Should the US Golf Association change Rule 18-2b

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 3, 2011, 5:13 pm

In light of the penalty Webb Simpson incurred during the final round of the Zurich Classic, should the U.S. Golf Association change Rule 18-2b? Rex Hoggard and Jason Sobel weigh in with their takes.


Rule 18-2b is not a bad edict, just out of date, which is why the U.S. Golf Association said on Monday it has been reviewing it since at least 2004.

And why it must be changed, sooner rather than later.

Know this about James Frederick Webb Simpson, he is a devout Christian and a fierce competitor with a ridiculously long name.

What he is not is a rabble-rouser, which is why his pointed comments late Sunday regarding the archaic rule that cost him a stroke, and probably his first PGA Tour title, should not be taken lightly or out of context.

“The problem with the rule is you get greens like this that they get pretty bare, almost like this table top, wind's blowing, balls can wiggle and move so easily,” said Simpson, who was penalized a stroke when his ball moved on the 15th green at the Zurich Classic.

When the forefathers concocted 18-2b a sheep’s appetite decided green speeds, which in modern terms hovered just north of scruffy.

At next month’s U.S. Open, officials plan to run Congressional’s greens at 14 to 14 ½ on the Stimpmeter. At those speeds it takes a sneeze, not a zephyr to move a ball.

At those speeds, it’s time for 18-2b to catch up.


Webb Simpson was the victim of an unfortunate incident that cost him his first career PGA Tour win.

What a shame.

No one is arguing that there was intent to hit the ball at that very moment and certainly there are no claims that he was attempting to skirt the rules.

Like I said, it's a shame. It doesn't, however, mean the lords who preside over the game's rules should change it. In doing so, they would be walking a slippery slope.

I'm all for progression, but since when are long-standing Rules of Golf altered based on bad luck? Think about the precedent this would set. The next time a player loses because his perfect final-hole drive lands in a fairway divot, will that rule be changed? How about when a tourney is lost because a player unknowingly grounds his club in a hazard?

The point is, rules are rules and to alter this one right now would be simply reactionary.

For as long as the game has been played, competitors have learned to not ground their putters in case the ball moves. It's part of the game. Those who do otherwise are playing with fire and like Simpson, can someday be burned.

The USGA and R&A shouldn't offer a fire extinguisher.

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Watch: Hahn slam-dunks ace on 11th hole

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 23, 2018, 7:20 pm

There are aces, and there are slam-dunk aces. No question which one this one by James Hahn on the 154-yard 11th hole was.

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Els' nephew Rebula wins Amateur Championship

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 23, 2018, 7:05 pm

Ernie Els is one proud uncle.

His nephew, Jovan Rebula, won the Amateur Championship on Saturday at Royal Aberdeen to become the first South African to capture the title since Bobby Cole in 1966.

Rebula, a junior at Auburn, will join his famous uncle in Carnoustie next month for The Open. He also will get invites to the 2019 Masters and the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

Rebula defeated Ireland's Robin Dawson, 3 and 2, in the 36-hole final.

"It’s unreal," Rebula said. "It’s really something that is hard to describe. I feel like many have been in this position before but it’s an unreal feeling. It hasn’t sunk in quite yet but hopefully tomorrow morning I can wake up and I will feel a little different."

Rebula received plenty of texts from Els throughout the week, and the encouragement paid off. Rebula opened a 1-up lead after 18 holes, and he extended his advantage by winning the 26th and 27th holes. He was 5 up with six to play before finally closing out Dawson on the 16th hole with an up-and-down from the bunker.

"It’s been a long week and especially today," Rebula said. "I should have finished maybe a couple of holes earlier, but it’s been awesome. A very tiring week. I’m standing here right now and there’s so much adrenaline pumping through me."

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Squirrel gets Rory's round off to a rocky start

By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 6:42 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Rory McIlroy’s third round at the Travelers Championship got off to a peculiar start before he even hit a shot.

McIlroy had just been introduced on the first tee at TPC River Highlands and was ready to unload on his opening drive of the day when a squirrel ran across the tee box a few feet in front of him.

McIlroy stopped his swing and laughed it off, but the squirrel continued to linger for several seconds, criss-crossing from one side of the packed tee box to the other. And while this was no black cat, the pump-fake to start his round didn’t exactly help the Ulsterman.

McIlroy ultimately blocked his drive into the right rough after enduring his brief rodent delay en route to an opening bogey, and amid soft conditions at TPC River Highlands he played his first five holes in 2 over. McIlroy started the day at 7 under, three shots behind leader Brian Harman.

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Kaymer in six-way tie for BMW International lead

By Associated PressJune 23, 2018, 5:29 pm

PULHEIM, Germany - Danish golfer Lucas Bjerregaard shot a 5-under 67 to equal the week's lowest round for a six-way share of the lead after the third round of the BMW International Open on Saturday.

Bjerregaard had eight birdies, a double bogey and a bogey to finish on 5-under 211 - jumping 23 places and joining local favorites Martin Kaymer and Maximilian Kieffer, England's Chris Paisley and Aaron Rai, and Australia's Scott Hend at the top of the leaderboard.

Bjerregaard was fortunate to play before the wind picked up again later in the afternoon.

Full-field scores from the BMW International Open

Kaymer, the 2008 champion, delighted the home supporters with two birdies in his last three holes for a 71.

Finland's Mikko Korhonen and Chile's Nico Geyger were one shot off the lead after rounds of 69 and 73, respectively.

Defending champion Andres Romero equaled the week's best round (67) to be among a large group two shots off the lead going into Sunday, including three-time European Tour winner Andy Sullivan.

Romero is bidding to be the first player to retain the title.