Slow Play to be More Costly in 2003

By Associated PressJanuary 8, 2003, 5:00 pm
KAPALUA, Hawaii -- Slow players are going to pay the price this year on the PGA Tour, and it won't just come from their bank accounts.
In its ongoing quest to improve the pace of play, the tour has devised a penalty scale that gives players only one warning for slow play before rules officials assess a one-stroke penalty, which goes along with increased fines.
Even getting timed for being out of position could be costly. In the biggest change of all, anyone who gets put on the clock 10 times during the year will be fined $20,000.
'This will get their attention,' said Henry Hughes, the tour's chief of operations.
It already has.
Players were talking about the new policy as soon as they arrived at Kapalua for the season-opening Mercedes Championships.
Most of them were hopeful it would work.
'It's about time,' Vijay Singh said. 'The only problem with that is, are they going to enforce it? I think you need to put in a no-warning, one-stroke penalty. They know who's slow out there.'
Until this year, the tour's penalty scale allowed for two warnings before players were assessed a one-stroke penalty for taking too long. Players are allowed 40 seconds for each shot, with an extra 20 seconds for the player who goes first.
Under the new policy:
  • One bad time during a round is a warning.
  • Two bad times is a one-stroke penalty and a $5,000 fine.
  • Three bad times is a two-stroke penalty and a $10,000 fine.
  • Four bad times means the player is disqualified.
    'Our goal is to enforce the pace-of-play regulations and to draw attention to the pace-of-play regulations,' Hughes said.
    What has some players concerned is the accumulative policy for being put on the clock, even if a player hits his shot within the allotted time.
    When a group gets out of position -- defined by an open hole ahead of them -- each player in that group is considered to be on the clock. The 10th time a player is put on the clock during the year results in a $20,000 fine.
    That means if a fast player keeps winding up in groups with notoriously slow players, he could get put on the clock 10 times and face a big fine, even though he's done nothing wrong.
    The reason for the accumulative policy is that slow players, once warned that they're on the clock, tend to speed up and never suffer the consequence. Still, that led Nick Price to wonder, 'If I'm in a convenience store when it gets robbed, does that make me guilty?'
    Rules official Jon Brendle said players can always appeal, and Hughes doesn't see fast players put in that predicament.
    'It's possible, but when you look at it historically, it's not probable,' he said. 'We think peer pressure will be a factor.'
    Whether the new policies make a difference remains to be seen. The onus falls on rules officials to be willing to assess a one-stroke penalty, even to the point of disqualification. Twenty-two tournaments were decided by one stroke last year.
    Singh remains skeptical.
    'They can do whatever they want, but it's not going to do any good,' he said. 'Guys will start off like a greyhound, and finish like a poodle.'
    Tiger update
    Tiger Woods is out of the snow and on his bike.
    Woods returned from a brief vacation in Sweden with his girlfriend and began rehabilitation on his left knee from surgery Dec. 12 to remove fluid around the ligaments.
    'It's definitely getting better,' Woods said on his Web site ( 'At least I'm able to get out and do stuff. I'm doing a lot of cardio rehab on an exercise bike. I should be ready for the Tour de France by mid-July.'
    Woods began putting late last week. He declined to speculate on when he might return, although the target is the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines, Feb, 13-16.
    'I don't want to play in pain again,' Woods said. 'However long the doctor says to wait, that's what I'm going to do. Once he gives me the OK to practice, that's it.'
    Woods said he enjoyed his time in Sweden, where temperatures were 20 below zero, but he could have done without the paparazzi camped outside the house.
    'They didn't leave for 2 1/2 days, which was very unfortunate,' he said. 'We kept telling them, 'Why don't you go home and spend the holidays with your families?''

    Big money
    The winner of the Mercedes Championships gets $1 million and a new sports car, the start of big things to come.
    Under the new television contract that starts this year, total prize money on the PGA Tour will be about $235 million. Of the 12 tournaments that pay at least $1 million to the winner, three are regular PGA Tour events -- Mercedes, Wachovia Championship and the Byron Nelson Classic.
    The others are the four majors, three World Golf Championships, The Players Championship and the Tour Championship.
    The WGC events increased their total purse to $6 million each. The Players is still listed at $6 million, but likely will increase by the time it is played in late March.
    All but seven tournaments have purses of at least $4 million.
    GWAA honors
    Jeff Julian and New York Times columnist Dave Anderson were honored by the Golf Writers Association of America.
    Julian, was has been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, won the Ben Hogan Award for a player who continues to be active despite a physical handicap or serious illness. Julian played seven times last year and attempted to try Q-school before pulling out after the second round.
    Anderson was given the William D. Richardson Award for consistent and outstanding contributions to golf.
    Jim Furyk is the only player who has played in the Mercedes Championships all five years since it moved to Kapalua. Knee surgery forced Tiger Woods to skip this year and Phil Mickelson has not played in the last two. ... David Duval says he will start his season at the Phoenix Open, Jan. 23-26.
    Stat of the week
    Only eight of the 36 players at Kapalua played in the Mercedes Championships last year.
    Final word
    'I had a better time snowboarding in two weeks than I had all year playing golf.' -- David Duval.
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    Lyle going through 'scary' period in cancer recovery

    By Associated PressJune 21, 2018, 12:58 pm

    MELBOURNE, Australia – Jarrod Lyle's wife says the Australian golfer is struggling through a ''really scary'' period in his third battle with cancer.

    Lyle, 36, underwent a bone marrow transplant last December following a recurrence of acute myeloid leukemia.

    ''It's been 190 days since Jarrod's stem-cell transplant and we are going through a really rough patch at the moment,'' Briony Lyle wrote on ''I'm typing this blog on his behalf because he's not able to do it. Jarrod's not able to drive, struggles to prepare any food for himself, can't read stories to the girls and is not able to offer much help at all around the house.

    ''He is also starting to look like a very frail, sick person.''

    Briony Lyle added: ''We are both very aware of the amount of drugs and medication that has gone into Jarrod's body over the years but things are starting to get really scary at the moment. It looks as if this recovery is going to be the longest and hardest one so far.''

    Lyle has twice beaten acute myeloid leukemia, in 1998 and 2012, and was able to return to play professional golf.

    He made an emotional comeback to the golf course during the 2013 Australian Masters in Melbourne before using a medical exemption to play on the PGA Tour in 2015. He played four seasons on Tour, where he earned $1.875 million in 121 tournaments.

    Lyle has since returned to Australia permanently to be with Briony and daughters Lusi and Jemma.

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    Vermeer wins PGA Professional; 20 make PGA Championship

    By Associated PressJune 21, 2018, 12:42 pm

    SEASIDE, Calif. – Ryan Vermeer won the PGA Professional Championship on Wednesday, overcoming front-nine problems to top the 20 qualifiers for the PGA Championship.

    The 40-year-old Vermeer, the director of instruction at Happy Hollow Club in Omaha, Nebraska, closed with a 1-over 73 on the Bayonet Course for a two-stroke victory over Sean McCarty and Bob Sowards.

    The PGA Championship is in August at Bellerive in St. Louis.

    Three strokes ahead entering the day, Vermeer played the front in 4 over with a double bogey on the par-4 second and bogeys on the par-4 seventh and par-4 eighth. He rebounded with birdies on the par-5 10th and par-4 11th and also birdied the par-5 18th.

    Full-field scores from the PGA Professional Championship

    Vermeer finished at 5-under 283. The former University of Kansas player earned $55,000. He won the 2017 Mizuno Pro/Assistant Championship and finished ninth last year in the PGA Professional to qualify for PGA at Quail Hollow.

    McCarty had a 68, and Sowards shot 69. Sowards won the 2004 title.

    David Muttitt and Jason Schmuhl tied for fourth at 1 under, and 2012 and 2015 champion Matt Dobyns, Jaysen Hansen, and Johan Kok followed at even par.

    Marty Jertson, Brian Smock and Ben Kern were 1 over, and Zach Johnson, Craig Hocknull, Matt Borchert and 2016 winner Rich Berberian Jr. were 2 over. Nine players tied at 3 over, with Shawn Warren, 2017 champion Omar Uresti, 2014 winner Michael Block, Craig Bowden and Danny Balin getting the last five spots at Bellerive in a playoff. Balin got the final spot, beating Brian Norman with a par on the seventh extra hole after Norman lost a ball in a tree.

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    Berger more than ready to rebound at Travelers

    By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 9:54 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Daniel Berger hopes that this year he gets to be on the other end of a viral moment at the Travelers Championship.

    Berger was a hard-luck runner-up last year at TPC River Highlands, a spectator as Jordan Spieth holed a bunker shot to defeat him in a playoff. It was the second straight year that the 25-year-old came up just short outside Hartford, as he carried a three-shot lead into the 2016 event before fading to a tie for fifth.

    While he wasn’t lacking any motivation after last year’s close call, Berger got another dose last week at the U.S. Open when he joined Tony Finau as a surprise participant in the final group Sunday, only to shoot a 73 and drift to a T-6 finish.

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    “It was one of the best experiences of my professional golf career so far. I feel like I’m going to be in such a better place next time I’m in that position, having felt those emotions and kind of gone through it,” Berger said. “There was a lot of reflection after that because I felt like I played good enough to get it done Sunday. I didn’t make as many putts as I wanted to, but I hit a lot of really good putts. And that’s really all you can do.”

    Berger missed the cut earlier this month to end his quest for three straight titles in Memphis, but his otherwise consistent season has now included six top-20 finishes since January. After working his way into contention last week and still with a score to settle at TPC River Highlands, he’s eager to get back to work against another star-studded field.

    “I think all these experiences you just learn from,” Berger said. “I think last week, having learned from that, I think that’s even going to make me a little better this week. So I’m excited to get going.”

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    Rory tired of the near-misses, determined to close

    By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 9:46 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Rory McIlroy has returned to the Travelers Championship with an eye on bumping up his winning percentage.

    McIlroy stormed from the back of the pack to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, but that remains his lone worldwide win since the 2016 Tour Championship. It speaks to McIlroy’s considerable ability and lofty expectations that, even with a number of other high finishes this season, he is left unsatisfied.

    “I feel like I’ve had five realistic chances to win this year, and I’ve been able to close out one of them. That’s a bit disappointing, I guess,” McIlroy said. “But at least I’ve given myself five chances to win golf tournaments, which is much more than I did last year.”

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    The most memorable of McIlroy’s near-misses is likely the Masters, when he played alongside Patrick Reed in Sunday’s final group but struggled en route to a T-5 finish. But more frustrating in the Ulsterman’s eyes were his runner-up at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, when he led by two shots with eight holes to go, and a second-place showing behind Francesco Molinari at the BMW PGA Championship in May.

    “There’s been some good golf in there,” he said. “I feel like I let Dubai and Wentworth get away a little bit.”

    He’ll have a chance to rectify that trend this week at TPC River Highlands, where he finished T-17 last year in his tournament debut and liked the course and the tournament enough to keep it on his schedule. It comes on the heels of a missed cut at the U.S. Open, when he was 10 over through 11 holes and never got on track. McIlroy views that result as more of an aberration during a season in which he has had plenty of chances to contend on the weekend.

    “I didn’t necessarily play that badly last week. I feel like if I play similarly this week, I might have a good chance to win,” McIlroy said. “I think when you play in conditions like that, it magnifies parts of your game that maybe don’t stack up quite as good as the rest of your game, and it magnified a couple of things for me that I worked on over the weekend.”