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USGA, R&A publish new rules before Jan. 1 rollout

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 12, 2018, 1:20 pm

Golf’s new rulebook has been published and will take effect on Jan. 1.

The changes – more than 30 in all – were originally announced in March 2017, and the USGA and R&A received more than 30,000 pieces of feedback. It's being billed as the most significant rules modernization in generations, designed to make the rules more consistent, fair and easier to understand and apply.

Some of the key changes include new procedures for dropping the ball when taking relief, the elimination or reduction of several penalties, relaxed putting green and bunker rules, and rules that encourage improved pace of play.

“From the project’s inception, our one goal was to make the rules easier to understand and apply for all golfers,” said Thomas Pagel, the USGA’s senior managing director of governance. “It sets a new standard in the way we write and interpret the rules and is central to our efforts to ensure a healthy future for golf. We look forward to continuing that process in the years to come.”

A “Player’s Edition” of the Rules of Golf includes more user-friendly diagrams and illustrations as well as more direct language to explain the game’s complexities. Players will now be able to access the rulebook online and through an app.

The Player’s Edition can be ordered as usgapublications.com, while digital versions can be found at usga.org/rules.

Among the notable changes that will most affect week-to-week competition on the pro circuit:

• Players will now be able to repair any damage on the greens, including spike marks;

• Penalty drops can now be made from knee rather than shoulder height;

• Caddies are not allowed to line up players before they hit shots;

• The flag no longer needs to be removed from the hole for putts on the green;

• There is no longer a penalty for an accidental double hit.

A full list of the changes that will take effect on Jan. 1 can be found here.

Also on Wednesday, the R&A also unveiled its “playbook” to outline its vision, purpose and values for the future. The organization will make a £200 million investment in the game over the next decade.

According to the R&A, the mission of the playbook is to make golf more accessible, more appealing and more inclusive; act in the best interests of the sport; and promote integrity and diversity in growing the sport.

“Our new brand brings together everything we have done over the last three years on ways to modernize golf and take the sport forward,” said Martin Slumbers, chief executive of the R&A. “We listened to our partners and the organizations and individuals we serve to help us determine what we should seek to achieve as custodians of golf. The message came through very clearly that we have a global role to play in leading the sport, while working collaboratively with our partners and international affiliated organizations to grow and nurture golf to ensure that it continues to thrive in 50 years’ time.”

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Tiger Tracker: Tour Championship

By Tiger TrackerSeptember 22, 2018, 5:25 pm

Tiger Woods is in the final group on Saturday at the Tour Championship. He's out at 2:30 p.m. ET with Justin Rose and we're tracking him.


Iowa State Cyclones cheerleaders pause at a memorial in the Jacobson Building honoring Celia Barquin Arozamena, at Jack Trice Stadium on September 22, 2018 in Ames, Iowa. Getty Images

Iowa State honors Arozamena before football game

By Associated PressSeptember 22, 2018, 4:57 pm

AMES, Iowa - Iowa State honored slain golf star Celia Barquin Arozamena with an elaborate ceremony ahead of the Cyclones' game against Akron on Saturday.

Iowa State's band used a formation that spelled out Barquin's initials, and both teams wore a decal on their helmets in her memory.

A tribute to Barquin played on a video screen before a moment of silence, and fans were also asked to wear yellow, one of Iowa State's main colors and a nod to Barquin's Spanish roots. Most of the roughly 60,000 fans in attendance complied with yellow and with golf shirts on a chilly morning in central Iowa.

"I think it's fantastic. The tribute is amazing. But ultimately, it would have been perfect if she could have been here for her tribute, which was going to happen anyway." said Ed Hamilton, a retired police officer from nearby Ankeny, Iowa.

Barquin, the Cyclones' first conference champion in 25 years, was finishing up her degree at Iowa State and working toward her ultimate goal of becoming a professional golfer.


A memorial honoring Celia Barquin Arozamena at Jack Trice Stadium. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images)


Barquin competed in the U.S Women's Open earlier this summer, and coach Christie Martens said she was approaching "the pinnacle of her career."

"Iowa State fans are very loyal. We haven't had too many winning football teams over the years. Yet the fans turn out. There's a great loyalty here -- but it spills into other sports as well," said Iowa State fan Kent Hollrah of Denison, Iowa.

Collin Richards, also 22, has been charged with first-degree murder in Barquin's death. Police said Richards stabbed Barquin and left her body in a pond on the course, where it was found after other golfers noticed her abandoned bag.

Cyclones coach Matt Campbell also wore an Iowa State golf hat on the sideline to show solidarity with his colleagues.

"Be with all of us today Celia, your legacy will forever live on & we are forever grateful for your impact. Much love from your Cyclonitas," Iowa State linebacker Willie Harvey tweeted earlier Saturday, using the nickname that Barquin had for her teammates.

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Tiger, Bryson testing each other's golf balls ahead of Paris

By Rex HoggardSeptember 22, 2018, 4:21 pm

ATLANTA – The U.S. Ryder Cup team won’t arrive in Paris for next week’s matches until Monday, but one pairing already seems to be penciled into captain Jim Furyk’s lineup.

Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau have become regular practice-round partners, and when Furyk made both captain’s picks, it added to the notion that they would be paired during the team sessions in France. On Tuesday at East Lake, Woods and DeChambeau teed it up yet again.

Both Woods and DeChambeau play Bridgestone golf balls, although they use different models.

“The two are very similar, they are very numbers-oriented and that translates to their feel on the course, but they get fitted to two different golf balls,” said Adam Rehberg, Bridgestone Golf’s ball-fitting manager.


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Woods plays the company’s Tour B XS, which is softer and spins more, while DeChambeau plays the Tour B X, which is designed to take spin off shots.

Although DeChambeau played a version of the company’s golf ball that was close to what Woods now plays earlier in his career, he appeared to be preparing for a pairing next week during Tuesday’s practice round.

“I’ve seen some chipping of the other’s ball during practice rounds, getting used to it,” Rehberg said. “There’s been some sharing of golf balls internally between those guys. It’s almost like the worst kept secret in golf. It seems they are going to be paired up one way or another.”

The rules for the Ryder Cup were changed in 2006. They allow for foursomes teams to change golf balls between holes but not during a hole, which explains the duo’s interest in becoming comfortable with the other’s golf ball, particularly around the green and for chip shots.

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Casey: RC teams planning Lyle, Celia tributes

By Rex HoggardSeptember 22, 2018, 3:58 pm

ATLANTA – Throughout this season Paul Casey has been in regular contact with European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn, with most communication being via text messages that the Englishman said always included an eclectic range of emojis.

But when the Dane decided to make Casey one of his four captain’s picks, it had to be a phone call.

“He called on Monday (Sept. 3). I was in the parking garage at the Philadelphia Marriott,” Casey said this week at the Tour Championship. “It was rewarding, emotional, so many things.”


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Since being named to the team, Casey said his communication with Bjorn and the other members of the European team has been via WhatsApp, which allows the team to share ideas and finalize plans for next week’s matches. Casey said the exchanges have mainly featured good-natured teasing and a some silly pictures, with a few serious moments.

The European team, in coordination with the U.S. team, is planning to honor Jarrod Lyle, a former PGA Tour player who died last month following his third bout with leukemia, next Thursday in France. There is a public memorial service planned for Lyle on Thursday in Australia.

Casey also said the team is coordinating a plan to also honor Celia Barquín Arozamena, a top college player from Spain who was murdered this week in Iowa.