America's resurgence

By Randall MellJune 22, 2011, 7:39 pm

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – What’s wrong with American golf?

While it’s a growing question in the men’s game with the United States enduring its longest winless spell in more than a century of men’s majors, the women are enjoying a resurgence in their most important events.

American Cristie Kerr is back this week to defend her title at the Wegmans LPGA Championship after winning by a record 12 shots last year.

Stacy Lewis is looking to become the first American in 25 years to claim the first two majors of the year.

With American Paula Creamer seeking to add to her U.S. Open title last summer, Americans have built some major momentum.

While the American men have gone five consecutive majors without a title, the American women are aiming to claim four in the last five.

“The Americans realize you’ve got to step up, you’ve got to play well, and you’ve got to work hard,” Lewis said. “We’ve got the talent to compete.

Lewis, 26, won the season-opening Kraft Nabisco Championship in April. She’s looking to become the first American since Pat Bradley to win the Kraft Nabisco and LPGA Championship to open the year’s majors.

If Kerr wins, she has a chance to regain the No. 1 world ranking she held for five weeks last year.

Given how much grief American women have received for more than a decade, the major run is a point of pride.

It wasn’t very long ago American women weren’t just struggling to win majors. They were struggling to win anything.

With Sweden’s Annika Sorenstam, Australia’s Karrie Webb, Mexico’s Lorena Ochoa and a wave of Asians dominating a changing international game, American women endured a number of long, winless droughts. In 2009, Americans won just four LPGA events, fewest in the history of the tour. They went 17 consecutive events without winning that year, the longest winless spell since the LPGA was created in 1950.

Though Americans won just five times last year, twice this year, they’ve made a large statement in the majors.

There’s more than jingoistic motivation for the Americans to step up.

“It’s great we’ve got players from all over the world playing,” Lewis said. “But I think our tour right now, we need some Americans to step up and play well, especially to get more events in the U.S., to get a lot of the events back that we’ve had in the past. I think it’s great that we go to Asia and Europe to play and all, but the LPGA is a U.S.-based tour and we need some Americans to play well to get that U.S. base back in there.”

American corporations like American stars.

The LPGA’s schedule of 24 official events this year features 13 U.S. events. There were 24 U.S. events just three years ago.

Even the LPGA’s international cast sees the value of American success. Norway’s Suzann Pettersen was asked if it bothers her to hear so frequently how important it is for Americans to win.

“No,” Pettersen said. “The LPGA really needs those Americans to play well. That’s nothing to hide under the table. The LPGA, I’m not saying is in great shape. We are struggling. To grow back strong in the American market, we need the Americans, all of them.”

The Americans are eager to oblige this week.

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.


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