Faxon Two Back of Riegger

By Mercer BaggsMarch 8, 2002, 5:00 pm
Brad Faxon left the TPC at Heron Bay with the lead Thursday, but starts the second round trailing by two shots.
 
Rain postponed the opening round of the $3.5 million Honda Classic in Coral Springs, Fla. Faxon narrowly avoided the 12:25 p.m. EST suspension, posting a 7-under-par 65.
 
John Riegger was 1-under through three holes when play was finally called at 3:05 p.m., and proceeded to tear up the soggy venue upon his return Friday.
 
The 38-year-old made eight birdies over his final 15 holes for a course-record 9-under-par 63.
 
'I knew I was playing well, I was holing some putts, but I wasn't thinking any particular number,' said Riegger, who is seeking his first career top-10 finish on the PGA Tour. 'Once I got it going, I was just trying to birdie every hole.'
 
The second round is scheduled to be completed Saturday afternoon. A cut will be made, and officials expect to play all 72 holes; though, rain is in the forecast Sunday.
 
A total of 111 players in the 144-man field had to complete their first rounds Friday morning. Ty Tryon, who broke through at this event a year ago as a 16-year-old amateur qualifier, was among them. Using the third of his seven allotted sponsor's exemptions until his 18th birthday June 2, Tryon shot 1-under 71.
 
Faxon carded nine birdies and two bogeys prior to the Thursday thunderstorms. He concluded his round with four birdies over his final five holes.
 
For the second straight season, Faxon is off to a torrid start, though this year, hes yet to win. He finished tied for second in the Nissan Open and third in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.
 
Ironically, its been Faxons putting that has kept him out of the winners circle. He left a 12-foot birdie putt a -inch short on the final hole at Riviera that would have forced a playoff. He then lost to eventual champion Kevin Sutherland in the semifinals at La Costa, missing a three-foot putt on the 18th to extend the match.
 
Thursday, the 2001 Sony Open champion needed but 23 putts in shooting his lowest round of the year.
 
'My game has really gotten better the last two years,' said Faxon, who earned nearly $2 million last season. 'I'm much more consistent from tee to green.'
 
Five of the worlds top-10 players are in the field this week. World No. 9 Davis Love III shot 69; No. 2 Phil Mickelson shot 70; No. 6 Retief Goosen posted a 71; No. 10 Chris DiMarco finished Friday with a 67; and No. 7 David Toms is at even par.
 
This is also the final week to qualify for the Masters (save for winning The Players Championship). Pat Perez, who needs to win this week to qualify, shot even-par 72, as did Steve Flesch, who must climb 10 spots from his No. 60 world ranking.
 
Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

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.”

Getty Images

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