South Floridas golden trio Kerr Pressel Thompson

By Randall MellJuly 24, 2010, 7:44 pm

South Florida ought to be proud this summer.

That part of the country’s doing something remarkably right in a time when the United States has been hammered for showing so poorly in women’s golf. The region's playing a big part in an American resurgence.

Morgan Pressel of Boca Raton, Fla., shot a 5-under-par 67 Saturday to bolt back atop the leaderboard at the Evian Masters in her bid to win her third LPGA title. Alexis Thompson of Coral Springs, Fla., is tied for fourth just three shots back. 

Three weeks ago, Miami’s Cristie Kerr became the first American to gain the No. 1 ranking in women’s golf. This was after she won the LPGA Championship by a record 12 shots.

As they say, there must be something in the water supply down there.

Pressel, 22, and Thompson, 15, grew up 18 miles apart in South Florida, Pressel playing at St. Andrews Country Club in Boca Raton and Thompson at TPC Eagle Trace in Coral Springs, Fla. Kerr, 32, grew up playing at Kendale Lakes, 40 miles south of Pressel and Thompson.

When she was 13, it seems so long ago now, Pressel played in the U.S. Women’s Open at Pine Needles after becoming the youngest player ever to qualify. At 12, Thompson broke Pressel’s record, qualifying for the U.S. Women’s Open in its return to Pine Needles. Like Pressel and Thompson, Kerr was the No. 1 amateur in the nation before turning pro.

I remember back when Alexis teed it up in her first U.S. Women’s Open qualifier. She was just 10.  Herb Krickstein, Morgan’s grandfather, demonstrated once more his eye for talent. Way back then, he told me: 'If anyone is going to break Morgan’s [U.S. Women's Open] record, it’s Lexi.”

If they’re on the same career trajectories, watch out for Thompson at the Kraft Nabisco. Pressel became the youngest winner of a major claiming that title when she was 18. Thompson shared low amateur honors there two seasons ago.

A look at today’s leaderboard is promising for another American celebration.

Brittany Lincicome blistered Evian Masters Golf Club with a 65 on Saturday, equaling her lowest round as an LPGA pro. She's heating up, having tied for second at the Bell Micro two months ago.

That’s three Americans among the top five on the Evian Masters leaderboard heading into Sunday. After going a year with just one victory, an American triumph on Sunday would mark the fourth U.S. triumph in the last six LPGA events.

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