Rose continues to lead as stars struggle

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2013, 2:06 pm

While the season got off to a rocky start for Nos. 1 and 2 in the world ranking, the fifth-ranked player in the world continued to have no problems at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

Justin Rose carded four birdies against only one bogey Friday, firing a 3-under 69 that gave him the lead after 36 holes at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. At 8-under 136, the Englishman leads by one shot over Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Thorbjorn Olesen and first round co-leader Jamie Donaldson.

'There's a difference in how I feel about my game and how I trust my game, absolutely,' said Rose, who held a share of the lead after an opening 67 Thursday. 'I believe that any tournament I tee up in, I can win.'

Having ascended inside the top five in the world ranking for the first time in his career last September, Rose enters the 2013 season with lofty expectations. Through two rounds, he finds himself atop the leaderboard during an event that quickly became more about who missed the cut than who was leading it.



Playing together for the first time as Nike brethren, both Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy continued to struggle Friday and will sit out the weekend. Woods endured a two-stroke penalty on the par-4 fifth hole to knock him out of competition, while McIlroy was unable to get anything going during the second round despite a change back to his old Scotty Cameron putter. The Ulsterman manufactured only two birdies en route to a 3-over 75 for the second consecutive day, and at 6-over 150 missed the halfway cut by four shots.

'When you don't hit the fairways on this golf course, you can't score,' McIlroy told reporters after the round. 'It's very disappointing. You really want to get off to a nice start at the start of the season, but I've got to realize that it's only the start of the season and there's a lot of golf left.'

Like McIlroy, Woods was left to analyze where things went awry after missing the cut in a European Tour event for the first time in his career.

'I didn't hit it particularly well. I putted great but just didn't hit it very good,' said the 14-time major champion. 'I have some work to do.'

While Woods and McIlroy both showed signs of rust, other players will enter the weekend in position to begin the year with a high finish. Playing alongside the high-profile pair, Martin Kaymer - who won this event three times from 2008-11 - carded a 3-under 69 and will begin the third round tied for ninth at 4 under, four shots behind Rose. He is joined on that number by Jason Dufner, whose steady play has led to only two bogeys through 36 holes, and former U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell.

Defending champion Robert Rock, who held off final-round charges from both Woods and McIlroy to claim the title a year ago, withdrew during the second round due to illness after carding a 4-over 76 on Thursday.

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.”

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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.

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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