The adventures of Cink Glover and Cabrera

By Jay CoffinAugust 13, 2009, 4:00 pm
CHASKA, Minn. ' Stewart Cink was behind the par-5 seventh green in two shots at Hazeltine National and faced a tough pitch shot toward the hole positioned near the front portion of the green guarded by water. As he stood over the ball, he noticed his playing partner Angel Cabrera standing left of him, barely in his line of sight.
 
Cink backed away from the ball, looked at the Masters champion and motioned sideways, essentially telling Cabrera to move it pronto.
 
Oh, sorry, Cabrera said as he scurried out of the way.
Angel Cabrera Lucas Glover Stewart Cink
Angel Cabrera, Lucas Glover and Stewart Cink wait on the seventh tee during the first round of the PGA Championship. (Getty Images)
Until that point, that may have been the most anyone in the group of this years major winners had said to each other.
 
We were all in different parts of the golf course, we couldnt talk to each other, said Lucas Glover, the third member of the group.
 
Cink, Cabrera and Glover went off at 1:35 p.m. (CT) Thursday for the PGA Championships traditional pairing of the years major winners. The three have more in common this year than any other champions pairing in recent memory because each played spoiler in preventing a feel good story from developing.
 
Cabrera defeated Kenny Perry in a playoff at the Masters, Glover held off Phil Mickelson and David Duval at the U.S. Open and Cink outlasted 59-year-old Tom Watson to hoist the Open Championships Claret Jug.
 
When the trio shook hands on the first tee ' with the Wanamaker Trophy as the backdrop ' there seemed to be a good, playful vibe. But moments later, the fun and games had turned tense.
 
Glover didnt make his first par until the sixth hole, Cink double bogeyed the first and fifth holes and was 5 over after five holes and, although Cabrera parred the first three holes, he came unraveled with a double bogey and a bogey on the next two holes.
 
If you just get yourself out of position a little you can really make a mess, Cink said. You cant get away with any wild shots.
 
Said Glover: Yeah, we all had different stuff going on.
 
Oddly enough, it was the aforementioned seventh hole where the momentum turned for the group as all three made birdie. Cink got up and down when he drained a 15-footer. Glover and Cabrera both had looks at eagle but easily tapped in for birdie.
 
From there the mood was a little more playful.
 
While standing on the par-3 eighth tee, Glovers caddie Don Cooper threw a chunk of grass up in the air to check the direction of the wind and the grass flew right back in Coopers face. The group shared a hardy laugh and needled Coop for the next five minutes.
 
Cabrera was the only one who didnt play better from that point forward. The two-time major winner shot 76 with six bogeys, a double bogey and four birdies. Glover and Cink, however, seemed to feed off each other and played well.
 
The U.S. Open champion ended with a 71 that included five birdies and four bogeys. The British Open champ rebounded with birdies on nine, 14 and 17 to shoot 73. At the end of the day Cink had come a long way since he butchered the fifth hole and heard a member of the gallery blurt out, hes like a gazillion over.
 
I knew if I could settle down and find a swing that the course would yield some and that I could get back into it, Cink said. Overall, I cant be displeased with 1 over.
 
It can be said with a fair amount of certainty that there wont be a double major winner this year. Not with Tiger Woods, the ultimate front runner, already, well, out front. But the Minnesotans get golf.
 
Ive felt great support from the crowds today, said Cink, with the exception of the gazillion comment. This pairing means a lot so thats pretty cool.
 
Sure, many from here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes may have been rooting against the Big Three during each respective major this year, but the Minnesota golf-crazed saluted the ceremonial pairing as they approached each green. They enjoyed the pairing as much as Cabrera, Cink and Glover enjoyed playing together.
 
Ive played a lot of golf with Angel and Stewart has been a good friend, Glover said. It was great to have the pleasure of being in that group.
 
Even with all the speed bumps.
 
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    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.

    Amen.

    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.”

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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.