Cut Line Straits Shooting - COPIED

By Rex HoggardAugust 28, 2010, 3:22 am
As the golf world continues to digest “bunker-gate” and one of the strangest major finishes in history (non-Carnoustie division), Herb Kohler’s Wisconsin wonderland shares the dubious “’Missed Cut” spotlight this week with the PGA Tour, which seems poised to pull the plug on the circuit’s preeminent island getaway in Hilton Head.

Made Cut

Dustin Johnson. It took Roberto De Vicenzo the better part of 40 years to get over his scorecard gaffe at the 1968 Masters, telling “Cut Line” a few years ago, “For 40 years (the mistake) made me cry. Now it makes me smile.”

Our gut tells us it won’t take the hard-swinging Johnson that long, particularly considering how he reacted in the hectic moments following one of the most surreal major finishes since Jean Van de Velde waded into a chilly Scottish burn.

“Obviously I know the Rules of Golf, and I can't ground my club in a bunker, but that was just one situation I guess. Maybe I should have looked to the rule sheet a little harder,” Johnson said. “That's how it goes.”

We also were impressed with the way Johnson’s caddie Bobby Brown handled the heartbreak.

“I've thought long and hard, and I'll have to take a little heat,” Brown told the Myrtle Beach Sun News. “Maybe I should've known. I always read those sheets; I carry them in my yardage book in case there's a question. I've walked by bunkers every day, and I never thought that was a bunker. I thought it was a waste area. It looked like sand off the hill.”

From where “Cut Line” is sitting a week removed from the madness, it looks like golf’s version of a hanging chad.

Sean Foley. Whatever the status of his relationship with the world No. 1, it seems to be providing Tiger Woods with constructive feedback if not glimmers of hope.

Although Woods’ rounds of 71-70-72-73 at Whistling Straits were hardly a reason to celebrate, most Tour observers agree his action is “better,” whatever that means, and his putting (he didn’t take more than 29 putts for any round at the PGA) suggests the Barclays may be more than simply a Playoff cameo for the embattled star.

 If so, Foley would get co-Coach of the Year honors with Buck Showalter, the new Baltimore Orioles skipper who has the Birds inching their way out of the American League basement.
Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)


Rory McIlroy. We love the kid – crazy game, engaging, mop of black curls spilling out from under the ball cap. Among the twentysomethings he is the most promising prospect both on and off the golf course, but we have to flag the Northern Irish-lad for his comments regarding Woods and the Ryder Cup.

Asked this week if he “fancies his chances (in a match)” against the world No. 1 McIlroy said, “Yeah I would, unless his game rapidly improves over the next few weeks. I think anyone on the European team would fancy their chances against him.”

Although he gets style points for his bravado, someone should remind McIlroy it is European captain Colin Montgomerie’s job to produce bulletin board fodder, and he’s very good at it.

Corey Pavin. Yes, we know, Tiger is on your short list of potential captain’s picks. It just seems Captain America is taking this coy schtick a bit too far.

Remove all the names from the potential picks and this is a non-story. Player W has 14 majors to his credit, has played on a combined 11 Ryder and Presidents Cup teams, has an impressive 3-1-1 Ryder Cup singles’ record and two top-5 finishes in majors this year.

By comparison, Players X, Y and Z (Nos. 9, 10 and 13 on the current points list) have one top-5 in 11 career majors, one top-5 of any kind this season and would be a Ryder Cup rookie, respectively.

You make the call.

Tweet of the week: @ogilviej (Joe Ogilvie) “I don’t know what is scarier, my putting today or the fact that the Federal Reserve will become second largest holder of U.S. dept by October.”
Missed Cut


PGA Tour. Not even “bridge” financing for at least one more year, 42 years of dedicated southern hospitality and one of the coziest setups this side of St. Andrews was enough to save the circuit’s Hilton Head Island, S.C., stop.

The Valero Texas Open will move into Hilton Head’s post-Masters date in 2011, although no commitments have been made beyond next year, and Harbour Town officials are hopeful a spot will open up elsewhere on the schedule but are still eyeing possible dates.

Still, “Cut Line” couldn’t help but revisit chief of operations Rick George’s comments before this year’s Heritage.

“This time of year is right after Augusta and the Masters. It makes a lot of sense, it's been a staple on Tour for the last 42 years, and we hope to be here another 42 years,” George said.

“I wouldn't say there’s other cities trying to take the tournament. Obviously we have every intention of being back here in 2011.”

That’s quite a 180 in less than four months. Either George was being less than forthcoming, or he was speaking completely out of school. You choose.

Herb Kohler and Pete Dye. To be fair, Kohler’s dream was to build America’s greatest golf resort and his slice of Wisconsin heaven certainly puts Whistling Straits and the American Club in the conversation among the nation’s best.

As a Grand Slam venue, however, the Straits Course is something less than ideal. In essence, there are 16 great holes – the par-5 fifth hole is a square peg in a collection of round holes and the 18th is best described as a work in progress – spoiled by a contrived collection of ornamental bunkers and enough hills to break a billy goat.

If the PGA of America is married to Whistling Straits as a venue, may we suggest the occasional PGA Professional National Championship. The club pros deserve a solid course and the fans deserve a break.
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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.”

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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.