Woods grouped with Kuchar, Snedeker at Sawgrass

By Will GrayMay 7, 2013, 5:15 pm

A full field of 145 players have descended upon the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass for one of the season's biggest events, The Players Championship. Here are some featured groups to keep an eye on during Thursday's first-round action in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (all times EDT; click here for full-field tee times):


8:08 a.m. (10th tee): Rickie Fowler, Hunter Mahan, Jim Furyk

Fowler was a runner-up here a year ago on the heels of his win at Quail Hollow, and this week he'll be joined by Furyk, a Ponte Vedra Beach resident who has one of the more consistent track records in this event of any player in the field. Their early-round group will be rounded out by Mahan, who has struggled to find his footing since a runner-up showing at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.


8:18 a.m. (10th tee): Graeme McDowell, Keegan Bradley, Bubba Watson

McDowell is making his first start since his playoff win at Harbour Town, and he'll be joined Thursday and Friday by a pair of fellow major champions. Bradley finished inside the top 10 in each of his three previous starts in the state of Florida this year, while Watson will look to continue a successful season that has netted six top-20 finishes in nine starts.


8:39 a.m. (10th tee): Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Steve Stricker

The world's newest major champion will make his first appearance since holing the winning putt at Augusta, as Scott will play alongside McIlroy and Stricker for the first two rounds. Coming off a top-10 finish in Charlotte, McIlroy will hope to make the cut at TPC Sawgrass for the first time in his career, while Stricker will continue a light playing schedule that has already yielded a trio of top-five finishes.


1:18 p.m. (1st tee): Ian Poulter, Nick Watney, Lee Westwood

A runner-up here in 2009, Poulter finds himself grouped with a pair of players who both appear to be rounding into form after coming close to victory last week at Quail Hollow. Watney was in the final group Sunday before fading into a tie for 10th, his third consecutive top-15 finish, while Westwood finished tied for fourth, marking the third consecutive event in which he finished inside the top 10.


1:28 p.m. (1st tee): Phil Mickelson, Webb Simpson, Justin Rose

After letting the trophy slip through his fingers in Charlotte, Mickelson returns to a venue where he won in 2007 and has notched three top-25 finishes since then. He'll be joined in the first two rounds by Simpson, the reigning U.S. Open champion who lost in a playoff at Harbour Town in his last start, and Rose, who has finished inside the top 25 in each of six PGA Tour starts this season.


1:49 p.m. (1st tee): Tiger Woods, Matt Kuchar, Brandt Snedeker

Making his first start since tying for fourth at Augusta National, Woods will attempt this week to tame one of the few courses that has had his number over the last decade. He'll be joined by Kuchar, the defending champion, and Snedeker, who after returning from a rib injury has yet to regain the consistency that led him to three consecutive top-two finishes earlier this season.

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