Not So Fast

By Mercer BaggsJanuary 10, 2010, 10:46 pm

Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods

NOT OUT OF THE WOODS: Jack Nicklaus said Friday that if Tiger Woods is to ever break his record of 18 professional major championship victories [he's currently four back], 2010 would be a very important year for him. Three of the four majors this season are played on courses on which Woods has previously won at least one championship: Augusta National, Pebble Beach and St. Andrews.
BackspinThe odds of Woods winning at least a pair of majors this year were better than Charlie Sheen donning a pair of handcuffs. Were being the operative word. After Woods' world came unravelled Thanksgiving weekend, who knows if he'll even play in two majors. Here's guessing he'll compete in all four and still win at least two. It's hard to imagine even personal turmoil can impede Woods' drive to surpass Nickalus for golf's greatest record.

Geoff Ogilvy

DEFENSE! DEFENSE!: Geoff Ogilvy defended his title at the PGA Tour's season-opening SBS Championship. Ogilvy finished one shot in front of Rory Sabbatini, shooting rounds of 69-66-68-67 to finish at 22 under par. It's the Aussie's seventh career Tour title.
BackspinOf those seven wins, six have come in the first three months of the season. His lone victory past March was the 2006 U.S. Open [not a bad one to have]. Can Ogilvy end the trend with a mid- or late-season win? I'm saying yes, perhaps at another limited-field event in April. And I know a little something.
SBS Championship

WHAT'S IN A NAME?: Twenty-eight of the 31 winners from last year competed in the PGA Tour's 2010 season-opener. That number, however, included only one player who had previously won at Kapalua [Ogilvy] and did not include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Henrik Stenson.
Backspin If you thought this year's lid-lifter had a weak field, don't blame the players – at least not those who won last year. Considering Woods and Mickelson were never going to tee it up in Maui, regardless of home life, SBS got nearly 100 percent participation. It's just that Martin Laird, Nathan Green and Pat Perez filled spots normally reserved for the likes of Vijay Singh, Jim Fuyrk and Sergio Garcia. Expect more of the same in 2010. Liking parity is OK. It doesn't make you a commie.

Lucas Glover

GLOVE-R DOESN'T FIT: Lucas Glover held the outright lead through each of the first three rounds of the SBS Championship, including a three-stroke advantage at the midway point. The reigning U.S. Open champion, however, closed in 3-over 76 to finish in a tie for 14th.
BackspinJust goes to show that regardless of your resume it's never easy to close out a win in professional golf.  Glover's not a fluke major champion, but he's got a ways to go before he will be considered an imposing force on the PGA Tour.

Vanity Fair

YOU'RE SO VAIN: Tiger Woods was featured shirtless on the cover of the February edition of Vanity Fair, which went on sale Wednesday. The photos were from a 2006 shoot with famed photographer Annie Leibovitz and accompanied an article by Pulitzer Prize winning author Buzz Bissinger. The story was not an interview with Woods, but an essay by Bissinger. Meanwhile, alleged Woods mistress Jamie Grubbs posed for the February issue of Maxim magazine.
BackspinGrubbs – who released the Tiger voicemail, if you forget which one she was – also talked about their relationship on the magazine's Web site, saying that if she could tell Woods just one thing it would be 'that he hurt me.' Remember that scene in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life where the impossibly fat man eats an entire menu's worth of food, but doesn't explode until taking a bite of a 'wafer-thin mint?'  After feeding on this scandal to nauseating proportions, that quote was the mint.

Tim Finchem

A LITTLE CHILLY IN HERE: PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem met with the media for the first time in 2010 Tuesday in Maui. Normally a laid-back session, Finchem faced questions about a perceived weak field at the winners-only event, the future of sponsors on the PGA Tour, whether he had talked to Tiger Woods, the effectiveness of Tour drug testing, and whether he was concerned about Woods' relationship with a doctor linked to performance-enhancing drugs.
BackspinFinchem normally faces Lilliputian opposition during press conferences, but he was pushed a little in this one. Exchanges even became a bit testy at times. Note to self: If I ever need to borrow money from Finchem, don't bring up Tiger Woods or doping.

Greg Rita

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Caddie and cancer survivor Greg Rita [shown above at last year's Players Championship] was robbed at gunpoint in his Jacksonville, Fla., home on New Year's Eve. ... PGA Tour players officially switched from 'U' grooves to 'V' grooves in their irons at the SBS Open. ... Michelle Wie is considering playing in the season-opening Honda PTT LPGA Thailand event in six weeks.
Backspin Fortunately, no one was seriously injured – though Rita's wife was hit in the head by a gun, according to reports – and three suspects were captured. ... If we're going to limit technological advancements in golf, we might as well go back to wooden woods. ... The more she plays, the better it is for the tour.

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).

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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