Wie loses classic rules debate

By Randall MellMarch 29, 2010, 6:33 am

Rarely has a six-shot runaway victory ended with so much tension.

We can thank Michelle Wie and LPGA rules officials for that.

Hee Kyung Seo easily won Sunday's Kia Classic, but Wie was center stage in some unexpected televised theater. With Golf Channel rolling live, we got to watch and listen to Wie’s passionate appeal over whether she deserved a two-shot penalty for grounding her club in a hazard at the 11th hole.

“I don’t feel like [the ruling] was right,” Wie told Golf Channel’s Val Skinner afterward.

In review, Wie was five shots off the lead when she hit her ball into the water’s edge near the 11th green. With her right foot in the water and left foot on the bank, she barely splashed the ball onto the shore. After water cascaded over her, and after finishing her swing, she set her club onto the ground with her left hand, within the red hazard line. Golf Channel’s Kay Cockerill quickly saw the problem and pointed out the potential rules violation. Analyst Judy Rankin weighed in, explaining that it would not be a penalty if Wie was using the club to catch her balance.

Not long after holing out at the 11th for what she thought was a par save, Wie was informed that she incurred a two-shot penalty for grounding her club. After the round, in a Golf Channel truck, Wie and rules officials engaged in a classic golf rules debate.

Wie conceded that it did not look as if she was using the club to help her catch her balance -- it did not look that way -- but that she actually was. She raised some good points in whether rules officials were making assumptions of facts they could not know. If you’re into the rules, it was a classic encounter into a gray area.

“I know what it looks like, but it was a really slippery spot,” Wie told officials. “It seems really unfair because I know I was off balance.”

Wie said the splash of water caused her to close her eyes, and set the club down instinctively to feel her balance.

“You were not me, and you can’t give me a penalty for what it looks like,” Wie pleaded with cameras rolling. “You don’t know for a fact that I was not off balance.”

LPGA rules chief Doug Brecht told Wie he and two other rules officials could see no evidence that she was off balance. Without two shots deducated, Wie's score would have tied her for second instead of sixth. The difference in prize money would have been about $91,000.

If you were watching, who do you think was right? Wie? Or the rules officials?

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Watch: Reed races in 40-footer to put away Spieth

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 23, 2018, 10:19 pm

Three up with three holes to play at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Patrick Reed missed an opportunity to close out his match with Jordan Spieth when Spieth won the 16th hole with a birdie.

But Reed wouldn't let the match move to 18. Putting for birdie from the apron, 40 feet from the hole, at the par-3 17th, Reed raced in this putt to end the match.

With the win, Reed moved to 3-0-0 for the week and advanced to the weekend at Austin Country Club.

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Garcia's win-win situation: Move on or baby time

By Rex HoggardMarch 23, 2018, 9:45 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Given his status as one of Europe’s preeminent Ryder Cup players, Sergio Garcia’s record at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play is nothing short of inexplicable.

In 15 starts at the event, the Spaniard has played the weekend just once – in 2010 when he lost in the semifinals to Ian Poulter – and since the event pivoted to round-robin play he’s never made it out of the group stages.

His fortunes have changed dramatically this year, with Garcia going undefeated in pool play and cruising to the Sweet 16 following a 3-and-1 victory over Xander Schauffele on Friday.

“I would love to have done a little better than I have,” said Garcia, who will play Kyle Stanley in the Round of 16 early Saturday. “I have had some good weeks here. But not probably as good as I should have. So hopefully this week it will be better.”

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

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Garcia made no secret of the source of his turnaround following the birth of his first child last Wednesday, a girl named Azalea. Even on Friday when he found himself 2 down through 11 holes and in danger of not advancing he kept an upbeat attitude.

“The way I looked at it, when I was 2 down, we're going to try to turn it around, but if we don't, it means that I get to spend more time with [his wife] Angela and Azalea for the weekend,” Garcia said. “I tried to look at it in a good way.”

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DeLaet: WGC's robin-robin format 'sucks'

By Grill Room TeamMarch 23, 2018, 9:20 pm

Graham DeLaet isn't teeing it up at Austin Country Club this week because he didn't qualify for the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, but that doesn't mean he lacks an opinion on the event's format.

DeLaet hopped on social media Friday during Day 3 of the WGC-Match Play to torch the round-robin format that's been in place for three years, saying he much preferred the single elimination that was in place when he played in 2014.

"Played Match Play in Tucson in 2014. Early group on Wednesday, lost. Threw clubs in my car and was on my couch in Scottsdale by 2:00 pm. Collect 30K and spend the weekend at home, he tweeted. "That’s a good format. This one sucks."

DeLeat's comments may be the strongest to date, but he's not alone in his opposition to pool play. Several players lamented Friday's "meaningless" matches earlier this week, and Henrik Stenson cited the lack of a do-or-die atmosphere as his reason for skipping the event.

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Watch: Kuchar makes ace at WGC-Dell Match Play

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 23, 2018, 9:09 pm

In his bid to advance to the weekend at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Matt Kuchar aced the par-3 seventh hole Friday at Austin Country Club.

With an 8-iron from 181 yards, Kuchar landed his ball short of the flag and watched it roll and roll ... and drop.

The hole-in-one moved Kuchar 3 Up in match against Ross Fisher. 

The last hole-in-one at the Match Play came in Sunday's consolation match last year, when Hideto Tanihara aced the same hole before later losing to Bill Haas.