McNulty Comes Back to Win Schwab Cup

By Sports NetworkOctober 24, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 Charles SchwabSONOMA, Calif. -- Mark McNulty fired a 6-under 66 on Sunday to overcome a five-stroke deficit and win the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship. He finished at 11-under-par 277 and won by a stroke over Tom Kite, who held the lead after all three previous rounds, at Sonoma Golf Club.
Kite had a chance at the 72nd hole, but hit a poor approach. He needed a birdie at the last to tie McNulty, but Kite hit a terrible approach left of the hole and failed to chip in.
That gave McNulty his second consecutive victory after a title last week at the SBC Championship. He won his first week on the Champions Tour at the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am and now looks to be a lock for the Rookie of the Year.
'Everyone has been giving a stink about this rookie business,' said McNulty, who pocketed $440,000 for the win. 'I'm not too sure about 'rookie' after 28 years. I think we should have 'Best Newcomer of the Year.' I'll take Rookie of the Year. That would be fantastic.'
Allen Doyle held the lead during Sunday's final round, but did not have enough at the end. He shot a 3-under 69 and took third place at 8-under 280, two strokes better than U.S. Senior Open winner Peter Jacobsen, who carded a 5-under 67 on Sunday.
Hale Irwin, who battled back and neck injuries all week, only shot a 3-over 75 on Sunday, but it was enough to win the year-long Charles Schwab Cup, which awards a $1 million, tax-free annuity.
Craig Stadler, a five-time winner this season, shot a 70 on Sunday and matched Irwin in a tie for seventh. He trailed by 39 points at the start of the tournament and that would be the final margin, although Kite had a chance if he won the tournament.
'It's a long year,' said Irwin, who won this competition in 2002. 'This is why we do it. Talk about the money, which is great, but putting this up in your trophy case - I'm just proud of this.'
McNulty made the turn at 1 under par after birdies at the first and eighth holes and a bogey at No. 3. His ascension up the leaderboard took place after he opened his back nine.
At the 11th, McNulty ran home a 40-footer for birdie to tie him for the lead with Doyle at minus-7. McNulty knocked his 5-iron approach to a foot at the 12th to set up birdie and go one clear.
He came up short of the green with his second shot at the par-5 13th, but pitched his third inside 2 feet. McNulty tapped in the birdie putt there and polished off four birdies in a row with an 8-footer at the par-3 14th. That birdie gave him a three-shot lead over Doyle and a four-stroke advantage over Kite.
But Kite, the 1992 U.S. Open champion, would fight back. He ran his second shot at the par-5 13th to 3 feet and made the eagle putt to get within two. At the 14th, Kite hit his tee ball to 4 feet and drained the birdie putt to close the gap to one.
Kite had an 18-foot look at birdie at the 15th, but missed left. McNulty hit his tee ball at the par-3 17th to 12 feet and stroked home the putt to reclaim a two-shot cushion over Kite. McNulty had 65 feet for birdie at the last and his lag putt came up five feet short. He converted the nerve-wracking par putt and waited as Kite, in the last group, was the only one who could catch him.
Kite did not go away. At the par-5 16th, Kite pulled out his 5-wood again and again the result was sensational. His second landed left of the hole on the fringe, then bounced 9 feet past the hole. Kite's eagle putt that would have tied McNulty for first skimmed the left edge, but did not fall. He tapped in for birdie and had two holes to make another birdie and force a playoff.
Kite had a decent look at birdie on the 17th, but his 20-footer from over the flag died left. At the 18th, a hole he birdied in all three rounds, Kite found the fairway off the tee. He badly pulled his second shot into the left rough and now needed to hole out not only to force extra holes, but to have any chance at the Charles Schwab Cup $1 million annuity.
His chip from the rough came up 4 feet short and McNulty joined Stadler as the only players to win back-to-back events on the Champions Tour schedule in 2004.
'I remember last year watching this tournament in England and watching Jim (Thorpe) win the tournament and I thought, man that would be a nice trophy to hang up in my shop,' said McNulty. 'It came very quickly and I'm very, very delighted.'
Kite tallied four bogeys in his first seven holes until the comeback late in the round. He shot an even-par 72 on Sunday and was disappointed he couldn't make the winner's circle.
'It was my tournament and all I had to do was play some decent golf,' admitted Kite, who won this year's 3M Championship. 'I wasn't able to do it until the last six or seven holes.'
David Eger (69) and Jose Maria Canizares (75) shared fifth place at 5-under-par 283.
Irwin and Stadler were joined in seventh place by Thorpe (69), Morris Hatalsky (72) and D.A. Weibring, who fired the lowest round on Sunday with a 7-under 65. That group came in at 4-under-par 284.
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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 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.”

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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.


    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.