Pick a number: How many wins for Woods?

By Jason SobelJanuary 5, 2012, 5:50 pm

It's been more than two years since Tiger Woods won an official event (Australian Masters, November 2009), but he took a step in the right direction last month by winning the silly-season, 18-man event, the Chevron World Challenge.

So, how will Woods fare in 2012? We set the over/under at 2.5 wins and asked Jason Sobel, Rex Hoggard and Jay Coffin to weigh in. We'll get an early look at Woods' 2012 form when he tees off in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, which begins Jan. 26.

By JASON SOBEL

Seven players tied for the most PGA Tour victories in 2011 with a grand total of two. Tiger Woods wasn’t one of 'em – in fact, he wasn’t even one of the 28 players who posted one victory. No, Woods’ lone win came at the 18-man Chevron World Challenge money-grab after the season was already over.

And now we’re being asked how many titles Woods will claim this season with the over/under being set at … 2.5?!?!

That sounds crazy. About as crazy as me taking the over, which I’m doing right now.

I’ve written many times that I don’t think there has been or will be a turning point in which Woods is “back,” reverting to the player who claimed 71 PGA Tour titles and 14 major championships. This is a gradual process – yup, there’s that word again – and it certainly seems like it’s moving in the right direction.

I don’t believe we’ll see another 2000-like season – when Woods won nine times and took three majors – anytime soon (read: ever), but a trio of victories is well within range. In fact, that’s the exact number I believe he will reach this season – one-half beyond that over/under number.

That could mean very big things, too. Three wins used to be a below-average year for Tiger. Now it could very well equate to a Player of the Year honor.


By REX HOGGARD

We’ll take the over, but not by much and not at a major. That’s the nature of prognostication, it’s impossible to imagine Tiger Woods going a third year without an official PGA Tour victory but as the man himself pointed out at Sherwood Country Club last month winning is not easy.

He just made it look that way for the better part of a decade and is starting to show signs of life after two years adrift in injury and drought. He won the Chevron World Challenge in a shootout, controlled his golf ball in the wind at the Australian Open and Presidents Cup and gave himself more than a month to prepare for 2012.

New stops at Abu Dhabi and possibly PGA National (Honda Classic), as well as Pebble Beach, which he hasn’t played since 2002, will stoke his competitive fires not to mention he seems poised to play his first full schedule for just the second time since 2007.

As for major No. 15 that’s a different tale. He’s now played 10 Grand Slam events without a victory, matching the longest stretch of his career and other than Augusta National, where he’s finished tied for fourth the last two years, his best finish at this year’s major venues is a T-18 at the 1998 U.S. Open at The Olympic Club.

He may not get off the major schneid, but progress seems inevitable.


By JAY COFFIN

Two-and-a-half seems to be the perfect number. Consensus seems to be that Tiger Woods will win either two or three events. Haven’t heard anyone say it’ll be four or more. So I’ll take the under; two sounds about right. 

Sure, Woods looked strong in his Chevron World Challenge victory – where there were shades of Old Tiger down the stretch with consecutive birdies to close – but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the floodgates have opened. It was a limited field and many of the men there showed up to collect the guaranteed check, which more than paid for all Christmas gifts three weeks later.

The success of Woods’ season will depend on momentum. The sooner he wins, the better the year will be. If he wins once before the Masters it’d be foolish to think he won’t win another two or three times. If he doesn’t win before the first week in April, he could press, try to make things happen, which could lead to poorer results.

It’s obvious that golf is better when Tiger Woods is winning. But the years of him winning a handful of times, including multiple majors, have passed. This is a year where he wins his first PGA Tour event since 2009 and it’s one where he will make noise just about everywhere he goes. But it’ll end with only two victories.

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.

LPGA:

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