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Hatton 'frustrated' by rules situation with Mickelson

By Will GrayMarch 14, 2018, 6:53 pm

Tyrrell Hatton's bid to join the playoff earlier this month at the WGC-Mexico Championship was derailed by a spike mark on the final green, but the Englishman was reportedly flustered by an explanation from a rules official a few holes earlier.

Hatton is in the field this week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where he tied for fourth last year. But in a recent podcast with Sky Sports, he detailed a situation from the final round at Chapultepec Golf Club where he was joined by Phil Mickelson and Shubankhar Sharma in Sunday's final group.

According to Hatton, the group had received a warning about slow play earlier in the round and were again approached after Hatton had birdied the 14th hole to draw even with Mickelson.

"So Sharma had been, he wasn't that slow, to be honest. But I feel like Phil was taking quite a lot of time on certain things," Hatton said. "You've got four holes left to play, it's sort of crunch time. And we've all hit good tee shots up 15, and one of the officials drives over and says, 'Phil you're exempt, but Tyrrell and Sharma I'm going to start timing you.'

"And Phil goes, 'Oh, he obviously likes me.' And I was like, I was raging," Hatton said. "Danny, my player manager, was walking with me, and I walked over to him as I got near the ball and said, 'Can you believe what this referee's just done? He's said that me and Sharma are on the clock.' I said to him, in the circumstances, that's a disgrace."

A PGA Tour rules official told that the situation outlined by Hatton is within the rules, whereby once a group receives a formal warning the individuals in the group can then be "observed" individually to determine if further action is required.

"If we've been observing the group, we're not going to punish players who are doing their part to keep up, but we're going to time the ones that aren't," the official said.

The section of the PGA Tour rule book pertaining to slow play reads: "Once a group has been warned, the Rules Committee (if available to do so) will monitor the pace of individual players in the group to determine if any players should be timed individually, as opposed to the entire group, in the case the group does not regain its position on the course."

Hatton eagled the 15th hole in the immediate wake of the warning, but he admitted to being unnerved by the presence of the official with stopwatch in hand near the 16th green when he raced a birdie putt more than 10 feet past. He ended up one shot out of a playoff, where Mickelson beat Justin Thomas for his first win in nearly five years.

"It was quite frustrating for me," Hatton said. "Obviously I've grown up watching golf, and Phil's been around a helluva long time, and I'm trying my best to beat him. But I just found that slightly off-putting and it was sort of, when I came away from the tournament, it's frustrating that that actually happened."

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Lewis wins Portugal Masters for second time

By Associated PressSeptember 23, 2018, 6:19 pm

VILAMOURA, Portugal – Tom Lewis won the Portugal Masters for a second time after shooting a 5-under 66 in Sunday's final round.

Lewis finished three strokes ahead of fellow Englishman Eddie Pepperell (67) and Australia's Lucas Herbert (71).

Sergio Garcia prepared for the Ryder Cup next weekend with a 65 to finish seven strokes behind Lewis.

Lewis made six birdies along with a single bogey on No. 10 to finish the tournament at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course on 22-under 262.

Herbert led through the first three rounds only to struggle on the final day. He hit a double bogey on the final hole to finish the round on par.

Lewis had trailed Herbert by nine shots after the first round.

''It's been a rough ride but this week I played hard,'' Lewis said. ''I obviously got off to a bad start, to finish the way I've been finishing has been brilliant.''

Lewis first won the tournament in 2011.

''I think this one means more,'' Lewis said, ''it means a lot to come and win this again.''

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Tiger Tracker: Tour Championship

By Tiger TrackerSeptember 23, 2018, 3:00 pm

Tiger Woods began the final round of the Tour Championship with a three-shot lead, and he's cruising at East Lake. We're tracking him.

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Rose tries to ignore scenarios, focus on winning

By Rex HoggardSeptember 23, 2018, 12:59 am

ATLANTA – No one has more to play for than Justin Rose on Sunday at the Tour Championship.

The Englishman will begin the day three strokes behind front-runner Tiger Woods after a third-round 68 that could have been much worse after he began his day with back-to-back bogeys.

Winning the tournament will be Rose’s top priority, but there’s also the lingering question of the FedExCup and the $10 million bonus, which he is currently projected to claim.

Projected FedExCup standings

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“The way I look at tomorrow is that I have many scenarios in play. I have the FedExCup in play. I have all of that to distract me,” Rose said. “But yet, I'm three back. I think that's my objective tomorrow is to come out and play good, positive golf and try and chase down the leader and win this golf tournament. I think in some ways that'll help my other task of trying to win the FedExCup. It'll keep me on the front foot and playing positive golf.”

Although there are many scenarios for Rose to win the season-long title, if Woods wins the Tour Championship, Rose would need to finish fifth or better to claim the cup.

There’s also the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking to consider. Rose overtook Dustin Johnson for No. 1 in the world with his runner-up finish at the BMW Championship two weeks ago. He will retain the top spot unless Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka or Johnson win the finale and he falls down the leaderboard on Sunday.

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McIlroy needs putter to heat up to catch Woods

By Rex HoggardSeptember 23, 2018, 12:29 am

ATLANTA – Although Rory McIlroy is three strokes behind Tiger Woods at the Tour Championship and tied for second place he had the look of a man with a secret when he left East Lake on Saturday.

Trying to play catch up against Woods is never ideal, but McIlroy’s confidence stemmed from a tee-to-green game that has been unrivaled for three days.

“I definitely think today and the first day were similar,” said McIlroy, whose 66 included birdies at two of his final three holes. “I gave myself plenty of chances, and I think the biggest thing today was only just that one bogey. Got to put your ball in the fairway, put yourself in position, and for the most part, I did that today.”

Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

For the week McIlroy ranks first in strokes gained: off the tee, third in strokes gained: approach to the green and second in greens in regulation. But to catch Woods, who he will be paired with, he’ll need a much better day on the greens.

The Northern Irishman needed 30 putts on Day 2 and ranks 23rd, out of 30 players, in strokes gained: putting.

McIlroy skipped the first playoff event, opting instead for an extra week at home to work on his swing and the move has paid off.

“I hit the ball well. My wedge play has been really good,” he said. “I've done a lot of work on it the last few weeks, and it seems to have paid off.”