Thursday, April 27

Golf on TV: Zurich Classic of New Orleans, Volunteers of America Texas Shootout, Volvo China Open



From a Golf Channel press release.

ORLANDO, Fla. (April 25, 2017) – The PGA TOUR moves to Louisiana this week to unveil an exciting new format at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. 80 two-man teams will compete in a 72-hole event that will feature a stroke play, alternate-shot format in the first and third rounds, and a better-ball format in the second and final rounds. The LPGA Tour this week boasts a field that includes the entire top-20 in the current Rolex Women’s World Rankings, all convening at the Volunteers of American Texas Shootout. The European Tour will stage the Volvo China Open in Beijing, as Haotong Li is set to defend his 2016 title.

PGA TOUR

Zurich Classic of New Orleans
Dates: April 27-30                                                                      
Venue: TPC Louisiana, Avondale, La.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         3:30-6:30 p.m. (Live) / 7:30-10:30 p.m. (Replay)
Friday              3:30-6:30 p.m. (Live) / 7:30-10:30 p.m. (Replay)
Saturday          1-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 7-11:30 p.m. (Replay)
Sunday            1-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 7-11:30 p.m. (Replay)

Tournament Airtimes on CBS (Eastern):
Saturday          3-6 p.m.
Sunday            3-6 p.m.

Broadcast Notes:
Event adopts new team format: The field consists of 160 players competing as 80 two-man teams. The format features a stroke play, alternate shot format in the first and third rounds, and a better ball format in the second and final rounds, with the low 35 teams (and ties) making the 36-hole cut. Both players from the winning team will be credited with an official PGA TOUR victory and receive the normal two-year exemption on TOUR, though there will be no world ranking points allotted for those competing in the event.
Notable Teams: Jason Day/Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose/Henrik Stenson, Branden Grace/Louis Oosthuizen, Ryan Palmer/Jordan Spieth, Daniel Berger/Thomas Pieters, J.B. Holmes/Bubba Watson, Kevin Chappell/Gary Woodland, Bud Cauley/Justin Thomas, Steve Stricker/Jerry Kelly, Brooks Koepka/Chase Koepka and Patrick Cantlay/Patrick Reed.    

LPGA TOUR

Volunteers of America Texas Shootout
Dates: April 27-30
Venue: Las Colinas Country Club, Irving, Texas

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         Noon-3 p.m. (Live)
Friday              Noon-3 p.m. (Live) / 1:30-3:30 a.m. (Saturday replay)
Saturday          3-6 p.m. (Live) / 4-6 a.m. (Sunday replay)
Sunday            3-6 p.m. (Live) / 4-6 a.m. (Monday replay)

Broadcast Notes:
Ko leads elite field that includes entire top-20 of current Rolex Women’s World Rankings: World No. 1 Lydia Ko leads a stout field that will feature the entire top-20 in the current Rolex Women’s World Rankings. Lexi Thompson is among those in the field, as she is scheduled to make her first start since finishing runner-up at the ANA Inspiration in April.
Format: This week’s shootout format is unique in that there is a cut to low 70 and ties after 36 holes and then an additional cut to low 50 and ties after 54 holes.
Shin defends: Jenny Shin finished two shots ahead of Amy Yang, Gerina Piller and Mi Jung Hur to claim her first LPGA Tour victory.
Headlining the field: Lydia Ko, So Yeon Ryu, Ariya Jutanugarn, In Gee Chun, Lexi Thompson, Shanshan Feng, Inbee Park, Ha Na Jang, Amy Yang, Anna Nordqvist, Michelle Wie and Brooke Henderson.

EUROPEAN TOUR

Volvo China Open
Dates: April 27-30                                                                      
Venue: Topwin Golf & Country Club, Beijing, China

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         10:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. (Live, Wednesday overnight) / 2:30-5:30 a.m. (Live)
Friday              10:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. (Live, Thursday overnight) / 2:30-5:30 a.m. (Live)
Saturday          6-10 a.m. (Tape delay)
Sunday            6-10 a.m. (Tape delay)

Broadcast Notes:
Li defends: Haotong Li finished three strokes ahead of Felipe Aguilar to earn his first European Tour win.
Headlining the field: Ross Fisher, Bernd Wiesberger, Thongchai Jaidee, Thorbjorn Olesen, Edoardo Molinari, Thomas Bjorn, Y.E. Yang, Chris Wood, Haotong Li and Jeunghun Wang.

Wednesday, April 26

VIDEO: Tony Jacklin Drives the Thames River



I RECENTLY HAD CONTACT WITH TONY JACKLIN, who has been great to me in recent years. We first got acquainted beginning in 2012 and as I wrote DRAW IN THE DUNES about him and Jack Nicklaus at the 1969 Ryder Cup at Royal Birkdale.

I was searching for something when I ran across the above oddity in Jacklin's breakout 1969 season, during which he won the Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.

As you'll hear in the clip, Walter Hagen and Jack Nicklaus also drove golf balls across the Thames.

Reporting in January on "An Evening with Tony Jacklin," the Bradenton Herald wrote: "[T]he video showed him ripping a drive 356 yards from the top of a building in England across the Thames River.

(It was atop the Savoy Hotel.)

"That was a publicity stunt," Jacklin said. "... There was a ship in the Thames with a ... light measuring the distances. They made a performance of bringing the golf balls on the silver tray. ... When you swing and looking at traffic down (there), you get this feeling you're going to go with (the ball). So I was on my back foot the whole time."

Tuesday, April 25

USGA: 'New Rules of Golf Decision Limits Use of Video Review'

This could also be called the Lexi Thompson decision after her fiasco at the ANA Inspiration. It's a long time coming. Video review scenarios have created many problems for major championship golf in recent years. The ruling bodies have now spoken. The following is from a USGA press release.

FAR HILLS, N.J., USA AND ST. ANDREWS, SCOTLAND (April 25, 2017) -  The USGA and The R&A have issued a new Decision on the Rules of Golf to limit the use of video evidence in the game, effective immediately. 

The two organizations have also established a working group of LPGA, PGA Tour, PGA European Tour, Ladies European Tour and PGA of America representatives to immediately begin a comprehensive review of broader video issues, including viewer call-ins, which arise in televised competitions.

New Decision 34-3/10 implements two standards for Rules committees to limit the use of video: 1) when video reveals evidence that could not reasonably be seen with the "naked eye," and 2) when players use their "reasonable judgment" to determine a specific location when applying the Rules. The full language of the Decision can be found here

The first standard states, "the use of video technology can make it possible to identify things that could not be seen with the naked eye." An example includes a player who unknowingly touches a few grains of sand in taking a backswing with a club in a bunker when making a stroke.

If the committee concludes that such facts could not reasonably have been seen with the naked eye and the player was not otherwise aware of the potential breach, the player will be deemed not to have breached the Rules, even when video technology shows otherwise. This is an extension of the provision on ball-at-rest-moved cases, which was introduced in 2014. 

The second standard applies when a player determines a spot, point, position, line, area, distance or other location in applying the Rules, and recognizes that a player should not be held to the degree of precision that can sometimes be provided by video technology. Examples include determining the nearest point of relief or replacing a lifted ball.

So long as the player does what can reasonably be expected under the circumstances to make an accurate determination, the player's reasonable judgment will be accepted, even if later shown to be inaccurate by the use of video evidence.

Both of these standards have been extensively discussed as part of the Rules modernization initiative. The USGA and The R&A have decided to enact this Decision immediately because of the many difficult issues arising from video review in televised golf.

The standards in the Decision do not change any of the current requirements in the Rules, as the player must still act with care, report all known breaches of the Rules and try to do what is reasonably expected in making an accurate determination when applying the Rules.

Video-related topics that require a deeper evaluation by the working group include the use of information from sources other than participants such as phone calls, email or social media, and the application of penalties after a score card has been returned.

USGA Executive Director/CEO Mike Davis said, "This important first step provides officials with tools that can have a direct and positive impact on the game. We recognize there is more work to be done. Advancements in video technology are enhancing the viewing experience for fans, but can also significantly affect the competition. We need to balance those advances with what is fair for all players when applying the Rules."

Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said, "We have been considering the impact of video review on the game and feel it is important to introduce a Decision to give greater clarity in this area. Golf has always been a game of integrity and we want to ensure that the emphasis remains as much as possible on the reasonable judgment of the player rather than on what video technology can show."

The USGA and The R&A will consider additional modifications recommended by the working group for implementation in advance of Jan. 1, 2019, when the new code resulting from the collaborative work to modernize golf's Rules takes effect.

Monday, April 24

USGA VIDEO: 9 Things You Didn't Know About Golf Courses



IN HONOR OF EARTH DAY, which was on Saturday, the USGA produced the above edition of "The 9."

Join host Fran Charles and USGA course care experts as they take a look at nine environmental benefits you (maybe) didn't know about golf courses.

Friday, April 21

Another Back Surgery for Tiger Woods

AS REPORTED THURSDAY ON TIGERWOODS.COM, Tiger Woods has undergone his fourth back surgery.
Tiger Woods (Allison)
"The surgery went well, and I'm optimistic this will relieve my back spasms and pain," Woods said. "When healed, I look forward to getting back to a normal life, playing with my kids, competing in professional golf and living without the pain I have been battling so long." 
The operation was performed by Dr. Richard Guyer of the Center for Disc Replacement at the Texas Back Institute. 
"After he recovers from surgery, he will gradually begin his rehabilitation until he is completely healed," Guyer said. "Once that's accomplished, his workouts will be geared to allowing him to return to competitive golf. 
"If you are going to have single-level fusion, the bottom level is the best place for it to occur. Some individuals are born with one less vertebrae, which would be similar to someone who had a single-level fusion," Guyer added.

Thursday, April 20

Golf on TV: Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf, Valero Texas Open, Shenzhen International


From a Golf Channel press release.

ORLANDO, Fla. (April 19, 2017) – World Golf Hall of Fame members Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Lee Trevino will headline the Legends division at the PGA TOUR Champions’ Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf at Big Cedar Lodge, airing on Golf Channel. The PGA TOUR is in San Antonio for the Valero Texas Open, where Charley Hoffman will defend his 2016 title. On the European Tour, Bubba Watson and Tommy Fleetwood lead the field at the Shenzhen International in China.

PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS

Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf at Big Cedar Lodge
Dates: April 21-23                                                                      
Venues: Buffalo Ridge (Springs Course) & Top of the Rock, Ridgedale, Mo.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Friday              Noon-3 p.m. (Live) / Midnight-2:30 a.m. (Saturday replay)
Saturday          5-7 p.m. (Live) / 12:30-2:30 a.m. (Sunday replay)
Sunday            5-7 p.m. (Live) / 12:30-2:30 a.m. (Monday replay)

Broadcast Notes:
Champions Division Teams: Michael Allen/John Daly, Woody Austin/Mark Calcavecchia, John Cook/Joey Sindelar, Jay Haas/Fred Couples, Miguel Angel Jimenez/Jose Maria Olazabal, Tom Jenkins/Mark O’Meara, Jerry Kelly/Steve Stricker, Davis Love III/Scott Verplank, Sandy Lyle/Ian Woosnam, Andy North/Tom Watson.
Legends Division Teams: Gary Player/Jack Nicklaus, Mike Hill/Lee Trevino, Allen Doyle/Hubert Green, Tony Jacklin/Tom Weiskopf.
Austin/Allen defend: Michael Allen and Woody Austin finished one stroke ahead of David Frost and Roger Chapman to win the 2016 edition of the event.

PGA TOUR

Valero Texas Open
Dates: April 13-16
Venue: TPC San Antonio (AT&T Oaks Course), San Antonio, Texas

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         3:30-6:30 p.m. (Live) / 7:30-10:30 p.m. (Replay)
Friday              3:30-6:30 p.m. (Live) / 9 p.m.-Midnight (Replay)
Saturday          1-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 8 p.m.-12:30 a.m. (Replay)
Sunday            1-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 8 p.m.-12:30 a.m. (Replay)

Tournament Airtimes on CBS (Eastern):
Saturday          3-6 p.m.
Sunday            3-6 p.m.

Broadcast Notes:
Hoffman defends: Charley Hoffman finished one shot ahead of Patrick Reed to claim his fourth PGA TOUR victory.
Headlining the field: Patrick Reed, Jimmy Walker, Zach Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Matt Kuchar, Kevin Chappell, Ryan Moore, Charley Hoffman and Ian Poulter.

EUROPEAN TOUR

Shenzhen International
Dates: April 20-23                                                                      
Venue: Genzon Golf Club (A Course), Shenzhen, China

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         10:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. (Live, Wednesday overnight) / 2:30-5:30 a.m. (Live)
Friday              10:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. (Live, Thursday overnight) / 2:30-5:30 a.m. (Live)
Saturday          6-10 a.m. (Tape delay)
Sunday            6-10 a.m. (Tape delay)

Broadcast Notes:
Lee defends: Soomin Lee finished two shots ahead of Joost Luiten and Brandon Stone to earn his first European Tour win.
Headlining the field: Bubba Watson, Tommy Fleetwood, Ross Fisher, Thorbjorn Olesen, Bernd Wiesberger, Y.E. Yang, Edoardo Molinari, Haotong Li and Soomin Lee.

Wednesday, April 19

The Caddie Blues of Lydia Ko

LPGA PHENOM LYDIA KO HAS GONE through nine caddies in her career. Ko is 19. (She will be 20 in less than a week.) Look, I'm just an "armchair golfer" who writes about the game. I don't know what it's like between the ropes or to be an elite golfer.

But nine caddies at 19? There's something wrong here, right?

Ko's latest caddie, Gary Matthews, was canned after nine events. Ko finished runner-up to Cristie Kerr at the LPGA Lotte Championship in Hawaii this past weekend, but that didn't help her bag man.

"What was so strange for me," Matthews told Tim Rosaforte, "we worked unbelievably well in Hawaii, the communication and everything was just phenomenal."

Added Matthews: "I wish her the best, but she's gone through so many caddies, she needs to wake up on caddie-player relationships. Otherwise she’ll just keep doing it."

Monday, April 17

Wesley Bryan Wears Tartan and Eats Taco Bell



WESLEY BRYAN WON THE RBC HERITAGE by a shot on Sunday at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Bryan, 27, played college golf for University of South Carolina. It was his first title on the PGA Tour.

"At the end of the day, it doesn't really change anything other than I now have one PGA Tour victory," Bryan said in USA TODAY. "There are a lot of guys that have just one PGA Tour victory. My one goal is to get number two at this point."

Four shots back as Sunday began, Bryan charged to the top with a 4-under 67 to edge Luke Donald. The newest PGA Tour winner celebrated with his wife at Taco Bell and then answered questions on Facebook Live, wearing the Tartan jacket.

(H/T Geoff Shackelford)