Hot and cold G-Mac

By Win McMurryApril 29, 2011, 4:37 am

It wasn’t the U.S. Open that first thrust Graeme McDowell into the golfing limelight.

At the University of Alabama-Birmingham, the Northern Irishman made a name for himself as the top collegiate golfer in the United States. He won the Fred Haskins Award in 2002 after winning six of his 12 starts. Later that year, McDowell turned pro and in his fourth start on the European Tour, he won. The Portrush native’s stock was high.

From 2003 through 2009 McDowell went on to win three times in Europe, two of them in 2008 that helped him to a spot on the European Ryder Cup team at Valhalla.

That’s quite a solid showing, but the hype that once surrounded the amateur McDowell had waned.

In 2010 it came back.

In early June, McDowell closed with a 63 to win the Celtic Manor Wales Open and then two weeks later he won the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He clinched the Ryder Cup for the Europeans, won again on his home tour at Valderrama, and ended the year taking down Tiger Woods at the Chevron World Challenge.

Riding the high, McDowell negotiated a new contract with Srixon/Cleveland Golf and left Callaway  – a move that certainly raised some questions. He proved naysayers wrong by placing third in his season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Kapalua. He captured top-10 finishes in his next two starts on the PGA Tour but since then, Graeme has gone cold.

In his last four starts, the 31-year-old has not finished higher than T-42. He missed the cut in both his stateside hometown event, the Arnold Palmer Invitational and at the Masters.

With questions surrounding his game, McDowell linked to an Irish Golf Desk article through his Twitter account on April 22, saying it was a “Decent summation as to where my head is.”

“I think I have got a tiny bit frustrated this year just because of the off-course life distracting me a little bit. But I think I have turned the corner,” McDowell said in the article.

“There have been a couple of instances this year, Bay Hill was probably one of them, where I was running around Tuesday and Wednesday, doing too many things off the golf course. I got on the first tee on Thursday and I didn’t feel ready. That’s the kind of stuff that I can’t accept. My preparation is key and a light bulb went on for me at Bay Hill. I had to get back to focusing on the important things. I am still a golfer and I still want to win golf tournaments. That has to be the priority.”

McDowell still looks to be trying to sort out his mind and his game after a round of 1-over 73 Thursday at the Zurich Classic. But then again, it wasn’t until June of last year that his season took off.

He heads to Congressional on Monday to host a media day as the defending U.S. Open champion. And perhaps that’s the kick start he needs to ignite the fire in his belly for 2011.

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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).

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm
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Sharma among three Open qualifiers at Joburg Open

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:16 pm

Shubhankar Sharma earned his first career European Tour win at the rain-delayed Joburg Open and punched his ticket to The Open in the process.

Sharma returned to Randpark Golf Club Monday morning after storms washed out much of the scheduled final day of play. Beginning the re-start with a four-shot lead, he hung on to win by three over South Africa's Erik Van Rooyen.

Both men can make travel plans for Carnoustie next summer, as this was the second event in the Open Qualifying Series with three spots available for players not otherwise exempt who finished inside the top 10. The final spot went to Shaun Norris, who tied for third with Finland's Tapio Pulkkanen but had a higher world ranking (No. 192) than Pulkkanen (No. 197) entering the week.

The Joburg Open was the final official European Tour event of the year. The next tournament in the Open Qualifying Series will be the SMBC Singapore Open in January, where four spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs.

Rules changes include no more viewer call-ins

By Rex HoggardDecember 11, 2017, 12:00 pm

Although the Rules of Golf modernization is still a year away, officials continue to refine parts of the rulebook including an overhaul of the video review protocols.

A “working group” led by the USGA and R&A announced on Monday the new protocols, which include assigning a rule official to a tournament broadcast to resolve rules issues.

The group – which includes the PGA Tour, European Tour, LPGA tour and PGA of America – also voted to stop considering viewer call-ins when processing potential rule violations.

In addition, a new local rule was announced that will discontinue the penalty for signing an incorrect scorecard when the player was unaware of the violation.

In April, Lexi Thompson was penalized four strokes during the final round when officials at the ANA Inspiration learned via e-mail from a viewer of an infraction that occurred during the third round. Thompson was penalized two strokes for incorrectly marking her golf ball and two for signing an incorrect scorecard.

“The message is, as a fan, enjoy watching the game and the best players in the world, but also have the confidence that the committee in charge of the competition have the rules handled,” Thomas Pagel, the USGA’s senior director of the Rules of Golf, said on Golf Channel’s "Morning Drive" on Monday. “Let’s leave the rules and the administration of the event to the players and to those responsible for running the tournament.”

The working group was created in April to review the use of video in applying the rules and the role of viewer call-ins, and initially issued a decision to limit the use of video through the introduction of the “reasonable judgment” and “naked eye” standard.

According to that decision, which was not a rule, “so long as the player does what can reasonably be expected under the circumstances to make an accurate determination, the player’s reasonable judgment will be accepted, even if later shown to be inaccurate by the use of video evidence.”

The new protocols will be implemented starting on Jan. 1.

A comprehensive overhaul of the Rules of Golf is currently underway by the USGA and R&A that will begin on Jan. 1, 2019.