All Even Entering Sunday Singles

By Sports NetworkSeptember 10, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 Solheim CupCARMEL, Ind. -- Each team won two points in the afternoon four-balls on Saturday, leaving the Solheim Cup tied with the Sunday singles to play.
Beth Daniel and Juli Inkster, both Hall of Famers, halved their match with Iben Tinning and Trish Johnson in the opening four-ball.
Paula Creamer and Nancy Lopez
U.S. captain Nancy Lopez gives Paula Creamer a hug after her afternoon win.
Rosie Jones, who teamed with Meg Mallon, and Sophie Gustafson, partnered by Suzann Pettersen, each holed sensational putts on the 18th green to halve their match.
The third contest went to the 18th green, but the American tandem of Cristie Kerr, who missed the morning foursomes with a sore neck, and Paula Creamer beat Catriona Matthew and Carin Koch, 1-up.
The anchor match was historic for the European side. The two best European golfers, Annika Sorenstam and Laura Davies, teamed together for the first time ever and easily dispatched Pat Hurst and Christina Kim, 4 and 2.
The score is tied with the 12 Sunday singles left. It marks the first time since the 1994 edition that the matches are tied after the opening two days, so the stage is set for an exciting finish.
The Americans were two points down heading into Saturday, but the U.S. side captured three of four points in the foursomes. That momentum did not carry over in the four-balls, but three of the matches made it to the 18th.
The first was the opening tilt as Daniel and Inkster, who went 2-0 in Sweden two years ago, were even with the Europeans at the turn. Inkster two-putted for birdie from in front of the green at the par-5 ninth, then the Americans won their second hole in a row at 10 to go 1-up, but Tinning sank a 10-footer for birdie to take the 12th.
Daniel answered at the 13th with a 7-foot birdie putt to win the hole, but Johnson, who has not appeared in a Solheim Cup since 2000, holed a 6-footer for birdie at 17 to square the match with one to go.
Tinning hit an amazing shot into the 18th green that stopped 5 feet from the flag. Inkster badly missed the putting surface left and Daniel leaked through the green. Inkster's third stopped 10 feet short of the hole and Daniel missed her birdie try. Inkster stepped up and holed the par save, setting the stage for Tinning to take the full point.
Tinning's putt never touched the hole and the Americans walked off with a halve, but were not happy about it.
'Deep down, Beth and I know we didn't play our best golf today,' admitted Inkster, who teamed with Creamer to win in the morning foursomes. 'Half a point, we're not happy with it, but it's better than no points.'
Pettersen gave her side the lead with a birdie at 11, but Jones, one of the shortest hitters on the LPGA Tour, took advantage of the next par-5, the 15th. She blasted her third out of a front bunker to 4 feet and ran in the birdie putt to square the match.
Pettersen hit an amazing approach inches from the cup at the 16th and the U.S. conceded her birdie. Jones missed a 25-footer to halve, but Mallon rolled in a birdie try from 10 feet closer to remain all-square.
The teams halved the 17th with pars, but Pettersen let her partner down at the 18th when she drove into the water. Gustafson hit her approach 7 feet short of the flag, but both Americans were on the putting surface.
Jones' flat stick has been working throughout the competition and it worked on 18. She converted a cross-green, 30-footer for birdie and put the pressure firmly on Gustafson's shoulders.
She responded. Gustafson stroked home her 7-foot birdie putt to conclude an outstanding match with a halve.
'That's got to be the best putt I've ever made,' admitted Jones. 'I went straight at it. I changed the line a little bit. Meg played great on the back side. It was a perfect match.'
Koch carried her side with three birdies in her first three holes and that meant a 3-up lead for the European lead. Creamer then won four and five with birdies and when Kerr kicked in a 3-footer for par at eight, the match was even.
Creamer two-putted for birdie at the ninth and the Americans moved 1-up. Matthew rolled in a long birdie putt at the par-3 13th, but Kerr, the top points earner in qualifying for the American side, rose to the occasion.
She hit her third close enough to be conceded a birdie at the 15th and the Americans reclaimed a 1-up margin. Neither team could birdie the 16th and No. 17 came down to some par putts. Kerr and Matthew both holed 5-footers to save par and halve the hole, giving the U.S. a 1-up lead with one to play.
Koch drove into the water at 18 and Matthew found the rough. Both Creamer and Kerr were in the fairway, but Creamer missed the green and Kerr came up 35 feet short of the stick. Matthew could only manage to get her ball 40 feet right of the flag and Koch hit her third shot to 10 feet.
Kerr's birdie putt came up 4 feet short and Matthew's attempt at birdie did not fall. Creamer chipped to a little more than 3 feet, and she went first and made the putt, giving the Americans a full point.
'I kind of had it a little bit in the end, but she was so solid,' said Kerr, referring to her partner. 'She kept us up in the match and is a helluva player.'
Sorenstam flew out of the gate with a 10-foot birdie putt, then the Europeans won two and six. The Americans got one back at the eighth, but Sorenstam sank an 8-foot eagle putt at the ninth to go 3-up.
The Europeans won the next two holes to move 5-up, but Hurst and Kim did not quit. Hurst won the 13th and 15th holes with birdies, but when neither American could birdie 16, the match went to the European side.
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    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 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.


    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.”