New USGA, R&A decision affects viewer call-ins

By Ryan LavnerNovember 19, 2013, 1:15 pm

Golf’s governing bodies have significantly reduced the power of armchair rules officials, announcing Tuesday that players will no longer be penalized in circumstances when a ball’s movement could be detected only through the use of enhanced technology.

The new stipulation, called Decision 18/4, will take effect Jan. 1, 2014.

This was a clear response by the USGA and R&A to the increasing number of television-viewer call-ins regarding potential rules infractions.

One of the most high-profile incidents of the year occurred at the BMW Championship, and it involved the world’s No. 1-ranked player. Tiger Woods was assessed a two-shot penalty when his ball was deemed to have moved as he attempted to clear loose impediments. A videographer spotted the potential infraction when reviewing footage from the round and promptly alerted the PGA Tour. Rules officials then met with Woods to discuss the incident, after which he was penalized two shots.


Sobel: 'Tiger Rule' won't solve all viewer call-in issues


The new Decision, however, states that “where enhanced technological evidence shows that a ball has left its position and come to rest in another location, the ball will not be deemed to have moved if that movement was not reasonably discernible to the naked eye at the time.” The player, then, would not receive a penalty under Rule 18-2.

This appears to be an extension of Decision 33-7/4.5 from 2011, which authorized a committee to waive the disqualification penalty if a player was unaware of a rules breach that was identified only after consulting HD video.

Though this specific decision focuses on the ball’s movement, the USGA and R&A said that, as part of their biennial 2016 review, they will continue to explore video’s impact in situations such as the marking, lifting and replacing of a ball, points of relief, and the appropriate penalty for inadvertently signing an incorrect scorecard.

In the statement, the governing bodies also cautioned that the committee has the power to revise or make a ruling if further information becomes available.

“Disregarding evidence of a breach to the Rules, obtained before the competition has ended, could lead to uncertainty and to unhealthy debate and disagreement about the fairness of a result that was influenced by an incorrect set of facts and failure to apply the Rules properly,” the USGA and R&A said in a release.

“If a player has breached a Rule, but this is not discovered until a later time, whether through video evidence or otherwise, such evidence must be considered so that the correct ruling can be applied and the player’s score can be recorded accurately.”

The governing bodies also announced three other notable changes to the Decisions on the Rules of Golf:

• New Decision 14-3/18: Beginning Jan. 1, players will be allowed to access weather reports on their cellphones during a round. The USGA and R&A cited a need for players to protect their own safety.

• Revised Decision 27-2a/1.5: Players will be allowed to walk forward approximately 50 yards to determine the ball's location without forfeiting their right to play a provisional. 

• Revised Decision 25-2/0.5: Illustrations were added to help clarify the circumstances in which the ball is (and is not) considered to be embedded in the ground.  

In all, the USGA and R&A said that 87 changes have been made to the 2012-13 Decisions book: three new Decisions, 59 revised Decisions, one re-numbered Decision and 24 Decisions withdrawn.

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Chamblee comments on Choi's unique step-through swing

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 24, 2018, 3:55 pm

The golf world found itself enamored with a largely unknown journeyman this weekend.

Ho-sung Choi went from 554th in the world to No. 1 in the hearts of all those who swing the golf club just a little bit differently thanks to his run at the Korean Open.

The 44-year-old with the exaggerated step through impact found himself two off the pace through 54 holes and in contention for one of two available invitations to this year's Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Choi fell out of the hunt for tournament title and the Open exemption with a final-round 74, but nonetheless left an impression with his tie for fifth.



Asked about Choi's swing Saturday night, Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee offered the following:

"If Chi Chi Rodriguez and Gary Player had a golf school, what would their first professional golfer swing like? Voila," Chamblee said.

"Both those legends had walk through finishes, but Ho Sung has taken this move to a new level with a borderline pirouette to keep from hanging back.

"In an era when professional golfers get accused of having golf swings that all look alike, I’ve never seen anyone swing quite like Ho Sung Choi.

"I can’t wait to try this on the range tomorrow."

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Wallace holds off charges to win BMW International

By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 3:43 pm

PULHEIM, Germany - England's Matt Wallace shot a 7-under 65 to hold off a record-breaking charge from Thorbjorn Olesen and win the BMW International Open on Sunday.

Wallace finished on 10-under 278 - just ahead of Olesen, Mikko Korhonen and 2008 winner Martin Kaymer, whose chances took a blow with a bogey on the 17th hole.

''I want to keep building on this,'' Wallace said after his third European Tour win. ''Obviously this gives me a lot of confidence to go on and play well and I want to kick on and hopefully do this in the bigger events from now on.''


Full-field scores from the BMW International Open


Olesen had played himself into contention with the lowest round in tournament history, with nine birdies and an eagle for an 11-under 61. It was the lowest round of his European Tour career and it gave the Dane a three-shot lead before the final group had even teed off.

''I was just trying today to go out there and build on my game, see if I could shoot a low score,'' Olesen said. ''Obviously as the round progressed I kept on thinking birdies and trying to make the round better. Finishing with four birdies was pretty nice.''

Wallace turned in 34 but then made five birdies in seven holes from the turn to edge a shot past Olesen. He waited as Kaymer and Korhonen went close with rounds of 68 and 67, respectively.

England's Aaron Rai and Denmark's Lucas Bjerregaard finished joint-fifth with rounds of 69.

Sunghyun Park (left) and Minchel Choi (right). Getty Images

Choi, Park qualify for Carnoustie from Korean Open

By Nick MentaJune 24, 2018, 2:54 pm

Two players - Minchel Choi and Sanghyun Park - qualified for next month's Open Championship at Carnoustie via the Open Qualifying Series on Sunday.

Choi (69) held off Park (66) to win the Korean Open by two shots.

This was the Qualifying Series debut for the Korean Open, whiched awarded Open Championship exemptions to the tournament's top two finishers inside the top eight and ties who were not already qualified.

Choi, the 532nd-ranked player in the Official World Golf Ranking, punched his ticket in his first professional win.

Park, the 146th in the world, is a six-time Korean Tour champion who has already won twice this season. 

Both players will be making their first ever major starts.

“I am absolutely honored to be playing in The Open and I wanted to win this championship to give me [that] opportunity," Choi said. "I cannot believe that I have won today. I am so happy and excited."

“It is a great honor to have qualified for The Open and make my first appearance in the championship," Park added. "I’ve watched The Open on television every single year and I can’t really believe that I have qualified, it is amazing."

The Open Qualifying Series continues next week at the Open de France, where as many as three exemptions will be awarded to the three leading players inside the top 10 and ties who are not already qualified.

The 147th Open will be held at Carnoustie from July 19-22.

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Minjee Lee co-leads Walmart NW Arkansas Championship

By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 12:25 am

ROGERS, Ark. - Minjee Lee wasn't all that concerned when she missed her first cut of the year this month at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

The ninth-ranked Australian has certainly looked at ease and back in form at Pinnacle Country Club in her first event since then.

Lee and Japan's Nasa Hataoka each shot 6-under 65 on Saturday to share the second-round lead in the NW Arkansas Championship 13-under 129. Lee is chasing her fifth victory since turning pro three years ago. It's also an opportunity to put any lingering frustration over that missed cut two weeks ago behind her for good.

''I didn't particularly hit it bad, even though I missed the cut at ShopRite, I just didn't really hole any putts,'' Lee said. ''I'd been hitting it pretty solid going into that tournament and even into this tournament, too. Just to see a couple putts roll in has been nice.''

The 22-year-old Lee needed only 24 putts during her opening 64 on Friday, helping her to match the low round of her career. Despite needing 28 putts Saturday, she still briefly took the outright lead after reaching as low as 14 under after a birdie on the par-5 seventh.


Full-field scores from the Walmart Arkansas Championship


Lee missed the green on the par-4 ninth soon thereafter to lead to her only bogey of the day and a tie with the 19-year-old Hataoka, who is in pursuit of her first career win.

Hataoka birdied six of eight holes midway through her bogey-free round on Saturday. It was yet another stellar performance from the Japanese teenager, who has finished in the top 10 in four of her last five tournaments and will be a part of Sunday's final pairing.

''I try to make birdies and try to be under par, that's really the key for me to get a top ten,'' Hataoka said. ''Golf is just trying to be in the top 10 every single week, so that's the key.''

Third-ranked Lexi Thompson matched the low round of the day with a 64 to get to 11 under. She hit 17 of 18 fairways and shot a 5-under 30 on her opening nine, The American is in search of her first win since September in the Indy Women in Tech Championship.

Ariya Jutanugarn and Celine Boutier were 10 under.

First-round leader Gaby Lopez followed her opening 63 with a 75 to drop to 4 under. Fellow former Arkansas star Stacy Lewis also was 4 under after a 72.