Keep on Tryon

By Mercer BaggsNovember 12, 2003, 5:00 pm
PGA Tour (75x100)LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- You could see it as he walked out of the scorers trailer off the 18th hole on the Magnolia Course at Disneys Funai Classic. There was something in his eyes, something in his stride.
 
He had just officially played his final round as a card-carrying member on the PGA Tour. But what was visible wasnt frustration. It wasnt anger or disappointment. It was a sense of urgency.
 
Ty Tryon really had to use to the restroom.
 
When he emerged from the locker-room facilities, all of two reporters were waiting to ask him about his future plans; to ask him about his state of mind, his emotions; to ask him what went wrong.
 
I tried my best, he said. Just wasnt meant to be, I guess.
 
It was a far different visual from two-and-a-half years ago, when he first exploded onto the PGA Tour scene. When everyone wanted to know everything about the 16-year-old kid with the spiky hair, the imperfect complexion, the big smile and the seemingly bigger game.
 
But that explosion proved more firecracker than big bomb. It was bright, loud and fascinating. And short-lived.
 
After Monday qualifying in the 2001 Honda Classic, he became the youngest player in 44 years to make the cut in a tour event. He also made the cut later that year in the B.C. Open.
 
Tryon then turned professional and made it through all three stages of the Qualifying Tournament to gain his PGA Tour status. He was still only 17, and the youngest player ever to earn his tour card.
 
That created quite a stir. Curiosity turned to criticism.
 
I think its a joke, Scott Hoch, whose son, Cameron, played with Tryon in high school, said at the time. I know Ty. Its a terrible decision.
 
PGA Tour officials didnt publicly agree with the derogatory sentiments -- that extended far beyond Hoch, but they reacted by implementing a rule that required a person to be at least 18 years of age to compete on their circuit.
 
I still dont understand why they care so much about me; it just blows my mind why they care so much, Tryon said of his critics after missing the cut at Disney. They wouldnt care about me if I went to college; they wouldnt even know who I was, probably. Because Im a pro, they all worry about me. Ive never really understood that, so I dont really care what they think.
 
Tryons performance over the last two years has given his pundits plenty of ammunition to support their disapproval: It was too much, too soon, for someone too young.
 
After finally turning 18 in June, he played six events in 2002 before battling a bout of mononucleosis that ended his season. He was awarded a Major Medical Extension for 2003, meaning he had 21 tournaments to win $515,000, equaling what No. 125 on the money list earned in 02.
 
He missed by a mile.
 
Tryon made four of 21 cuts this year, finishing 196th on the money list. The money he collected for his 10th-place showing at Bay Hill accounted for nearly 75 percent of his $125,875 yearly earnings.
 
Im not going to be discouraged, because I know Ive got the talent. And I feel at times that I got the game. Im just not there yet, he said. I think maybe another year or so, Ill get better, get a little older. Ill be ready.
 
That next year may be on the Nationwide Tour ' golfs version of Off Broadway.
 
Tryon is set to play in this weeks second stage of the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament. He will compete at Hombre Golf Club in Panama City Beach, Fla. If he makes it through to the finals, he will compete outside of his hometown of Orlando at Orange County National, where he shot 63 in the second stage in 2001.
 
Even if he fails to make it through to the finals this time, he will still have status on the developmental circuit by virtue of cracking the top 200 on the PGA Tours money list.
 
You might think that Tryon would be downtrodden by his failure to keep his card. That, at the immature age of 19, he might not see the benefits of playing outside of the spotlight, and inside of the shadows.
 
But thats not the case.
 
I think it (playing on the Nationwide Tour) would be very beneficial. Im going to go out there and be able to mature at my own pace a little bit more, be able to become my own person. I feel like I was under the microscope a bit out here and it will be a little less out there, he admitted.
 
Its kind of a fresh start, you know. Its been a great experience out here. But Im kind of happy ' its a lot to expect out here. Theres a lot of pressure on you, a lot of expectations, a lot of eyes, a lot of people [saying] what they think should work, while youre trying to grow up yourself.
 
Despite the disastrous on-course results, this experience was not a bust. In fact, it proved overwhelmingly positive in terms of self-discovery.
 
Aaron Baddeley knows Tryon will only continue to grow ' personally and professionally ' by taking a step back.
 
Baddeley turned professional on the heels of a highly successful amateur career and then surprisingly missed out on earning his PGA Tour card by failing to make it through the finals of the 2001 Q-School.
 
Instead, the then 20-year-old Australian was relegated to the minor league.
 
The best time of my life, said Baddeley, who finished 10th on the 2002 Nationwide Tour money list to gain his PGA Tour status, and then nearly won the Sony Open in his debut as a card-carrying member.
 
Out there, youre able to find out what works for you ' just the little things like how much you like to practice, where to go eat, how much to work out.
 
You have to find out what works for you, and its easier to do that when youre not in the spotlight.
 
Tryon doesnt lack confidence; he lacks consistency. And he knows that the best place to find that is not in locations like Pebble Beach or Westchester, but in Broussard, La., and Boise, Idaho.
 
I think I can do everything well, but I do it in streaks, he said. I just have to be more consistent, just sort of milquetoast, just sort of bland. More of just knocking the ball straight, with less flash.
 
And more of just golf.
 
Tryon admitted that he entered tour life nave. He wasnt prepared for peripheral overlaod: booking hotels; rental cars; agents; endorsements; the fans; the media; and on and on and on.
 
In the beginning it was definitely pretty overwhelming. Things just didnt turn out to be the way I thought it would be, said Tryon. It wasnt just golf; you had to focus on so many other things.
 
So now, assuming he doesnt again run the remainder of the Q-School table and regain his PGA Tour card, Tryon is off to the Nationwide Tour.
 
Its a demotion in status. Its something that could deflate the ego.
 
Its also something that could be the best thing for Tryons career.
 
Im going to go play wherever I play, if its in Europe or if its the Nationwide or the Hooters Tour or wherever and just hopefully keep having fun and playing golf, he said.
 
I came out here and I got down for a while, just wasnt having that much fun; I wasnt really enjoying it. I have a better outlook now.
 
And, as Baddeley points out: Hes not even 20.
 
Related Links:
  • PGA Tour Q-School - Stage 2 Results
  • 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.”