Cut Line Catty Daly

By Rex HoggardJanuary 28, 2011, 11:17 pm

Farmers Insurance OpenSAN DIEGO – In a “Cut Line” first, a player on the leaderboard has gotten the metaphorical axe. But if John Daly gets the call for a curious sense of self-entitlement, Torrey Pines should get a call from the U.S. Golf Association for being entitled to another U.S. Open.

Made Cut

Phil and Amy Mickelson. Their emotional embrace behind Augusta National’s 18th green last year feels like a lifetime ago and it appears the Mickelsons are still learning to deal with Amy’s ongoing cancer treatments. All of which made her presence at Torrey Pines for Rounds 1 and 2 so encouraging.

Amy’s return and Phil’s first-round 67, which matched his best card on the South Course since the Rees Jones redesign in 2001, were not mutually exclusive events it seems.

“I forget how much I missed having her out here. It's been a good day,” Mickelson said.

Lucas Glover. Tales from the blogosphere of Glover’s professional demise appear to be greatly exaggerated. The former U.S. Open champion turned up at Torrey Pines hungry and, well hairy.

Lucas Glover
Lucas Glover sits at 4 under through two rounds at Torrey Pines. He's saving birdies for the weekend in his beard.

Many players grow “off-season” beards but Glover took it to a new level, so much so one caddie referred to him as “Grizzly Adams.”

According to a member of Camp Lucas, he started growing the beard in the fall but had to start over following a nasty shaving incident. No worries, however, it takes about four days for Glover to go from Mr. Clean to Mean Joe Green.

“Winning a U.S. Open. So easy, even a caveman can do it,” tweeted Justin Rose complete with a scruffy snapshot of Glover.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

New cell phone policy. Or, for those historically inclined, the ode to the obvious policy considering that fans have been sneaking cell phones into golf tournaments for years.

In fact, when the proposal was first introduced to the Tour’s Policy Board last year incoming board member Paul Goydos deadpanned, “We don’t allow cell phones at tournaments?”

But now the Tour is on the record in an effort to attract new fans that may have been turned off by the ban, but four events into the experiment the circuit is experiencing some growing pains.

On Friday at the Farmers Insurance Open officials confiscated 13 cell phones from the throng trailing Tiger Woods at Torrey Pines . . . on the first hole.

U.S. Golf Association. Maybe it was Woods’ first competitive return to Torrey Pines since his historic U.S. Open victory in 2008, or maybe it was just the song of crashing waves on Black’s Beach.

Either way, it’s time for the USGA to quit stalling and pull the seaside muni back into the national championship fold.

“I thought it was a great venue. There were a zillion people here, and the playoff was ridiculous. It was the coolest thing I've ever seen, so I'm surprised (Torrey Pines hasn’t been offered a second U.S. Open),” said Rocco Mediate, the affable antagonist at the ’08 Open.

You do the math, another muddy People’s Open at Bethpage Black? Or sun and fun in SoCal?

Missed Cut

Tim Finchem. It was an occasion to take the high road and open the door for healing. Instead, the commissioner offered only a backhanded snub when asked about the Lee Westwood v. Players Championship row earlier this week.

When asked about the Englishman’s decision not to play The Players, the commissioner, who supported a late-in-the-game decision to alter Tour rules in attempt to lure Westwood to TPC Sawgrass in May, took a different course.

“I'm not going to argue whether a European Tour player is doing the wrong thing, if (European Tour commissioner) George O'Grady feels because it's so important for that player to play over there,” Finchem said. “Candidly, it's probably more important on the European Tour that some of those players play over there than it is for us that they play here.”

Who says the new grooves rule did away with spin on the PGA Tour?

Tweet of the week: @IanJamesPoulter “Tiger give us a smile. Tiger Tiger give us a smile. Tiger give us a smile. Come on @TigerWoods shall we sing a song for you?”

Trash talk Twitter-style, but Woods wasn’t interested in Poulter’s reindeer games and when asked about the Englishman’s jabs he flashed a knowing smile and said, “He's probably just bored and has nothing to do. I was at home and working on my game, and flying out here. That's just Poults being Poults, and that's fine.”

Hope-less. John Daly has stretched the bounds of reason, and acceptable behavior, chronically in his career, but on Thursday at Torrey Pines he took his self-entitled outlook to a whole new stratosphere.

Following an opening-round 67 that put him in the hunt at Torrey Pines, Daly used the occasion to vent some misplaced venom toward two tournaments that had the audacity to pass on his schtick this year.

“I'll never go back to the (Bob Hope Classic) and I'll never go back to Phoenix, no matter what happens. I won't even send letters anymore. I'm not saying that to ditch the tournaments,” said Daly, who did not get a sponsor exemption into either the Hope or Waste Management Phoenix Open this year.

“I felt like I did my part. It hurt me for those two tournaments not to give me spots. So I'll go to Europe on those weeks.”

Just a thought, but if Daly really wanted to play the Hope and Phoenix he may have given Q-School a try, but then they don’t give exemptions out at the Fall Classic either.

Getty Images

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.”