Should the Tour revisit their stance on call ins?

By Rex HoggardSeptember 17, 2013, 8:59 pm

ATLANTA – It is a twist of timing and television that a month after Major League Baseball voted to expand its video review process, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem seemed to be cooling on pro golf’s version of the video replay.

“It’s cumbersome and difficult and awkward sometimes,” Finchem said Tuesday at East Lake during his annual State of the Tour news conference.

To be fair, it’s not the video review part of the equation that irks Finchem so much as it is how some possible infractions come to light. Last week, for example, it was a video editor with Tour Entertainment who pointed out that Tiger Woods’ golf ball had moved while he was removing some debris from behind his ball on the first hole during the second round.

Although Woods later said the ball simply “oscillated,” after a video review officials maintained his ball moved and he was penalized two shots.

“Call ins” are nothing new on Tour, so much so the circuit should consider an 800 number to streamline the process. Or, do away with the practice altogether, which did not sound utterly out of the question if you read between the lines.

“We’ll probably be taking another harder look at it after we get done with the season,” Finchem said.

Primarily, Finchem’s concerns seem fixated on the timing of call ins. “Is it better to have some sort of limit on it? If you don’t learn about something before X time. All the other sports close their books a little quicker than we do, so to speak,” he said.

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While it seems certain Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., will give call ins another looksee don’t expect much movement on this.

As distasteful as the doubt and dials may seem the alternative is unacceptable.

“What are you going to do? Say, ‘I know you saw an infraction, but we aren’t going to take call ins,’” said Paul Goydos, one of four player directors on the Tour’s policy board.

“You have to get things right. That’s easy for me to say, I’m never on TV. If it wasn’t Tiger Woods, if it was Paul Goydos and he didn’t see the ball move and there was no camera then there was no penalty. Tiger is on TV when he’s playing bad, but if something happens that can be fixed before the end of the round, then, yeah, fix it.”

It should also be pointed out that Joe Quick Dial can’t slap two on Woods, or anyone else, if a faux pas is picked up via the hi-def. A viewer can call in a possible infraction – although we can’t say how fans track down a phone number to do so – but officials are going to review the tape multiple times and consult with the player before making a ruling.

It happens every week on Tour, with the vast majority leading to no violation.

In 1995, for example, Goydos hit his tee shot at Bay Hill’s 17th hole just into the edge of a water hazard.

“It was playable, short of bunker and there was grass around the ball,” Goydos recalled. “When I took the club back a stalk of grass folded back and hit the water and it looked like my club had brushed the water (which would have been a violation of the Rules of Golf).”

A viewer reported the possible infraction, but after a review Tour officials ruled there had been no violation . . . that is other than the normal long-distance dialing charges.

For those who bristle at the notion of call ins, know this, there is not a player on Tour who would want to win a title only to find out after the fact that he’d committed some violation, however unintended.

“I think we can manage ourselves. I don’t think there are people out here trying to (cheat),” Kevin Streelman said. “At the same time, it’s hard to say anything against someone calling in to say what they saw.”

It’s not as though Streelman, or any other frat brother, finds the idea of call ins particularly well-intentioned. “Someone sitting there with binoculars trying to find something doesn’t really seem in the spirit of the game,” he said.

It’s just that ignoring call ins is not in the spirit of the game. As cumbersome, difficult and awkward as they may be to Finchem & Co., ignoring possible violations is simply not an option.

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Schauffele just fine being the underdog

By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 8:06 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following a breakthough season during which he won twice and collected the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Award, Xander Schauffele concedes his sophomore campaign has been less than stellar, but that could all change on Sunday at The Open.

Schauffele followed a second-round 66 with a 67 on Saturday to take a share of the 9-under-par lead with Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner.

Although he hasn’t won in 2018, he did finish runner-up at The Players and tied for sixth at the U.S. Open, two of the year’s toughest tests.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“Growing up, I always hit it well and played well in tough conditions,” Schauffele said. “I wasn't the guy to shoot 61. I was the guy to shoot like 70 when it was playing really hard.”

Sunday’s pairing could make things even more challenging when he’ll head out in the day’s final tee time with Spieth, the defending champion. But being the underdog in a pairing, like he was on Saturday alongside Rory McIlroy, is not a problem.

“All the guys I've talked to said, 'Live it up while you can, fly under the radar,'” he said. “Today I played in front of what you call Rory's crowd and guys were just yelling all the time, even while he's trying to putt, and he had to step off a few times. No one was yelling at me while I was putting. So I kind of enjoy just hanging back and relaxing.”

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Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 7:54 pm

Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.

So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.

Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.

Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Jordan Spieth: 7/4

Xander Schauffele: 5/1

Kevin Kisner: 11/2

Tiger Woods: 14/1

Francesco Molinari: 14/1

Rory McIlroy: 14/1

Kevin Chappell: 20/1

Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1

Alex Noren: 25/1

Zach Johnson: 30/1

Justin Rose: 30/1

Matt Kuchar: 40/1

Webb Simpson: 50/1

Adam Scott: 80/1

Tony Finau: 80/1

Charley Hoffman: 100/1

Austin Cook: 100/1

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Wandering photographer costs McIlroy on 16

By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:44 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy bogeyed two of his last four holes Saturday to fall four shots off the lead at The Open.

One of those mistakes might not have entirely been his fault.

McIlroy missed a short putt on the par-3 16th after a photographer was “in a world all his own,” wandering around near the green, taking photos of the crowd and not paying attention to the action on the green.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“It’s fine,” McIlroy said after a third-round 70 put him at 5-under 208, four shots off the lead. “It’s one of those things that happens. There’s a lot of people out there, and it is what it is. It’s probably my fault, but I just didn’t regroup well after it happened.”

McIlroy also bogeyed the home hole, after driving into a fairway bunker, sending his second shot right of the green and failing to get up and down.

“I putted well,” he said. “I holed out when I needed to. I just need to make the birdies and try to limit the damage tomorrow.”

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Kisner not expecting awkward night with Spieth

By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:33 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – It might get awkward in that star-studded rental house Saturday night.

Two of the three Open co-leaders, Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner, are sharing a house this week near Carnoustie. Though it’ll be late by the time they both get back to the house Saturday night, they’ll have plenty of time to kill Sunday morning, with their tee times not until nearly 3 p.m. local time.

“Everybody is probably going to get treatment and eating and trying to find a bed,” Kisner said. “I’m sure there’ll be some conversations. There always are. Everybody has a few horror stories or good laughs over something that happened out there. That will probably be the end of it.”

One thing they’re almost certain to discuss is the weather.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

After three days of mostly benign conditions, Sunday’s forecast calls for warm temperatures and wind gusts up to 25 mph.

“When you watch any TV, that’s all they talk about – how Sunday’s coming,” Kisner said. “It’s going to be a true test, and we’ll get to see really who’s hitting it the best and playing the best.”

Zach Johnson is also in the house – along with Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, Jimmy Walker and Jason Dufner – and he rode to the course Saturday with Kisner, with whom he played in the final group, at 4 p.m. It’s unclear whether the co-leaders Sunday will have a similar arrangement.

This is the third year that Spieth and Co. have shared a house at The Open, though Kisner is a new addition to the group.

“It’s the end of the week,” Kisner said. “Everybody’s got a lot of stuff going on. Everybody’s going their separate ways tomorrow. Tomorrow morning we’ll all sit around and laugh on the couch and talk about why that guy’s making so many birdies.”