Sarah Browns messy DQ Futures Tour tries to fix a costly mistake

By Randall MellJuly 28, 2010, 8:20 pm

Sarah Brown will never know if she was on the verge of logging her best Duramed Futures Tour finish or even if she might have mounted a torrid back-nine charge in the final round to win last week’s The International in Concord, N.H.

A rules official’s mistake took away her chance.

The fallout’s shaking out this week at the Duramed Futures Tour headquarters.

Brown, 18, of Lopatcong, N.J., started the final round at Concord three shots off the lead but was disqualified at the turn when rules officials declared her Ping Tour-W wedge had non-conforming grooves.

Brown left in tears.

Turns out, her Ping Tour-W wedge, the XG model, was conforming after all.

While Duramed Futures Tour CEO Zayra Calderon can’t remedy the wrong for Brown, she said she’s intent on preventing the mistake from happening again.

“The most important element of this issue is the player,” Calderon said Wednesday in a telephone interview.

That’s why Calderon contacted Brown to apologize for the mistake, express the tour’s regret and communicate actions being taken to prevent a similar mistake.

“It’s important to understand this is a complex issue,” Calderon said. “When the USGA was making plans and transitioning [to the new grooves rules], it had to be concerned about the potential for some mistakes.”

Calderon said she wishes the rules officials involved would have taken more time to use resources available to them before disqualifying Brown. The model of the Ping Tour-W in question was marked XG on the hosel, which is coding for 2010 grooves. The USGA website identifies the club as conforming. 

Keith Brown, caddying for his daughter, told Golfweek he pleaded with rules officials to allow her to finish the round and make sure they were making the right decision before disqualifying her. The magazine identified Jim Linyard and Kelly Wergin as the rules officials.

“I asked (Linyard) what he would do if he was wrong,” Brown told Golfweek. “What if he disqualified Sarah and later found out he was wrong? How would he rectify that? He refused to answer. He said: ‘The club is illegal. Sarah is disqualified.’ That was it. It was like giving someone the death penalty on hearsay.”

Calderon said the Tour is reviewing how the ruling was made to “clearly, clearly define the protocol” for making future rulings.

Calderon said it’s unfortunate, but she can’t change the result for Brown.

“You can’t predict outcomes, it’s impossible,” Calderon said. “Once a decision’s made, it’s made. We are sensitive to it. We looked at everything we can do. We think we’ve taken correct actions.”

Asked if the rules officials face discipline, Calderon said umpires and officials in all sports make mistakes, what’s important is they own up to them. She said she believes the rules officials in question are “passionate” about their jobs and sincerely believed they were doing the right thing.

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