PGA Tour should look to LPGA on slow play

By Rex HoggardMay 22, 2012, 7:49 pm

FORT WORTH, Texas – Let’s call this the wrong execution of the right idea and count Morgan Pressel, bless her emotional heart, as a wrong-place, wrong-time victim, collateral damage in a campaign that is long overdue.

To do otherwise, would be to miss the point.

No, the LPGA’s pace-of-play policy may not be bulletproof. In fact, to hear some PGA Tour types this week at the Colonial, it’s as riddled with inconsistencies and misconceptions as their own circuit’s convoluted rules on slow play. But there is one glaring exception – the ladies tour is at least trying to put some bite in its small-print bark.

These are the facts. On the 12th tee during her semifinal match against Azahara Munoz at last week’s Sybase Match Play Championship, both players were informed that they were “on the clock.”

Read more on Morgan Pressel

According to first-hand reports, Pressel, who was the first to play, was timed starting with her tee shot and given 30 seconds to play each shot with a 10-second grace period. When the dust settled, the stopwatch didn’t lie, Pressel breached the rule by 39 seconds and was assessed a penalty, which in match play was a loss of the hole.

Some Monday morning quarterbacks have called the incident unnecessary, arbitrary, even unfair that a relatively fast player would be penalized because her group was put on the clock because of the actions, or inactions, of a slow player, in this case Munoz.

Lost in all the handwringing , however, is the truth that you may not agree with the LPGA policy, but at least the women’s circuit is making an effort.

By comparison, the PGA Tour hasn’t doled out a stroke penalty, or loss of a hole in match play, in 17 years.

“No one has played slow in 17 years?” smiled one Tour frat brother early Tuesday morning at Colonial.

It seems ill-timed that exactly one week after Kevin Na made headlines with his languid pace of play at The Players Championship that some in the golf world have become indignant over the LPGA’s decision to penalize Pressel at such a crucial moment.

But in golf, officials don’t swallow the whistle in the fourth quarter. Strike zones don’t become larger on Sundays just because the outcome could become uncomfortable, and fouls, however ticky tacky, don’t go unnoticed.

“If I’m in the first group off on Thursday, and I tap down a spike mark, I get the same penalty as the guy who is playing in the last group on Sunday would on the 72nd hole,” Brendon De Jonge said. “I wish they’d do that out here.”

The LPGA’s policy may not be ideal, although compared to the Tour’s laissez faire approach it certainly qualifies as a deterrent, but it is how that circuit’s rule makers have decided to combat slow play, and you don’t let a rule slide just because it doesn’t pass the smell test.

Much of the debate at Colonial focused on the injustice of timing an entire group when it may be just a single player causing the hold up. The venerable locker room at Hogan’s Alley was filled with stories of players who have been penalized – cash, because the Tour doesn’t do stroke penalties for slow play, or at least they haven’t for the better part of two decades – because of the actions of a habitual snail.

“I used to try and speed up when my group got put on the clock before, but I’ve stopped doing that,” Erik Compton said. “I don’t do that anymore. I just keep my same pace.”

But this isn’t about building a better mousetrap. This is about going with the policy you have, and to the LPGA’s credit they have, at least in this instance, followed the letter of the law.

No one wants to see a seemingly innocent player penalized, particularly at a crucial moment, but if the only alternative is a don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy, then it may be time for the suits in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., to look south to Daytona Beach for the answer.

The LPGA’s policy may not be perfect, and Pressel’s plight certainly qualifies as unfortunate, but at least they are trying, and that’s more than the PGA Tour can say.

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After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard

On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

He picked up one more No. 2, too.

The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

Best of the rest: A two-time winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry