You Cant Get There from Here

By Rex HoggardJanuary 26, 2011, 5:38 am

Farmers Insurance OpenSAN DIEGO – Blame it on HDTV, or particular viewers with too much free time. Castigate Camilo Villegas and Padraig Harrington for a lack of situational awareness. Even condemn the convoluted Rules of Golf.

Whatever gets you through the cold winter nights. But know this about Rule 6-6.d, golf’s powers that be have dissected this particular item ad nauseam and come to a simple yet unmistakable conclusion – it may be broke, but it’s unfixable.

“I bet it goes back 100 years,” sighed Mike Davis, the U.S. Golf Association’s senior director of rules and competitions.

A few years back Davis and the USGA, which governs the game in the United States and Mexico, was asked by the PGA Tour to review the rule that cost Villegas an “official” paycheck at the season opener in Hawaii and Harrington a shot at victory at last week’s Abu Dhabi Golf Championship on the European Tour.

Both players had signed their scorecards only to find out much later that a viewer had called in, or texted or tweeted, a violation. For signing an incorrect card both players were disqualified and common sense was given a standing “10 count.”

Davis’ answer to the Tour was the same then that it is now – you can’t get there from here. At least not without opening a Pandora’s Box of unforeseen, and seen, problems.

“The whole reason the (Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, which governs the game everywhere else in the world) and USGA have rejected it is there are too many ramifications if you do that,” Davis said.

“If you gave Camilo a four-stroke penalty (instead of an early exit) the problem with that is you may all of a sudden mess up a cut. It could be the U.S. Amateur and you just played 36 holes of stroke play and your entire bracket (for match play) could get messed up. It would be illogical to make a change.”

That answer, however, is no longer good enough for the PGA Tour. On Tuesday at Torrey Pines commissioner Tim Finchem said he planned to meet with the USGA’s executive committee late next week to “rearticulate our concerns,” which is Tour-speak for “pretty please.”

“We felt that perhaps the penalty was out of sync with the infraction,” Finchem said. “There needs to be some common sense here.”

On this the commish has popular opinion and the vast majority of his players on his side. If the Villegas DQ drew discontent from the golf world the Harrington ruling last week prompted nothing short of indignation from golf-dom.

When asked if, at the least, there should be a statute of limitations on late-to-the-dance infractions, either called in from middle America or via a fellow competitor, that would cost a guilty player an additional two strokes or so but allow them to continue playing, Rocco Mediate jumped, “Oh yeah, there’s got to be something.”

But Finchem can “rearticulate” until East Lake thaws out, Davis – as thoughtful and fair-minded as they come – was rather clear on this.

“If you ask people who really know the rules and understand the ramifications they understand why the R&A and USGA don’t want to change it,” Davis said.

Rough translation: if the Tour is so intent on change then they should have at it. They’ve done it before, in fact. The grooves in the irons the play-for-pay set will use at this week’s Farmers Insurance Open are different than what will be used in next week’s men’s club shotgun at Torrey Pines.

But a wholesale bifurcation of the rules is viewed in Tour circles as a last resort, an Armageddon option that carries its own set of unforeseen problems. More so than any other sport golf clings to the notion that the game you see played on Tour Sundays is the same that will be played at Everytown, USA, Municipal on Monday.

“We have that option,” Finchem said when asked about the possibility of a local rule that would save future Villegases and Harringtons from a rule book death sentence. “However, we think it’s important to the sport to maintain a consistent set of rules throughout. Right now we are not even thinking about that.”

All of which means that Finchem is at an impasse, and as politically savvy as the former Washington, D.C., lobbyist may be the USGA and R&A have some 100 years of “rearticulating” that proves you can’t get there from here.

Late-to-the-dance call-ins and unfortunate disqualifications have been a part of the game since golf went to the little screen, and HD clarity only promises to embolden armchair rules officials in the future. But if Finchem & Co. want change they may have to go it alone.

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High school seniors win U.S. Amateur Four-Ball

By Associated PressMay 24, 2018, 1:44 am

TEQUESTA, Fla. - The 18-year-old Hammer, from Houston, is set to play at Texas next fall. Barber, from Stuart, Fla., also is 18. He's headed to LSU.

''Growing up watching U.S. Opens and U.S. Amateurs on TV, I just knew being a USGA champion is something that I desperately wanted,'' said Hammer, who qualified for a U.S. Open three years ago at 15. ''And to finally do it, it feels incredible. It feels as good, if not better, than I thought it would. And especially being able to do it with Garrett. It's really cool to share this moment.''

Hammer and Cole won the par-4 eighth with a birdie to take a 2-up lead. They took the par-4 10th with a par, won the par-5 13th with an eagle - Barber hit a 4-iron from 235 yards to 3 feet - and halved the next two holes to end the match.

''Cole didn't want me to hit 4-iron,'' Barber said. ''He didn't think I could get it there. I was like, 'I got it.' So I hit it hard, hit pretty much a perfect shot. It was a crazy shot.''

The 32-year-old Dull is from Winter Park, Fla., and the 42-year-old Brooke from Altamonte Springs, Fla.

''Cole Hammer is a special player,'' Brooke said. ''Obviously, he's going to Texas (and) I'm not saying he is Jordan Spieth, but there are certain things that he does.''

In the morning semifinals, Hammer and Barber beat Idaho high school teammates Carson Barry and Sam Tidd, 5 and 4, and Brooke and Dull topped former Seattle University teammates Kyle Cornett and Patrick Sato, 4 and 3.

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Arizona captures NCAA DI Women's Championship

By Jay CoffinMay 23, 2018, 11:56 pm

STILLWATER, Okla. – Turns out this match play format provides fireworks. Almost always.

In the four years since the women’s NCAA Championship has switched from the stale, 72-hole stroke-play format the championship matches have been pure magic.

This year, again, the title came down to the last match and Arizona took home its third title with a 3-2 victory over Alabama when Haley Moore defeated Lakareber Abe by making a birdie on the 19th hole. The last time the Wildcats won the NCAA Championship was in 2000, when coach Laura Ianello was on the team.

Arizona def. Alabama, 3-2

Yu-Sang Hou (AZ) def. Lauren Stephenson (AL), 4 and 3

Kristen Gillman (AL) def. Gigi Stoll (AZ), 4 and 3

Cheyenne Knight (AL) def. Bianca Pagdanganan, 4 and 2

Sandra Nordaas (AZ) def. Angelica Moresco (AL), 1 up

Haley Moore (AZ) def. Lakareber Abe (AL), 19th hole

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Elway to play in U.S. Senior Open qualifier

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 23, 2018, 10:25 pm

Tony Romo is not the only ex-QB teeing it up against the pros.

Denver Broncos general manager and Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway will try to qualify for the U.S. Senior Open next week, according to the Denver Post.

And why not? The qualifier and the senior major will be held in Colorado Springs at the Broadmoor. Elway is scheduled to tee off May 28 at 12:10 p.m. ET. The top two finishers will earn a spot in the U.S. Senior Open, June 27 to July 1.

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Jutanugarn sisters: Different styles, similar results

By Associated PressMay 23, 2018, 10:20 pm

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn play golf and live life differently.

The sisters from Thailand do have the same goal in the LPGA, hoping their shot-to-shot focus leads to titles.

The Jutanugarns are two of six women with a shot at the Volvik Championship to become the circuit's first two-time winner this year. The first round begins Thursday at Travis Pointe Country Club, a course six winners are skipping to prepare elsewhere for next week's U.S. Women's Open at Shoal Creek in Alabama.

''Everybody has a chance to win every weekend,'' Moriya said. ''That's how hard it is on tour right now.''

Ariya competes with a grip-it-and-rip-it approach, usually hammering a 3-wood off the tee.

Moriya takes a more calculated approach, analyzing each shot patiently.

That's perhaps fitting because she's 16 months older than her sister.

''It's funny because when we think about something, it's always the different,'' she said. ''But we pretty much end up with the same idea.''

Off the course, they're also different.

The 22-year-old Ariya appears careful and guarded when having conversations with people she doesn't know well. The 23-year-old Moriya, meanwhile, enjoys engaging in interesting discussions with those who cross her path.

Their mother, Narumon, was with her daughters Wednesday and the three of them always stay together as a family. They don't cook during tournament weeks and opt to eat out, searching for good places like the sushi restaurant they've discovered near Travis Pointe.

Their father, Somboon, does not watch them play in person. They sisters say he has retired from owning a golf shop in Thailand.

''He doesn't travel anymore,'' Moriya Jutanugarn said.

Even if he is relegating to watching from the other side of the world, Somboon Jutanugarn must be proud of the way his daughters are playing.

Ariya became the first Thai winner in LPGA history in 2016, the same year she went on to win the inaugural Volvik Championship. She earned her eighth career victory last week in Virginia and is one of two players, along with Brooke Henderson, to have LPGA victories this year and the previous two years.

Moriya won for the first time in six years on the circuit last month in Los Angeles, joining Annika and Charlotta Sorenstam as the two pairs of sisters to have LPGA victories.

On the money list, Ariya is No. 1 and her sister is third.

In terms of playing regularly, no one is ahead of them.

Ariya is the only LPGA player to start and make the cut in all 12 events this year. Moriya Jutanugarn has also appeared in each tournament this year and failed to make the cut only once.

Instead of working in breaks to practice without competing or simply relax, they have entered every tournament so far and shrug their shoulders at the feat.

''It's not that bad, like 10 week in a row,'' Moriya said.

The LPGA is hosting an event about five miles from Michigan Stadium for a third straight year and hopes to keep coming back even though it doesn't have a title sponsor secured for 2019. LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan told reporters he's confident Ann Arbor will be a long-term home for the circuit.

''I can't tell you the specifics about how we're going to do that,'' Whan acknowledged.

LPGA and tournament officials are hosting some prospective sponsors this week, trying to persuade them to put their name on the tournament.

Volvik, which makes golf balls, is preparing to scale back its support of the tournament.

''We're coming back,'' said Don Shin, president of Volvik USA. ''We just don't know in what capacity.''