Tiger Tracker: Pebble Beach, Day 2

By February 10, 2012, 9:37 pm

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – After an opening-round 68 Thursday at Spyglass, Tiger Woods shot 2-under 68 at Monterrey Peninsula Country Club on Day 2 of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Jason Sobel was on site and tracked Tiger with hole-by-hole reports and some Twitter commentary (Full Tiger Woods coverage | Day 1 Tiger Tracker).

No. 18 (par 4, 381 yards): Woods concluded a beautiful ball-striking day by hitting his drive right down the fairway – his 12th in 14 tries today – and then finding the green – he was 16-for-18 – spinning his approach to about 20 feet. Same old story from there, though, as he drilled his putt through the line and three feet past. He knocked it in from there for his 12th par of the day and a 2-under 68. (Overall: 6 under; Today: 2 under through 18)

No. 17 (par 4, 430 yards): Woods pulled out the driver and split the fairway on this par-4, continuing what's been a (mostly) terrific driving display over two days. His short iron into the green landed just 12 feet from the hole, but his birdie putt stopped on the left edge of the hole. Another in a long line of missed opportunities on the greens for him today. (Overall: 6 under; Today: 2 under through 17)

No. 16 (par 4, 500 yards): This 500-yard par-4 always plays long, but that's especially true in the drizzle that has been coming down throughout the afternoon. For only the second time today, Woods missed a fairway, finding a fairway bunker on the left side. From there, he went bunker-to-bunker, leaving his second shot in another trap about 75 yards short of the green. His third shot hit the back of the green and spun back 20 feet to pin-high, but he missed the ensuing 15-footer to card his second bogey of the day. (Overall: 6 under; Today: 2 under through 16)

No. 15 (par 4, 415 yards): Quite simply, Woods' swing hasn't been this dialed in for two years. He belted a 3-wood stinger off the tee, then hit an approach to 20 feet below the hole. The question mark so far has been his flatstick. From 20 feet away on a wet green, he knocked it eight feet past the hole, saying a minute later that it was 'bad speed, bad read.' He did, however, hole the comebacker to salvage par. (Overall: 7 under; Today: 3 under through 15)

@JasonSobelGC: Some fan keeps yelling: 'Come on, Tiger! You are the best for the next 100 years!' Maybe. But expect a big down year in 2113.

No. 14 (par 3, 190 yards): What was that about low-maintenance pars? Woods just posted another one, hitting his tee shot on the par 3 to about 25 feet and barely missing the birdie effort. Even so, it's a par without any struggle. (Overall: 7 under; Today: 3 under through 14)

No. 13 (par 4, 401 yards): With a steady rain coming down over these seaside holes, Woods banged a 3-wood down the fairway and hit an approach to the safe part of the green. His winding 25-footer scared the hole, but stayed out, resulting in another low-maintenance par. That's been a theme throughout the day. Even when Tiger is making par, it's been after a missed birdie putt, rather than scrambling around. (Overall: 7 under; Today: 3 under through 13)

@JasonSobelGC: Having a great week at Pebble Beach so far, but still waiting for somebody to bake some clams.

No. 12 (par 5, 599 yards): This one is a monster of a par 5. How much of one? Woods pounded a drive down the left side and hit a solid 5-wood ... and still had a full wedge into the green. Hey, maybe there's something to being forced to lay up. He stuffed the wedge to a foot and tapped in for birdie – his fourth of the day. (Overall: 7 under; Today: 3 under through 12)

No. 11 (par 3, 176 yards): There may not be a more gorgeous hole on this course than this par 3, which the pros play from an elevated tee box. Woods hit a decent tee shot that landed 20 feet short and right of the hole. Missed the birdie attempt, but tapped in for yet another par. (Overall: 6 under; Today: 2 under through 11)

No. 10 (par 5, 544 yards): Woods pounded yet another driver off the tee, finding the optimal right side of the fairway on this par-5. He hit a big cut with a fairway wood for his second shot that actually glanced off a gallery member and trickled into the rough some 30 yards short of the green. His attempt at a flop shot hit the green, but rolled through, up against the collar of the rough – his first missed green of the round. Putting from there, he came within one ball revolution of finding the cup, but left it agonizingly short, resulting in another par. (Overall: 6 under; Today: 2 under through 10)

No. 9 (par 3, 182 yards): Using a mid-iron into the wind on this 182-yard par-3, Woods got that distance control back under control, hitting an absolute dart to pin-high, 8 feet left of the hole. For a fourth time today, though, he missed one inside of 10 feet, as he lipped out the birdie effort. If he makes each of those, he's one stroke off the lead right now. Just a guess, but if this continues, 'I just couldn't find the hole' will be part of his post-round interview session. (Overall: 6 under; Today: 2 under through 9)

@JasonSobelGC: En vogue to call MPCC best course in this rotation. That's like calling Ringo your favorite Beatle. You can say it, but you don't mean it.

No. 8 (par 4, 454 yards): Woods took 3-wood off the tee, hit a stinger and finished with a club twirl, so you know he liked it – and for good reason, as he found the center of the fairway on this par-4 dogleg left. His approach only reached the front left portion of the green, though – remember that distance control which was frustrating him yesterday – leaving him 30 feet for birdie. He overread the break, missing to the right, but easily cleaned up for par. (Overall: 6 under; Today: 2 under through 8)

No. 7 (par 3, 226 yards): On the awe-inspiring, uphill hole, Woods hit a gorgeous long iron shot to 10 feet below the hole. Faced with a downhill, left-to-right putt, he finally got back on the right track with the flatstick, finding the center of the cup for a second consecutive birdie. (Overall: 6 under; Today: 2 under through 7)

@JasonSobelGC: Colleague just complained about having to walk three holes to get a shuttle back to Pebble Beach. Hmm, wonder why the media gets a bad rap.

No. 6 (par 5, 548 yards): After a lengthy wait on the par-5 tee box, Woods hit driver off the tee for the first time all day and ripped it down the center of the fairway. His par-5 birdie percentage has subsided the past two years, often due to blindly going for every green in two, but in this instance it was the perfect call, as Tiger stuffed his second shot to 6 feet. Instead of claiming his first eagle of the PGA Tour season, though, Woods again missed a very makeable putt, settling for birdie to move back into red figures for the day. (Overall: 5 under; Today: 1 under through 6)

@JasonSobelGC: Long wait at No. 6. Woods and Romo discussing global strategies, multinational subsidiary roles and economic impact in Middle East. I think.

No. 5 (par 4, 349 yards): Not exactly a bounce-back, but a routine par for Woods following that bogey. He found the fairway with an iron off the tee, then hit the green and two-putted. (Overall: 4 under; Today: Even through 5)

No. 4 (par 4, 401 yards): First missed fairway of the day for Woods, as he pushed a 3-wood into the fairway bunker on the right side. His swing from the hazard was immediately punctuated by slamming his club down in the sand and yelling a profanity. The end result was hardly terrible, though, as he found the front left portion of the green with a back-right hole location. He lagged a putt to 6 feet, but wasn't able to convert the par. First bogey of the day. (Overall: 4 under; Today: Even through 4)

@JasonSobelGC: Bill Murray is wearing a pink glove on his left hand and a purple glove on his right hand. But hey, it looks good on you.

No. 3 (par 3, 155 yards): Tiger complained after Round 1 that his distance control was lacking, but it looked perfect on the first par 3 of the day, as he stiffed a short iron to 5 feet. Then came his first unforced error, so to speak, of the day, as he missed the short birdie attempt. Woods' putting has looked solid until now – that's the shortest he's missed in the past two days. (Overall: 5 under; Today: 1 under through 3)

No. 2 (par 4, 391 yards): Another hole, another pummeled 3-wood by Woods off the tee. This one finds the center of the fairway, but he comes up about a club short on his approach shot, leaving it about 30 feet shy of the hole. His birdie attempt had the right speed, but was right the whole way and missed. He tapped in for par. (Overall: 5 under; Today: 1 under through 2)

@JasonSobelGC: Tony Romo started his round birdie-birdie. Next stop: Q-School. Don't worry, Cowboys fans. Maybe there's a golfer who can replace him at QB.

No. 1 (par 4, 454 yards): Woods maintained that he drove it on a string in Round 1 and he started Round 2 by finding another fairway, using 3-wood off the tee. However, he only caught the right side, slightly stymied by overhanging branches from a nearby tree. From there, though, he hit one of the most impressive shots we've seen from him recently – a towering fade around the tree that caught the left side of the green and finished 4 feet from the hole. Woods converted the birdie to start his round in red figures for the second straight day. (Overall: 5 under; Today: 1 under through 1)

@JasonSobelGC: Difference between Arjun Atwal and Tiger Woods? Atwal just flew the green and the sea parted. Team Tiger would have taken the bullet.

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Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

Well, this is a one new one.

According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.

PGA Tour suspends Hensby for anti-doping violation

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 8:02 pm

Mark Hensby has been suspended for one year by the PGA Tour for violating the Tour’s anti-doping policy by failing to provide a sample after notification.

The Tour made the announcement Monday, reporting that Hensby will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

The statement reads:

The PGA Tour announced today that Mark Hensby has violated the Tour Anti-Doping Policy for failing to provide a drug testing sample after notification and has been suspended for a period of one year. He will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

Hensby, 46, won the John Deere Classic in 2004. He played the Web.com Tour this past year, playing just 14 events. He finished 142nd on the money list. He once ranked among the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking but ranks No. 1,623 today.

The Sunshine Tour recently suspended player Etienne Bond for one year for failing a drug test. Players previously suspended by the PGA Tour for violating the anti-doping policy include Scott Stallings and Doug Barron.

The PGA Tour implemented revisions to its anti-doping program with the start of the 2017-18 season. The revisions include blood testing and the supplementation of the Tour’s prohibited list to include all of the substances and methods on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list. As part of this season’s revisions, the Tour announced it would also begin reporting suspensions due to recreational drug use.

The Tour said it would not issue further comment on Hensby's suspension.

Good time to hang up on viewer call-ins

By Randall MellDecember 11, 2017, 7:40 pm

Golf announced the most massive layoff in the industry’s history on Monday morning.

Armchair referees around the world were given their pink slips.

It’s a glorious jettisoning of unsolicited help.

Goodbye and good riddance.

The USGA and R&A’s announcement of a new set of protocols Monday will end the practice of viewer call-ins and emails in the reporting of rules infractions.

“What we have heard from players and committees is ‘Let’s leave the rules and administration of the event to the players and those responsible for running the tournament,’” said Thomas Pagel, the USGA’s senior director of rules and amateur status.


The protocols, formed by a working group that included the PGA Tour, LPGA, European Tour, Ladies European Tour and the PGA of America, also establish the use of rules officials to monitor the televised broadcasts of events.

Additionally, the protocols will eliminate the two-shot penalty when a player signs an incorrect scorecard because the player was unaware of a violation.

Yes, I can hear you folks saying armchair rules officials help make sure every meaningful infraction comes to light. I hear you saying they make the game better, more honest, by helping reduce the possibility somebody violates the rules to win.

But at what cost?

The chaos and mayhem armchair referees create can ruin the spirit of fair play every bit as much as an unreported violation. The chaos and mayhem armchair rules officials create can be as much a threat to fair play as the violations themselves.

The Rules of Golf are devised to protect the integrity of the game, but perfectly good rules can be undermined by the manner and timeliness of their enforcement.

We have seen the intervention of armchair referees go beyond the ruin of fair play in how a tournament should be conducted. We have seen it threaten the credibility of the game in the eyes of fans who can’t fathom the stupidity of a sport that cannot separate common-sense enforcement from absolute devotion to the letter of the law.

In other sports, video review’s timely use helps officials get it right. In golf, video review too often makes it feel like the sport is getting it wrong, because timeliness matters in the spirit of fair play, because the retroactive nature of some punishments are as egregious as the violations themselves.  

We saw that with Lexi Thompson at the ANA Inspiration this year.

Yes, she deserved a two-shot penalty for improperly marking her ball, but she didn’t deserve the two-shot penalty for signing an incorrect scorecard. She had no idea she was signing an incorrect scorecard.

We nearly saw the ruin of the U.S. Open at Oakmont last year, with Dustin Johnson’s victory clouded by the timing of a video review that left us all uncertain if the tournament was playing out under an incorrect scoreboard.

“What these protocols are put in place for, really, is to make sure there are measures to identify the facts as soon as possible, in real time, so if there is an issue to be dealt with, that it can be handled quickly and decisively,” Pagel said.

Amen again.

We have pounded the USGA for making the game more complicated and less enjoyable than it ought to be, for creating controversy where common sense should prevail, so let’s applaud executive director Mike Davis, as well as the R&A, for putting common sense in play.

Yes, this isn’t a perfect answer to handling rules violations.

There are trap doors in the protocols that we are bound to see the game stumble into, because the game is so complex, but this is more than a good faith effort to make the game better.

This is good governance.

And compared to the glacial pace of major rules change of the past, this is swift.

This is the USGA and R&A leading a charge.

We’re seeing that with the radical modernization of the Rules of Golf scheduled to take effect in 2019. We saw it with the release of Decision 34/3-10 three weeks after Thompson’s loss at the ANA, with the decision limiting video review to “reasonable judgment” and “naked eye” standards. We’re hearing it with Davis’ recent comments about the “horrible” impact distance is having on the game, leading us to wonder if the USGA is in some way gearing up to take on the golf ball.

Yes, the new video review protocols aren’t a panacea. Rules officials will still miss violations that should have been caught. There will be questions about level playing fields, about the fairness of stars getting more video review scrutiny than the rank and file. There will be questions about whether viewer complaints were relayed to rules officials.

Golf, they say, isn’t a game of perfect, and neither is rules enforcement, though these protocols make too much sense to be pilloried. They should be applauded. They should solve a lot more problems than they create.

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.”