Weir Charges to AmEx Victory

By Mercer BaggsNovember 12, 2000, 5:00 pm
Shock, disbelief, anger and relief. Those were the telltale signs adorning player's faces as they walked off Valderrama's 17th green on Sunday.
 
Free Video - Registration Required Weir Comments on His Victory at Vaderrama
 
Relief was the operative expression for Mike Weir. After watching the penultimate hole devour the world's No. 1 player before his very eyes, the Canadian endured with a par 5 en route to his second career PGA Tour title at the WGC-American Express Championship.
 
Weir fired a 3-under-par 69 to better Lee Westwood, who shot 67, by two strokes. Vijay Singh and Duffy Waldorf tied for third at 8-under-par, three shots back of Weir. Overnight leader Hidemichi Tanaka finished tied for 11th after carding a 5-over-par 77 in the final round, five strokes higher than the Sunday scores posted by Tiger Woods and Nick Price, who each shot 72 and tied for fifth.
 
Playing in the final group with the amiable Tanaka, Weir birdied five of his first 11 holes to take sole possession of the lead at 13-under-par. A bogey at the par-3 15th trimmed a stroke off his total, but his lead remained intact entering the 71st hole.
 
Approaching the par-5 17th, Weir led Price by one and Tiger by two. By the time he finished the hole, Weir's nearest pursuant was Westwood - three strokes back.
 
Price triple-bogeyed the treacherous 17th to fall four off the lead, while Tiger carded a double-bogey to do the same. Seemingly playing it safe, Price comfortably laid-up on the reachable par-5 to within 100 yards of the hole. Price chunked his first approach shot into the water, and then laid the sod over his next attempt, which also finished wet.
 
An errant tee shot forced Woods to pitch out and then lay-up before attempting to cross the pond. Playing his fourth shot, Tiger hit a wedge ten feet past the stick; and as was the case a year ago in the final round, the ball spun back past the pin, down the slope and into the water. It was the fourth time in his last five rounds at Valderrama that Tiger has been bitten by the water hazard.
 
'I hit two good shots in there,' said an angered Woods following an even-par 72. 'Every ball I've hit in the water there have been good shots. It's just indicative of the hole. It's not a very well-designed hole and unfortunately, if you just walk around the bank, look how many balls are in the water.'
 
Free Video - Registration Required Players Comment on Valderrama's 17th Hole
 
Fortunately for Woods, this event moves to Bellerive in St. Louis next year.
 
'I'm glad we're not going to come back ever again.'
 
Woods ends the year with nine Tour victories and nearly $9.2 million in official earnings. Though he failed to become golf's first $10-million man, Tiger did establish several Tour records, including the lowest single-season scoring average in PGA Tour history at 68.17.
 
Westwood had problems of his own at the 17th. He didn't find the drink, but he did card a bogey. Still, the Englishman regrouped to par the final hole and claim second place. The runner-up finish was good enough for a $500,000 payday, thus giving the 27-year-old his first Order of Merit title over Darren Clarke, who tied for 17th this week.
 
'Obviously, I'm delighted,' Westwood said. 'It shows your consistency throughout the year, and to do it in that fashion means even more.'
 
Westwood ended the season with nearly $2.7 million in earnings, some $350,000 better than Clarke. Colin Montgomerie, who tied for 25th in Sotogrande, Spain, finished sixth in yearly earnings, the first time since 1992 he hasn't topped the Order of Merit.
 
Free Video - Registration Required Westwood Comments on Winning the Order of Merit
 
'It had to end some time,' Montgomerie said of his record reign. 'You can't keep doing that. I have been fortunate to say the last 12 years I have improved every year. But this year I haven't, so it's disappointing.'
 
On the other end of the emotional spectrum stands Weir. The 30-year-old Cannuck collected $1 million for his first victory since the 1999 Air Canada Championship and moves into sixth place on the season-ending money list.
 
'Air Canada was huge at the time, but this one goes up a notch with the quality of the field,' said Weir, who posted rounds of 68-75-65-69. 'I played really well this weekend. I had that disaster on 17 Friday (a triple-bogey 8), but hung in there this weekend.'
 
In other news, Joe Ozaki tied for 35th and picked up $39,500. Ozaki finishes the year 123rd on the PGA Tour money list, thus bumping Joey Sindelar into 126th position. The top 125 earn full playing privileges for the 2001 season.
 
Free Video - Registration Required Woods and Waldorf Comment on the Final Rd.

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