Rose ruling sets tone for 'sophisticated technology' use

By Rex HoggardMay 12, 2014, 5:54 pm

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – It was after 8 p.m. ET on Saturday when Mark Russell was settling in for dinner; it had been a long day and he would have preferred to put everything behind him when his cell phone rang.

Russell, the PGA Tour’s vice president of rules and competition, had just overseen a ruling that cost Justin Rose two strokes and took nearly 40 minutes, but the reporter wanted to know why Russell and the rules committee hadn’t considered using a new decision regarding the use of “sophisticated technology” as a mitigating factor in the Englishman’s situation.

“It's not as though he didn't see anything and then it came up because of high-definition television,” said Russell, one of the game’s most even-handed and well-respected officials. “He saw something and backed off, that's why the high-definition rule didn't apply.”

Fifteen hours later Rose was informed that the two-stroke penalty he’d received for violating Rule 18-2b, one shot for the ball moving at address and one for not replacing his ball after it had moved, had been rescinded.

And baseball fans think Major League Baseball’s instant replay process is deliberate.

Russell & Co. revisited the issue on Sunday when they arrived at TPC Sawgrass at 7:30 a.m., and even reached out to golf’s governing bodies – the Royal & Ancient and U.S. Golf Association – at 10 a.m. for more clarification.

PGA Tour statement explaining Rose ruling

After 45 minutes of deliberations, the decision was made to rescind the ruling under the new high-definition decision (18-4), which reads, “The ball will not be deemed to have moved if that movement was not reasonably discernible to the naked eye at the time.”

At about the same time Russell was settling in for dinner with his team of rules officials on Saturday, Rose discovered an article explaining the new decision, which was adopted last year by the R&A and USGA.

“Overnight I read an article that explained the (high-definition) rule and I kind of thought it applied to my case,” Rose said. “I didn’t see how my case was any different than what I read.”

After further review, Russell and some of the game’s greatest rules minds agreed. That it took them more than 12 hours to come to that conclusion is also understandable.

Rose’s ruling was the first time Tour officials, who asked for the amended decision regarding “sophisticated technology,” used the new loophole and it will become the litmus test for similar situations in the future.

Most players who learned of the ruling on Sunday at The Players were relieved. After years of curious and sometime confounding rulings that were only visible in the slow-motion, high-definition landscape, a common sense approach is refreshing.

“If you don’t see it move and your playing partner doesn’t see it move, you go with what you see and what you can live with,” Ryan Palmer said. “I don’t see why you should get screwed by TV. You hope the player has enough integrity to call himself if it really moved.”

In the moment, players have for eons policed themselves. On Saturday at The Players, for example, Rose called in Sergio Garcia, who was paired with the Englishman, and they both watched the replay on the super-sized television adjacent the 18th green and determined the ball hadn’t moved.

For Tour types, this isn’t about a perceived competitive advantage; it’s about the realities of a game that is played outside and under extreme conditions.

“There are times you can’t see everything,” Jimmy Walker said. “What if you blinked when that happened? That’s why they enacted the rule.”

In a twist of cosmic irony, one of the few players who didn’t seem to have a problem with video reviews was Brian Davis, who once lost a playoff at the RBC Heritage as a result of a ruling that likely would have fallen under the new decision.

On the first playoff hole in 2010 at Harbour Town, Davis’ approach to the 18th hole finished on the beach left of the green and while he was hitting his third shot something wasn’t quite right.

“I didn’t see (a blade of beach grass) move because I was over the top of the ball, but when you saw it on replay from another angle you could see it brush up and down,” Davis recalled.

After a video review – using, by definition, “sophisticated technology” – Davis was assessed a penalty and lost the playoff, perhaps the most glaring example of what the rules-makers were trying to avoid with the new high-definition decision.

Yet on Sunday, Davis largely dismissed the need for the new decision.

“As long as we get the right call that’s the important thing,” he said. “They need high-definition (reviews) to make the right call, but they also need common sense to make the right decision.”

Which brings us back to Russell. Taken to the logical extreme, one could argue that under the new decision there is no reason to review any possible infractions. If a player and those who are paired with him feel there was no violation that means they didn’t see anything, so why take it to review?

And where is the line to be drawn on what is considered “sophisticated technology?” Is a basic DVR acceptable but 1080p too techie?

“If it's discernible to the player that it wasn't discernible to the naked eye, I mean, we determined that that's the only way we would have known is through sophisticated technology,” Russell said.

Rose may have been the first player spared a penalty by the new decision but he won’t be the last. Nor will Russell be the last rules official to lose sleep trying to make sense of it all.

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Kelly leads Monty, Couples, Langer in Hawaii

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.