Thompson could force tough LPGA decision if she wins Sunday

By Randall MellJuly 25, 2010, 1:09 am

What if 15-year-old Alexis Thompson shocks the world and wins the Evian Masters on Sunday in France?

She’s tied for fourth, just three shots back going into the final round.

If she wins, the question isn’t so much what she would do. It’s what would LPGA commissioner Mike Whan do. He could be on the eve of the most important decision of his early LPGA tenure.

Because here’s the deal: If Thompson wins, there’s a two-year exemption that goes with the victory. As a non-member of the LPGA, Thompson is still eligible to claim that exemption, which would grant her tour membership through this year and through the 2011 season. But because Thompson is 15, she would have to petition the tour for a waiver of its 18-year-old requirement for LPGA membership.

What would Thompson do? Would she petition?

Smartly, she refused to look past Sunday’s final round when asked about it after shooting 5-under-par 67 on Saturday.

“Haven’t thought about that,” she said. “I’m taking one tournament at a time and see where it takes me.”

Her agent, Bobby Kreusler of Blue Giraffe Sports, told GolfChannel.com this week that the family has no intention at this time of petitioning the LPGA for membership, but he said he couldn’t rule out the possibility they will re-think that if she won a tournament this year. He said the two-year exemption that comes with a victory would require serious consideration.

Frankly, it seems difficult to imagine the family wouldn’t petition for membership to claim the exemption if she wins. And it’s difficult to imagine Whan isn’t thinking about what he’ll do should that happen. Because even if Thompson doesn’t win today, she’s showing it’s no fantasy thinking she could do it later this year or even next year. In fact, the way juniors are invading the game, it seems inevitable some young girl is going to shock the world soon.

There’s precedent for granting waivers of the age restriction with Aree Song and Morgan Pressel both joining the tour when they were 17. Song had already met her high-school graduation requirements when granted the waiver. Pressel was just a few months away from doing so when she was allowed to attend Q-School and later join the tour.

With Thompson, it would be a heavier decision for the commissioner. She’ll be starting 10th grade in home school this fall. If the waiver’s granted, there would be a precedent that could open the door to a wave of juniors wanting to start their pro careers before graduating high school.

The odds are against Thompson winning today, with so many veteran winners in the mix, but who would have thought she’d qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open at 12, turn pro at 15, tie for 10th in her first appearance as a pro in the U.S. Women’s Open and be in the thick of the hunt Sunday at Evian?

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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

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.