Upon Further Review

By Rex HoggardAugust 25, 2010, 11:39 pm

Call it the year of unintended consequences. Upon further review, 2010 should add a stroke, and maybe a shower, as we quickly and sadly descend into the realm of the rules wonks, blue-blazered types who nitpick actions without the slightest interest in intent or consequences or common sense.

On consecutive weekends Dustin Johnson and Juli Inkster suffered at the hands of golf’s blind justice. Some feel we should find those responsible for such arcane rules and throttle them with one of those weights Inkster placed on her golf club to stay loose at last week’s Safeway Classic.

The crowds that surrounded Whistling Straits’ 18th hole, many of whom were standing in the same scruffy wasteland that ultimately cost Johnson his first major sure thought so, chanting, “Let. Him. Play.” as the tape was reviewed and the infamous eraser turned “Glory’s Last Shot' into a reason to head for last call.

There’s not enough sugar in Willy Wonka’s land of freaks to make all this medicine go down.

Earlier this week we spoke with Kerry Haigh, the PGA of America’s managing director of tournaments. Normally Haigh is a relaxed, confident fellow with a sneaky sense of humor, but there was a detached strain in his English voice as we cleared up yet another potential rules infraction.

Even those who live by the Rules of Golf struggled with Johnson’s plight.

“That could have easily been the USGA. It was kind of a perfect storm,” said Mike Davis, the U.S. Golf Association’s senior director of rules and competitions.

What has transpired over the last fortnight was largely a one-sided fight, void of anything even resembling a winner. Nothing good came from any of this, certainly not for Johnson or Inkster. Yet before we start burning rule books and governing tournaments based on straw polls, let’s consider the alternative.

Golf tore a rotator cuff dolling out gratuitous kudos after Brian Davis flagged himself for a rules violation earlier this year at Harbour Town. Golf, the purest announced, is above the type of dishonesty and moral flexibility that plagues other sports. Yet now some of those same purists go weak-kneed at the sight of Johnson adding two or Inkster heading for player parking slump-shouldered and smoldering.

We can’t have it both ways.

The alternative to golf’s rule book can be found in this morning’s headlines:

Roger Clemens was indicted this week on charges of perjury – the NFL’s Roger Goodell has extended his title to commissioner/parole officer. Chad Ochocinco was fined $25k for tweeting during a preseason NFL game – as if that’s the worst thing the project formerly known as Chad Johnson could get dinged for (And let’s hope for Stewart Cink or Rickie Fowler’s sake that PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem doesn’t come down with a similar aversion to social media).

Rules are the backbone of our sport, whether they’re of the Royal & Ancient variety, like Johnson’s run-in at Whistling Straits and Inkster's swing weight, or the administrative type like Wednesday’s pro-am snafu that sent Jim Furyk to an early Barclays exit.

Were Johnson and Furyk trying to gain a competitive advantage? Of course not. But you don’t have to like the rules to acknowledge their place in the game. The simple truth is 95 percent of the golf public doesn’t even understand most of them anyway.

Johnson, the man who paid the ultimate price, knows the rules, if not the scruffy outline of a bunker-turned-sandbox. At 26 years old he also knows a frenzied mob when he sees one.

“I'm pretty sure I'm very good with the rules of the game. And there's nothing that really stands out that's a bad rule or something I don’t understand,” he said on Tuesday.

For those who clamor for clarity know this: Neither Johnson nor Inkster nor Furyk made excuses or asked for special dispensation.

“The rules are rules,” Furyk said flatly at Ridgewood.

And the rules are the firewall that separates golf from the win-at-all-costs mentality that fuels deviant behavior in other sports.

Yet instead of appreciating the sometimes-convoluted essence of the game, those with short-term memories and overactive imaginations search for scapegoats and play the blame game.

It wasn’t Johnson’s fault, it was his caddie Bobby Brown or the walking rules official David Price that blew it. Furyk was late because his caddie, Mike “Fluff” Cowan, didn’t set a second alarm for his man. Or worse, they are bad rules that should have been ignored.

The entire conversation reeks of self entitlement and a lack of personal responsibility, a concept neither Johnson nor Furyk have any interest in.

For those inclined to cherry pick the rules based on the urgency of now consider the alternative: In college athletics it’s called a lack of institutional control. Or, if you’re searching for a shorthand explanation, just call it the NFL.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'

President at the Presidents Cup

Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump

Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

Cart on the green

Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green

Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open

Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National

Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

Trump golf properties


Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers

Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up

Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm