Stadlers Game Carrying Weight

By Mercer BaggsJanuary 4, 2001, 5:00 pm
Did Craig Stadler enjoy the near-triple-digit temperatures, Thursday, in Melbourne, Australia?
 
'No, most fat people don't,' replied Stadler.
 
Fortunately for the 240-pound Stadler, he only had to play 12 holes in his match against Craig Parry, trouncing the Australian 7-and-6 in the second round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.
 
Stadler is the regular guy's golfer. An affable major champion, whose frank manner can attract as well as alienate. A portly figure who only steps inside the fitness trailer to avoid the rain.
 
It's going on five years since Stadler last won a PGA Tour event, the 1996 Nissan Open. In the seasons since, Stadler - affectionately known as 'The Walrus' - has had relative success, though not in relation to self-expectation.
 
A 12-time winner on Tour, Stadler has finished inside the top-90 on the season-ending money list every year since his first full season on the PGA Tour in 1977.
 
However, the past three seasons Stadler has finished the year 85th, 87th and 77th in earnings. His three worst showings in his 24-year career.
 
A runner-up finish at the Shell Houston Open - his best performance in three years - highlighted last season. Normally that would be encouraging, but the pessimistic Stadler has a difficult time finding the silver lining in a four-hole playoff loss to Robert Allenby. Especially when you consider the abundant number of short putts he missed that would have won him Lucky No. 13.
 
Still, Stadler trudges onward, playing in the lesser side of 20 tournaments a year.
 
This week, Stadler made the trek from his home in Denver, Co., to Melbourne, Australia. Had tournament officials had their druthers, the 47-year-old wouldn't be in attendance - no offense intended.
 
Ranked 92nd in the world, Stadler wasn't on the original invitation-only guest list, which is on offer to the top 64 on the Official World Golf Ranking. But when 40 other players opted out, Stadler climbed in and gladly accepted.
 
Stadler is no stranger to success in this three-year-old World Golf Championship event. In the inaugural Match Play Stadler, seeded 59th, defeated sixth-seeded Colin Montgomerie 5-and-3 in the first round.
 
Entering the third round in 2001, Stadler carries a 3-1 overall Match Play record. His lone loss came courtesy of John Huston in the second round in '99. However, Stadler avenged that 2-and-1 defeat with a 4-and-2 victory over Huston in the first round this year.
 
Thursday, Stadler continued his dominant ways, recording seven birdies and five pars in 12 holes. Parry made three birdies of his own but was overmatched on this hot and humid Aussie day.
 
'Unfortunately, Craig missed a bunch of putts.' Stadler said. 'He had four or five (putts) lip out and I putted very well today, a lot better than yesterday. I hit the ball about the same. I just made some putts. Unfortunately, once in a while you get someone who does that to you. I haven't done that to anybody in a long time. It has been a while since I have been seven-under after 12 holes.'
 
Having disposed of Parry, nicknamed 'Popeye' because of his enormous forearms, Stadler will now face Andrew Coltart in Round Three. The lanky Scotsman, whose bellowing voice betrays his frame, defeated ninth-seeded David Toms 3-and-2.
 
Weighing less than 160 pounds, Coltart will certainly have an advantage on Friday should the conditions remain the same - that's if he can lengthen the match.
 
But if there is a positive to Stadler's sweat-soaked stalking around the Metropolitan Golf Club, it's that he's getting a jump on reaching his New Year's resolution.
 
'I want to lose about 35 pounds,' Stadler said. 'If my game takes a turn for the worse, so be it. But I hate the way I have gone back now. I am still 35 pounds less than I was this time last year, but I would like to get back down and stay there.'
 
Before dieting, Stadler weighed in at a hefty 272 pounds. He slimmed down to a healthier 218; and now hovering around the 240-mark, Stadler says he wants to play at 205.
 
For now, Stadler will have to make due with what he's got - which aside from an obtuse waistline includes an acute golf game.
 
Can the Walrus win the $1 million down under?
Share your thoughts!

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.

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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