Nicklaus Talks Pres Cup Tiger and Vijay

By Mercer BaggsAugust 10, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 PGA ChampionshipSPRINGFIELD, N.J. ' Bet you all thought you were done with me.
That was Jack Nicklaus first remark as he entered the media center Wednesday.
Nicklaus, who last played in the PGA Championship in 2000 at Valhalla, was on hand as an Honorary Chairman. He was recognized with a plaque on the 18th tee of the Lower Course at Baltusrol, where he won the 1967 and 1980 U.S. Opens.
Its a nice honor, said the five-time PGA champion. I think they picked an appropriate place.
Jack Nicklaus
Jack Nicklaus held court on a number of topics Wednesday at Baltusrol.
Nicklaus is not in attendance in a competitive role, having bowed out of major championship competition at last months Open Championship. But he will be keeping an eye on the event, as his U.S. Presidents Cup team will be finalized this week.
I know pretty much what Im going to do, but Im not even ' Im not going to announce that until next week, said Nicklaus, who announced Jeff Sluman as his assistant captain once again Wednesday, and will reveal his two captains selections Monday.
The U.S. team, which is determined based on earnings, is pretty much set from Nos. 1-8. But the ninth and 10th positions ' the final automatic spots ' are up for grabs, with Davis Love III and Scott Verplank holding those two places respectively.
Justin Leonard is currently 11th; Zach Johnson 12th; and Chad Campbell 13th. Points are doubled at a major.
What I look for is something balanced on the team. Depends on who ends up in the ninth and 10th places; depending on who ends up there as to who I might pick. I may go for youth; I may go for some experience, depending on whats there.
Nicklaus' U.S. team will take on Gary Player's International squad, which will also be finalized this week, Sept. 22-25 at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Lake Manassas, Va.
Nicklaus also touched on a variety of other topics Wednesday:
On the first time he saw Vijay Singh:
I dont know, 15 years ago or so, watching him come on the European Tour, and I watched this guy beating balls and never heard of him. I would go to Europe and see him hitting balls and I saw this beautiful golf swing, and they said, this guy is the hardest working guy Ive ever seen over here, and I said, well, if hes that hard of working, hes going to get somewhere. Its just taken Vijay a while to get there.
On the current state of Tiger Woods game:
I talked with Tiger quite a bit last night (at the Champions Dinner), and I told him I thought his swing plane at the British Open was the best Id ever seen it. I mean, Ive seen Tigers swing a lot in the last few years and I didnt think his swing plane was where he probably wanted it. But I thought at the British it was the best Id ever seen. So if its something similar to what he was using there, hes going to be very difficult again this week.
On where a win this week would rank Tigers 2005 season in the history of the game:
How do you compare what hes doing, because nobody has ever done what hes doing. Certainly I didnt. And certainly, you know, nobody else that you can go back and look at did anything like that. Hes dominated way beyond how anybodys ever dominated. I mean, I dominated and mine was dominated over a long period of time.
On comparing his rivals to that of Tiger:
I had guys that were stronger players, that had more experience at winning than Tiger has against him. But Tiger still has a lot of guys that play awfully, awfully well. Im not trying to degrade the players or knock down the players hes playing, but Im saying if we have fewer players and fewer players playing, they are going to win more championships and they are going to learn how to win more. And today with the competition, theres so many players out there that are good, they dont get the opportunity to win as much.
So when you get a guy who is used to winning, against guys who are not used to winning ' winning breeds winning is what Ive always said.
You realize, Arnold (Palmer) was 32 years old when I came along on the scene, and Tiger is 29. So sometime in the next three years a young Jack Nicklaus might come along to challenge Tiger, thats what Im saying. Or maybe nobody comes along and Tiger may win another 15 majors, who knows.
On if longer courses (like the 7,392-yard, par-70 Lower Course) are eliminating certain players from contending:
Yeah, unfortunately I think its the truth. The issue that I have is that if you arent a power player, you cant play. And you take the Gary Players, the Jackie Burkes, the Ben Hogans, Gardner Dickinsons ' theres hundreds of guys who are small of stature who didnt have the clubhead speed that they have today but they competed when they played well on certain golf courses they could play on. Thats not the case today, because of all the length and because of all the power and because of all the emphasis on how far the golf ball goes.
Little guys have a hard time playing this game anymore. I just dont like to see people eliminated because of physical stature. It should be ability and how you hit your golf shots and the way you can make your putts.
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    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 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.


    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.”