Time is Not on Duvals Side - COPIED - COPIED

By Mercer BaggsNovember 19, 2007, 5:00 pm
Its been six seasons since hes had a win. Five since he even had a top-10 or finished inside the top 125 on the money list.

And yet he still intrigues. Guess we are just fascinated by what we cant explain.

David Duval has had to do a lot of explaining over the last half-decade. Thats what happens when you go from the No. 1 player in the world to the No. 1 oddity in the game, when people start looking at you with bewilderment instead of reverence.

David Duval
David Duval last finished inside the top 125 on the money list in 2002.
He blamed it on injury, blamed it on apathy. Hurt his back and developed some bad swing habits. Won a major and wondered: Is that all there is?

Duvals freefall is well-chronicled. Youd be hard-pressed to find a fan who didnt know his story ' if not the specific details, at least the generalities.

The story has evolved a bit over the last couple of years. Hes gotten married; adopted her kids ' had one of their own; moved to Colorado. Hes better-rounded, he says.

He looks it, too. His once chiseled physique now has the definition of a jar of jelly.

And thats just the way he wants it. Hes says hes happy now, and you have to believe him (hes never been one to put up a false front).

He also says that hes playing better. That hes close to being a contender once again. And there, too, you have to take him for his word, because its not always easy to see.

There are signs, however; bits of evidence that he is indeed improving. Last year, he finished 172nd in earnings. Certainly nothing special for a man who has 13 career PGA TOUR wins and a claret jug.

But that was nearly 100 spots better than his position the year prior. And his 11 cuts made (in 24 starts) were more than his combined total over the previous three seasons. He only made one cut in 20 starts in '05.

His best finish of 06 came, of all places, at the U.S. Open. He tied for 16th at Winged Foot, even made some noise on Friday when he shot a tournament best 68.

Following that round Duval was asked what he always gets asked after posting a good number: Are you back? Is your game finally coming around?

And he answered as he has answered many times before:

I've been saying that for I don't know how long and nobody wants to seem to listen ' I'm playing well. I'll say it again: I'm playing very well.

At the British Open, five years after having won it at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, Duval posted a couple of modest 2-under 70s over the first two days.

And, of course, someone just had to ask: Do you feel the pieces of the jigsaw are coming together?

And, of course, Duval just had to reply: As I've said for many months, I'm playing well. I really don't know how else to answer that question.

Duval realizes that the question will persist until he develops some sort of consistency. He also admits: It will be nice when that's over. It will mean that I'm playing as I expected.

He might want to get on that in a hurry.

Duval was granted a five-year TOUR exemption for winning the 2001 Open Championship. That was 1-2-3-4-5-6 years ago.

Hes competing this year by using a one-time exemption for being inside the top 25 on the TOURs career money list. He can play next year, if need be, by using a one-time exemption for being inside the top 50 on that list.

And then then he has to make it on his own merit ' based on recent accomplishments, not from what he achieved in the past.

His quest begins this week at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, the tournament where he shot a closing 59 to cement his status as the best player in the world ' even before he officially became No. 1.

That came in 1999. He finished 26 under that week. In 2005, he finished 30 over ' without playing in the fifth and final round.

But last year he made the cut to play the final day. He finished at 9 under, despite shooting 78 along the way.

Its that one day that really seems to be holding him back at the moment. Fourteen times in 23 stroke-play events last year, he had at least one round of 75 or higher.

It's also those singular rounds that make others believe, as he does, that a revival is possible: the 63 Sunday of last year's Sony; the 64 in round 4 at the Hope; the 68 at Winged Foot.

They're just too few and far between.

The game still seems a bit puzzling to Duval, which is quite appropriate considering he is one of golfs greatest mysteries.

When it comes to David Duval, one really has no idea what to expect. Hes one big, well-rounded, seemingly content question mark.

Hed prefer nothing more than to have his game provide positive answers to all those questions. But who knows if that is possible.

The one thing thats most certain in all of this: tracking back up a hill is much more arduous than sledding down it.

If, however, his game doesnt tell you what you want to know, feel free to ask him how things are coming along. He just loves that.

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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 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.”