Golf’s rule makers headline this week’s list by digging a line in the high-tech sand, while Olympic officials continue to scramble in an attempt to turn sand into a golf course that will be ready in time for the 2016 Olympics.
HiDef do-over. The recently announced tweaks by golf’s ruling bodies to end super-slow motion rule violations is good news to everyone, even Tiger Woods.
While USGA officials avoided an arm-chair decision on Woods’ violation during this year’s BMW Championship, which was prompted by a slow-motion breakdown of the infraction, the common sense notion that an infraction is not warranted if it wouldn’t be evident without the aid of technology seems logical.
The rule change, however, emboldened some to call for an end to viewer call-ins, which seems extreme and counterproductive. Viewers call in possible violations all the time, but most are dismissed after a review of the tape by an official. Sometimes those call-ins result in an uncomfortable conversation with the player, but invariably protect the entire field.
And isn’t that what the Rules of Golf are supposed to do?
The Icemon cometh. With an ailing wrist and a tank not even close to being full, Henrik Stenson completed a historic double last Sunday with his victory at the DP World Tour Championship.
Stenson claimed the Race to Dubai trophy less than two months after winning the Tour Championship in Atlanta and the FedEx Cup.
The Swede’s transatlantic tear – which includes three victories in his last seven starts and seven top-3 finishes since July – has made him flush with prize money and bonus cash and propelled him to third in the World Golf Ranking.
Not bad for a guy who was ranked 113th at this point last year. He also endured what appeared at the time a financial haymaker with the collapse of Stanford Financial.
Tweet of the week: @jarrodlylepga (Jarrod Lyle) “Now everything has settled down, I want to send a big thank you to everybody for your support at the Aussie Masters.”
Lyle made the cut at the Australian Masters in his first event back since beating leukemia for the second time. After watching the emotional return it is worth pointing out that it would take a lot more than 140 characters to explain how thankful Lyle really is.
Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)
A coup and a comeback. According to various reports this week, including a lengthy story on GolfDigest.com, current USGA president Glen Nager attempted to realign the association’s management structure by proposing a long-term chief executive and block Tom O’Toole from becoming president.
Both attempts failed and by most indications Nager will cut ties with the USGA after his term expires this year.
That the “golf guys,” a term used for O’Toole and executive director Mike Davis, prevailed is good news considering the duo’s impact on the association in recent years and their no-nonsense management styles.
That Nager felt compelled to reinvent the USGA is concerning. Maybe the association needs to be run more like a business, but running a business is not now, nor should it ever be, the association’s primary goal.
Blame it on Rio. While 2016 may seem like a lifetime away, when organizers of the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil start putting together flow charts for the construction of the host golf course it is, as Yogi Berra once figured, getting late early.
PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said this week that the irrigation system for the new course, which is being designed by Gil Hanse, should arrive soon, but he did acknowledge that things haven’t gone as smoothly as he would have liked.
“Actually the progress is reasonably good. We think the timeline is in order. We were really concerned there, as you know, for a good period of time,” Finchem said. “But I am going to go down there in the spring and look at it.”
The plan was to host an event at TPC Timetable sometime next year to test the new venue, but at this rate competitors may be asked to bring buckets of water with them to irrigate the parched turf.
Cup confusion. During a World Cup press conference this week at Royal Melbourne, PGA of Australia CEO Brian Thorburn began with an interesting take on the history of the event.
“Australia is very proud of its involvement, and I haven’t told Tim (Finchem) this but I have got a photograph in my office of Kel Nagle and Peter Thomson signed by each of them from the Canada Cup in 1955 or whichever year it was. I think they were the inaugural winners,” Thorburn said.
“That is right,” Finchem replied.
Only problem, Roberto De Vicenzo and Tony Cerda won the first Canada Cup in 1953, which was the precursor to the World Cup. Nagle and Thomson won in 1954.
Revisionist history aside, this week’s World Cup was supposed to be a tune up for the 2016 Games, but it still has the look of a “silly season” outing.
Officials altered the format to mirror how the Games will be played in ’16 and figured Royal Melbourne would woo the game’s best and brightest, but if this week’s field is any indication golf in the Olympics may need some more selling.
Matt Kuchar and Kevin Streelman are playing for the U.S., Nos. 7 and 46 in the World Ranking.
Four days at Royal Melbourne may not exactly be the “thrill of victory,” but one would have expected better.