Will LPGA revamp non-member money calcuation

By Randall MellJanuary 15, 2011, 4:32 am

LPGA Tour _newThe LPGA is studying the possibility of more than just a change to its Monday qualifier rules as a benefit to non-members.

Commissioner Mike Whan told GolfChannel.com that he also is exploring the possibility of changing tour rules so that money won in elite events like the U.S. Open, the Evian Masters and the Canadian Women’s Open will start counting as non-member earnings for players trying to earn their tour cards. No changes, however, are planned this year.

Under current rules, non-members whose winnings would have ranked among the top 80 on the money list at year’s end are eligible for tour membership, but there’s a catch. Only money won in “LPGA co-sponsored domestic tournaments with fields of 75 or more” counts in the calculation of non-member money winnings.

The U.S. Open isn’t a co-sponsored event. As foreign events, the Evian and Canadian Women’s Open don’t count. They haven’t counted in the past because the LPGA’s governing body believed their large purses skewed earnings. The belief was that it was unfair that a non-member could have one strong performance in an entire year and earn tour membership.

If a change were made to non-member money calculation, Whan would also consider lowering the top-80 money ranking as the non-member cutoff for tour membership. For example, non-members might be required to finish among the top 50 or top 40 or top 30 in the future to earn tour membership.

Calculation of non-member money winnings became an issue last year with speculation mounting that 15-year-old Lexi Thompson would petition for a waiver of LPGA age restrictions and seek membership based off money won in 2010. Bobby Kreusler, Thompson’s agent, called it “ludicrous” that three of the most important events on the LPGA schedule don’t count for non-member earnings.

Thompson made $336,472 last year in LPGA events. As a tour member, that would have ranked 34th on the money list. As a non-member, she only got credit for $21,362 because the bulk of her money was won at the U.S. Open, Evian Masters and the Canadian Women’s Open. That would have ranked 129th on the money list as a non-member.

Where Thompson would have ranked on the money list ultimately didn’t matter as she never petitioned for tour membership, but the rules were part of the discussions Thompson’s camp had with Whan this winter.

“I was looking at that way before I knew who Lexi Thompson was,” Whan said. “In her case, it’s irrelevant. Regardless how she does in 2011, if she would come back and petition at the end of 2011, she would still be an underage non-member. It really wouldn’t matter to me, nor to our regulations, what money she earned. It’s irrelevant before she’s 18.”

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