The best Wednesday in golf

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 22, 2011, 11:48 pm

Most weeks of the year, the main stage in golf doesn't fill with marquee players until the weekend, or at earliest, on Thursdays. But there are two Wednesdays on Tour unlike any other – the first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play and the Par 3 Contest at the Masters. Which wins the award for best 'Hump Day' event? Rex Hoggard and Randall Mell weigh in with their takes.


You can have your bracket-ology, your Cinderella stories, your crashing contenders. Keep your 32 Sundays and a flurry of action that ends almost as quickly as it begins.

The best “Hump Day” in all the game arrives on the first Wednesday of April.

With apologies to competitive correctness this week’s first-round matches at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship are compelling. Riveting, even. But 64 millionaires playing for millions in a 13-year-old event may be good fun during what is otherwise a weekday lull, but for a game defined by its history, Augusta National’s Wednesday legacy cannot be beat.

What it lacks in competitive credibility, no one has ever confused the annual Par 3 Contest for a fifth major, Masters Wednesday makes up for with a tradition . . . well, like no other.

Nowhere else in the game can one perch himself high above Augusta National’s Par-3 Course and watch the likes of Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus clash and cavort with the modern likes of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.

It’s “Old Timers” day meets the All-Star game with a side of blooming azaleas and pimento cheese, and it’s the best Wednesday on Tour.


Do have your brackets dissected yet?

The dizzying pace of play with 32 matches, all the winning and losing usually reserved for Sundays, the March Madness feel, it’s all part of the formula that goes into making the first round of the Accenture Match Play Championship the best Wednesday in golf.

But there’s another element that makes this day special.

It’s your office pool.

Match play is more personal, the man-to-man nature of it bringing an edgy dynamic usually reserved for Sunday back-nine duels, but you can feel the edginess of this event among your work colleagues. You feel it because you want to whip them all in your office pool. You want bragging rights. It’s personal at the water cooler and in the break room when you hear the gloating and you’ve got nothing to gloat about with your picks failing you.

It’s the best Wednesday in golf because no other Wednesday gives you so much winning and losing. There’s more than winning and losing in 32 matches. There’s winning and losing every single hole. The win-or-go-home nature of it makes every match feel like a Sunday round on the PGA Tour. The win-or-hear-your cubicle mate taunt you adds to it, too.

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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
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Sharma among three Open qualifiers at Joburg Open

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:16 pm

Shubhankar Sharma earned his first career European Tour win at the rain-delayed Joburg Open and punched his ticket to The Open in the process.

Sharma returned to Randpark Golf Club Monday morning after storms washed out much of the scheduled final day of play. Beginning the re-start with a four-shot lead, he hung on to win by three over South Africa's Erik Van Rooyen.

Both men can make travel plans for Carnoustie next summer, as this was the second event in the Open Qualifying Series with three spots available for players not otherwise exempt who finished inside the top 10. The final spot went to Shaun Norris, who tied for third with Finland's Tapio Pulkkanen but had a higher world ranking (No. 192) than Pulkkanen (No. 197) entering the week.

The Joburg Open was the final official European Tour event of the year. The next tournament in the Open Qualifying Series will be the SMBC Singapore Open in January, where four spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs.

Rules changes include no more viewer call-ins

By Rex HoggardDecember 11, 2017, 12:00 pm

Although the Rules of Golf modernization is still a year away, officials continue to refine parts of the rulebook including an overhaul of the video review protocols.

A “working group” led by the USGA and R&A announced on Monday the new protocols, which include assigning a rule official to a tournament broadcast to resolve rules issues.

The group – which includes the PGA Tour, European Tour, LPGA tour and PGA of America – also voted to stop considering viewer call-ins when processing potential rule violations.

In addition, a new local rule was announced that will discontinue the penalty for signing an incorrect scorecard when the player was unaware of the violation.

In April, Lexi Thompson was penalized four strokes during the final round when officials at the ANA Inspiration learned via e-mail from a viewer of an infraction that occurred during the third round. Thompson was penalized two strokes for incorrectly marking her golf ball and two for signing an incorrect scorecard.

“The message is, as a fan, enjoy watching the game and the best players in the world, but also have the confidence that the committee in charge of the competition have the rules handled,” Thomas Pagel, the USGA’s senior director of the Rules of Golf, said on Golf Channel’s "Morning Drive" on Monday. “Let’s leave the rules and the administration of the event to the players and to those responsible for running the tournament.”

The working group was created in April to review the use of video in applying the rules and the role of viewer call-ins, and initially issued a decision to limit the use of video through the introduction of the “reasonable judgment” and “naked eye” standard.

According to that decision, which was not a rule, “so long as the player does what can reasonably be expected under the circumstances to make an accurate determination, the player’s reasonable judgment will be accepted, even if later shown to be inaccurate by the use of video evidence.”

The new protocols will be implemented starting on Jan. 1.

A comprehensive overhaul of the Rules of Golf is currently underway by the USGA and R&A that will begin on Jan. 1, 2019.