Bunker Shots Like a Rolling Stone

By Randall MellOctober 20, 2009, 9:30 pm

Blasting into the week ahead Like a Rolling Stone.

Bob Dylans first album, titled Bob Dylan, was recorded during this week in 1961. We set the weeks storylines with the Pulitzer Prize winning singer-songwriter leading the way:

Remembering a riveting year in the majors

Precious memories, how they linger

How they ever flood my soul.

In the stillness of the midnight,

Precious sacred scenes unfold.

From Bob Dylans Precious Memories

The four major championship winners teeing it up in the PGA Grand Slam of Golf Tuesday and Wednesday have iron wills.

We know because they won with so much energy working against them.

They relished the role of spoilers in denying victory to the sentimental favorites or the heavy favorite.

This weeks big event is a celebration of what Angel Cabrera, Lucas Glover, Stewart Cink and Y.E. Yang overcame, but its also a reminder of what we could have seen in Bermuda. With a couple different bounces, or one less putt, we could be watching Kenny Perry, Phil Mickelson (or David Duval), Tom Watson and Tiger Woods teeing it up at Port Royal Golf Course. Yes, yes, its time to get over it, time to appreciate that this years winners gave us some terrific finishes in a riveting major championship season, but well always remember this year for what might have been.

In case youre wondering, Cinks the slight favorite to win in Bermuda, according to Ladbrokes. Hes a 2-to-1 bet. In some extremely bunched odds, Cabreras next at 9-to-4 with Glover at 3-to-1 and Yang at 7-to-2.

None of the four brings much momentum to Bermuda. They all played in the Presidents Cup, combining for a 4-11-2 mark. None of them had a winning record with Yang sporting the best mark at 2-2-1.

Money makes their world go round

The gravel road is bumpy,

It's a hard road to ride,

But there's a clearer road a-waitin'

With the cinders on the side.

Trails of troubles,

Roads of battles,

Paths of victory,

We shall walk.

From Bob Dylans Paths of Victory

The fight to claim a spot among the top 125 money winners on the PGA Tour this season intensifies with the Frys.com Open one of the last three events remaining in the Fall Series.

The fact that PGA Tours Q-School begins in earnest this week with first stage qualifying adds some incentive for struggling pros making their way to Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Mike Weir is the highest ranked player in the Frys.com Open field at No. 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking, but the falls big stories arent about world rankings. Every player ranked from 109th on the PGA Tour money list to 139th is in the field. Chris Stroud has this weeks honors as the bubble boy at No. 125. Those are the compelling stories.

Three players moved up and inside the top 125 at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital for Childrens Open last week. Martin Laird, the champion, leaped from No. 134 to No. 62, Bill Lunde climbed two spots to No. 124 and Stroud jumped four spots to get on the bubble. The three players who fell out of the top 125 were Jimmy Walker (123rd to 126th), Will MacKenzie (124th 127th) and Matt Jones (125th to 128th).

The long, hard road begins

How does it feel

To be on your own

With no direction home

Like a complete unknown

Like a rolling stone?

From Bob Dylans Like a Rolling Stone

Danny Lees the man to watch with PGA Tour Q-Schools first-stage events beginning this week.

Lee, the 2008 U.S. Amateur champ, became the youngest winner of a European Tour event when he claimed the Johnny Walker Classic title in Australia in February. He hoped to avoid Q-School by winning exempt status through the seven sponsor exemptions the PGA Tour allows and other avenues into Tour events. Lee made 11 PGA Tour starts this year, but the $359,846 he won was not enough to earn the promotion. So hell tee it up today at Stonebridge Ranch in McKinney, Texas. Andrew Giuliani, the son of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Big Break Disney Golf contestant, is also in the field.

Thirteen first-stage events will be played over the next two weeks, seven this week.

Gary Nicklaus, son of Jack Nicklaus; Erik Compton, who has twice recovered from heart transplants to pursue his dream; and Sam Saunders, grandson to Arnold Palmer, are among notables teeing it up in Wednesdays start at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Tadd Fujikawa tees it up Wednesday at St. Johns Country Club in St. Augustine, Fla. Jay Haas Jr., son of the PGA Tour and Champions Tour star, and Jon McLean, son of noted swing instructor Jim McLean, also are scheduled to play there.

Next weeks six first-stage events are scheduled to include former Oklahoma State All-American Rickie Fowler at Lantana (Texas) Golf Club, former teen phenom Ty Tryon at Grasslands Golf & Country Club in Lakeland and Manuel Villegas, brother to PGA Tour Camilo Villegas, at Kinderlou Forest in Valdosta, Ga. Mike Van Sickle, son of long-time Sports Illustrated golf writer Gary Van Sickle, also is scheduled to play at Kinderlou Forest.

About 1,000 players will be competing for about 140 berths into the second-stage events scheduled next month. The fields strengthen at the six second-stage sites with PGA Tour pros who arent among the top 150 on this years money list joining the mix.

The final stage of Q-School will be played Dec. 2-7 at Bear Lakes Country Club in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Twenty-five winners crowned this week

Come writers and critics

Who prophesize with your pen

And keep your eyes wide

The chance won't come again

And don't speak too soon

For the wheel's still in spin

And there's no tellin' who

That it's namin'.

For the loser now

Will be later to win

For the times they are a-changin'.

From Bob Dylans Times They are a Changin

The Nationwide Tour Championships appeal is that all 60 players in this weeks field have a chance to win a PGA Tour card.

When the season-ending event concludes at Daniel Island in Charleston, S.C., the top 25 on the Tours money list get promotions to the PGA Tour next year. With a $1 million purse and $180,000 to the winner, even the last player into the field, Darron Stiles at No. 60 on the money list, can win a tour card.

Australias Alistair Presnell has the distinction of being 25th on the money list entering the event.

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.”

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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