all, is it not growing and repairing itself? – and players should get relief.

Hazards: So your ball finds its way into a water hazard surrounded by colored stakes of the red or yellow variety. Do you have any clue what your options are for each? Do you drop within two club lengths, no nearer the hole? Do you take the line it crossed and go to the complete opposite side of the lake, no nearer to the hole and drop? Do you go backward on the line your ball entered the hazard, no nearer the hole and drop there? In all those scenarios, the only constant and only thing I’m certain, is that under no circumstances must I ever drop nearer to the hole. Otherwise, it’s a crapshoot. Red stakes, yellow stakes … filets or prime rib? I’m not opposed to having so many options, but how about consolidate the different types of hazard into one, so that we have the same plethora of options each time we find trouble?

Asking for and giving advice: I’m not sure if I love this rule or think it’s bogus. The one thing I do know is, I’ll never forget it’s not allowed … and I’ll tell you why. My senior year at Old Dominion University in the final round of the Colonial Athletic Association conference tournament, while standing on the 17th tee box with one of my teammates, my coach walked over and asked Alexis – my teammate – what she had just hit on the par 3. Alexis answered our coach and walked toward 17 green. Then a girl on one of the other teams in my group asked her teammate what she had just hit and the teammate answered. My coach then assessed both of the girls two-shot penalties for exchanging advice. I heard what club my teammate had told my coach she hit because I was standing right there. But I didn’t ask Alexis, nor was she speaking to me. A perfect example that if you know how to use the rules of golf, they can work to your advantage. But it seems a bit odd to have a rule so loosely defined. 

If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

You don’t believe it, though.

She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

“In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.

CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

“I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

“She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

“She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

“Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

“It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

“No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon:

Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience

By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:36 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.

This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.

“I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”

RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the RSM Classic

Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.

In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.

If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Web.com Tour finals.

“He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”

Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic

By Associated PressNovember 17, 2017, 10:26 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook made a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic.

Cook has gone 36 holes without a bogey on the Plantation and Seaside courses at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside - the site of the final two rounds in the last PGA Tour event of the calendar year - on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.

''We've just been able to it hit the ball really well,'' Cook said. ''Speed on greens has been really good and getting up-and-down has been great. I've been able to hit it pretty close to the hole to make some pretty stress-free putts. But the couple putts that I have had of some length for par, I've been able to roll them in. Everything's going well.''

The 26-year-old former Arkansas player was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.

The 45-year-old Gay won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2013.

RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the RSM Classic

''I've hit a lot of greens and fairways,'' Gay said. ''I've hit the ball, kept it in front of me. There's a lot of trouble out here, especially with the wind blowing, so I haven't had to make too many saves the first couple days and I putted well.''

Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. He earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour, and has hired Gay's former caddie, Kip Henley.

''With him being out here so long, he knows everybody, so it's not like I'm completely the new kid on the block,'' Cook said. ''He's introduced me to a lot of people, so it's just making me feel comfortable out here. He knows his way around these golf courses. We're working really well together.''

First-round leader Chris Kirk followed his opening 63 on the Plantation with a 70 on the Seaside to drop into a tie for third at 9 under with C.T. Pan (65) and Vaughn Taylor (66).

Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back at 8 under.

''I was hitting the ball really well coming down here,'' Snedeker said. ''I was anxious to see how I would hold up under pressure. I haven't played a tournament in five months, so it's held up better than I thought it would. Ball-striking's been really good, mental capacity's been unbelievable.

''I think being so fresh, excited to be out there and thinking clearly. My short game, which has always been a strength of mine, I didn't know how sharp it was going to be. It's been really good so far.''