Gliss-tening on the Surface

By Mercer BaggsJune 11, 2003, 4:00 pm
OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. -- He had been warned: Expect more than you can imagine. He tried to prepare himself, but what can prepare you for this?
 
Live television. Press conferences. Autograph hounds. Galleries the size of your high school graduating class watching.
 
Tom Glissmeyer is 16 years old. And hes competing in this years U.S. Open. Hes the youngest participant in the field, just as Derek Tolan was one year ago.
 
Tolan and Glissmeyer have more in common than an annual slot in history. They each qualified for their respective Open at the same site ' Columbine Country Club in Littleton, Col.
 
Derek is a great guy, and were good friends, said a wide-eyed Glissmeyer. He was actually the first person I talked to Tuesday morning (after he qualified). He said to just try and keep focused on the golf, and youre there to play golf.
 
It didnt take Glissmeyer long to know those directions are easy to recite and hard to rehearse.
 
Its kind of hard when you see Tiger and Ernie walking down the other fairway. The natural tendency is to stop and watch them, the Colorado Springs resident said.
 
Its a little overwhelming.
 
Todays stars can relate. At one time everyone had to make his first PGA Tour start or major appearance. Asked to recall the first major he competed in, Ernie Els smiled and told the story of his debut in 1989.
 
I was 19 when I played at the British Open. I was almost too nervous to get on to the practice range, he recalled. And when I go there, there was a spot open next to Jack Nicklaus, and I just slid in there behind him, very quietly. He turned around and said, 'Hello.' I almost wet myself, but that was my first meeting with Jack.
 
Glissmeyer,a junior at Cheyenne Mountain High School, will play alongside fellow qualifiers Bryce Molder and Sean Murphy in the first two rounds. He earned his spot by shooting 68 in a local qualifier at Buffalo Run, a course east of Denver. He then posted 72-69 at Columbine in the sectional qualifier. He was one of only two players to advance from that site, and did so despite making triple bogey on his first hole.
 
Somewhere along the line I made 10 more birdies and here I am, he casually explained.
 
Glissmeyer is without a spectacular amateur resume. According to him, I havent won everything, but Ive played in a lot of tournaments that Ive placed in the top 5.
 
His biggest tournament to date was last years U.S. Junior Amateur, where he lost in the second round of match play. He estimates that he has played in excess of 100 tournaments over the last five years and has finished in the top 5 75 percent of the time.
 
Though he quickly added: This is not going to be one of the top-5s; Im pretty sure thats out of the question.
 
Unlike Tolan, who expressed little interest outside of the golf course, Glissmeyer appears to be a bit more rounded. In addition to playing basketball, baseball, tennis and hockey, he says he has made only three Bs since the fourth grade. Its easy in Colorado to separate the golf and the school because half the time during the school year you cant even play golf, he said.
 
Glissmeyer started playing golf when he six years old; 10 years later hes playing alongside Michael Campbell in a practice round at the nation's premiere golf tournament.
 
I think the most important thing that he told me was just go out and care but dont care. You cant beat yourself up over a swing that wasnt perfect. Youve just got to go hit the ball, and hit it hard. Thats the best advice Ive gotten ' just pretend its a practice round, he said.
 
Again, easy to recite, hard to rehearse.
 
Glissmeyer, who has Country Club of Colorado pro Chris Wilkens on his bag, blasted balls every-which-way but straight in Tuesdays practice round with Campbell. He even admitted he drives a car much better than a golf ball.
 
My tendency is to kind of spray the driver a little bit, and that isnt going to help out here, he acknowledged. But everything else ' going into the greens I think Ive handled pretty well. I think the big key is going to be to keep it in the short grass.
 
Its likely that Glissmeyer will repeat the fate of Tolan, who shot 78-88 on Bethpages Black Course for a 26-over total and missed the cut. But making it to the weekend isnt really his goal this week. Hes actually already achieved it.
 
I think just being here is a success for me, he said. Im not going to determine if it was a successful week or not based on how I play.
 
Im just going to take this experience and Ill be able to apply it to the rest of my tournaments the rest of my life ' how to handle the pressure and the stresses on the course and off the course.
 
My goal this week is just to take everything in and enjoy it to the fullest.
 
Related Links:
  • U.S. Open Home
  • Full Tournament Coverage
  • Olympia Fields Course Tour
  • Getty Images

    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.

    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.”