Common sense prevails as fans can no longer call in golf rules violations

Score a victory for common sense.

It was announced Monday that beginning in 2018, golf’s major professional tours will no longer allow viewer call-ins to dictate potential rules violations captured on television broadcasts.

Golf fans no longer able to call in violations.

Golf fans will no longer be able to call in or email possible rules violations they witness while watching broadcasts of tournaments on television.

This is a triumph for the purists, for fans of the game who never believed the intricacies of the rule book should be enforced and litigated in the aftermath of such activity — and certainly not from a couch potato with a remote control in one hand and a phone dialing some clandestine number in the other.

This is a win for those who witnessed Tiger Woods’ post-round “witch hunt” at the 2013 Masters or Lexi Thompson’s called-in penalty at this year’s ANA Inspiration and felt queasy about the eventual result. After all, try calling in an NFL pass interference penalty or an NBA traveling violation from the comforts of home. Your opinion will be treated to nothing more than a lusty dial tone.

Tiger Woods lost two strokes after a viewer called in to say Woods made a bad drop after finding water on Augusta’s 15th hole during the second round of the 2013 Masters. Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Ostensibly, golf will now feature a similar lack of democracy, with on-site video officials charged with serving as the last line of defense in protecting the rules.

The worst part of the previous system wasn’t even the fact that random fans could adversely impact the very proceedings taking place inside a box mounted to their living room walls. It was that this was never a level playing field. Until the time when every golfer’s entire round was beamed live to spectators around the globe, this was always going to affect those being shown on camera more than their less visible counterparts.

Or perhaps more importantly: It was always going to impact a Sunday afternoon contender more than a Thursday morning competitor.

Just eight months ago, Thompson was nabbed by the gotcha-police when she was found to have improperly marked her ball on the green. She lost two strokes due to the violation, another two for signing an incorrect scorecard and wound up losing that major championship.

On Monday, she took to Twitter to address the revised rule: “I applaud the USGA and the R&A for their willingness to revise the Rules of Golf to address certain unfortunate situations that have arisen several times in the game of golf. In my case, I am thankful no one else will have to deal with an outcome such as mine in the future.”

It’s safe to say that Thompson’s result wasn’t the sole rationale for this decision, but golf’s powers-that-be should be commended for realizing that it was a perilous final straw.

“All involved with administering the game are concerned with the impact that these types of rulings were continuing to have,” explained Thomas Pagel, the USGA’s senior director for rules of golf and amateur status. “[The] new set of video-review protocols are not a direct result of the Lexi Thompson ruling, but it is safe to say that it was the last of several similar rulings that highlighted the need to act quickly on the matter.”

The genesis of viewer call-ins dates to the 1987 Andy Williams Open, in the landmark case of Craig Stadler vs. Building A Stance. In contention during the third round at Torrey Pines, the man known as the Walrus was forced to play a shot on his knees from under a tree. He placed a towel on the ground, later explaining, “I didn’t want to finish the round looking like a gardener.” One day later, a viewer called in from Iowa to point out the transgression. Since he’d already signed the card, a share of second place was deemed a disqualification.

Since then, golf’s caretakers have endured three decades of allowing unaffected observers to affect potential outcomes. All of which is why Monday’s announcement is being hailed as a celebration of the game’s long-awaited realization that self-enforcement beats citizen arrests.

Of course, like any unanimous call to action, the notable pros instantly outweigh the inscrutable cons. They do exist, though. Just wait until the first time a professional golfer unknowingly commits a violation that isn’t captured by the on-site video official, either. It won’t take long before the social-media masses raise their figurative pitchforks, wondering why their voices can no longer be heard.

That day might come, but for now, the celebration continues.

Too often, golf tournaments have been decided on something less than rational thinking. Common sense has prevailed in this match, even if it was long overdue.

Source: ESPN.com

HOW EACH OF THE TOP 30 COULD WIN THE FEDEXCUP

Here’s a quick look at what each player in the field at East Lake will need to do to claim the FedExCup. The trophy, and its $10 million prize, will be awarded at the conclusion of the TOUR Championship.

* = A possible tie for the FedExCup that would result in a sudden death playoff

RANK PLAYER WINNING SCENARIOS
+

1 Jordan Spieth Jordan Spieth

• If he wins the TOUR Championship, he wins the FedExCup
• Has a reasonable chance of winning with a top-five finish
• Can finish as low as 29th and still have a mathematical chance of winning

2 Justin Thomas Justin Thomas

• If he wins the TOUR Championship, he wins the FedExCup
• Has a reasonable chance of winning with a top-three finish
• Can finish as low as a 2-way tie for 6th and still have a mathematical chance of winning

3 Dustin Johnson Dustin Johnson

• If he wins the TOUR Championship, he wins the FedExCup
• Has a reasonable chance of winning with a second-place finish
• Can finish as low as T4 and still have a mathematical chance of winning

4 Marc Leishman Marc Leishman

• If he wins the TOUR Championship, he wins the FedExCup
• Has a reasonable chance of winning with a second-place finish
• Can finish as low as T3 and still have a mathematical chance of winning

5 Jon Rahm Jon Rahm

• If he wins the TOUR Championship, he wins the FedExCup
• Can finish as low as a 2-way tie for 2nd and still have a mathematical chance of winning

6 Rickie Fowler Rickie Fowler

Must win the TOUR Championship AND
• No. 1 must finish T2 or worse
• Can finish second and still have a mathematical chance of winning

7 Hideki Matsuyama Hideki Matsuyama

Must win the TOUR Championship AND
• No. 1 must finish in a three-way tie for 2nd or worse
• No. 2 must finish T2 or worse

8 Justin Rose Justin Rose

Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish third or worse*
• No. 2 must finish T2 or worse*
• No. 3 must finish second or worse.*

9 Brooks Koepka Brooks Koepka

Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish in a 3-way tie for third or worse
• No. 2 must finish third or worse
• No. 3 must finish T2 or worse
• No. 4 must finish second or worse*

10 Paul Casey Paul Casey

Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish fifth or worse
• No. 2 must finish in a 3-way tie for third or worse
• No. 3 must finish in a 3-way tie for second or worse
• No. 4 must finish T2 or worse
• No. 5 must finish second or worse*

11 Pat Perez Pat Perez

• Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish T6 or worse
• No. 2 must finish T4 or worse
• No. 3 must finish T3 or worse
• No. 4 must finish in a 3-way tie for second or worse
• No. 5 must finish T2 or worse

12 Matt Kuchar Matt Kuchar

Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish in a 3-way tie for 6th or worse
• No. 2 must finish T4 or worse
• No. 3 must finish T3 or worse
• No. 4 must finish in a 3-way tie for second or worse
• No. 5 must finish T2 or worse

13 Charley Hoffman Charley Hoffman

Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish T7 or worse
• No. 2 must finish T4 or worse
• No. 3 must finish T3 or worse
• No. 4 must finish in a 3-way tie for second or worse
• No. 5 must finish T2 or worse

14 Daniel Berger Daniel Berger

Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish T8 or worse
• No. 2 must finish T4 or worse
• No. 3 must finish T3 or worse
• No. 4 must finish in a 3-way tie for second or worse
• No. 5 must finish T2 or worse

15 Jason Day Jason Day

Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish ninth or worse*
• No. 2 must finish T4 or worse*
• No. 3 must finish T3 or worse
• No. 4 must finish in a 3-way tie for second or worse
• No. 5 must finish T2 or worse

16 Webb Simpson Webb Simpson

• Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish in a 3-way tie for ninth or worse
• No. 2 must finish in a 3-way tie for fourth or worse
• No. 3 must finish T3 or worse
• No. 4 must finish third or worse
• No. 5 must finish T2 or worse

17 Jhonattan Vegas Jhonattan Vegas

Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish in a 3-way tie for tenth or worse
• No. 2 must finish in a 3-way tie for fourth or worse
• No. 3 must finish in a 3-way tie for third or worse
• No. 4 must finish third or worse
• No. 5 must finish T2 or worse

18 Kevin Kisner Kevin Kisner

Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish T-11 or worse
• No. 2 must finish fifth or worse
• No. 3 must finish in a 3-way tie for third or worse
• No. 4  must finish third or worse
• No. 5 must finish in a 3-way tie for second or worse

19 Kevin Chappell Kevin Chappell

Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish T12 or worse
• No. 2 must finish fifth or worse
• No. 3 must finish in a 3-way tie for third or worse
• No. 4 must finish third or worse
• No. 5 must finish in a 3-way tie for second or worse
• No. 6 must finish T2 or worse

20 Brian Harman Brian Harman

Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish in a 3-way tie for 12th or worse
• No. 2 must finish fifth or worse
• No. 3 must finish in a 3-way tie for third or worse
• No. 4 must finish third or worse
• No. 5 must finish in a 3-way tie for second or worse
• No. 6 must finish T2 or worse

21 Adam Hadwin Adam Hadwin

Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish 13th or worse*
• No. 2 must finish fifth or worse*
• No. 3 must finish in a 3-way tie for third or worse
• No. 4 must finish third or worse*
• No. 5 must finish in a 3-way tie for second or worse
• No. 6 must finish T-2 or worse

22 Kyle Stanley Kyle Stanley

Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish in a 3-way tie for 13th or worse
• No. 2 must finish T5 or worse
• No. 3 must finish in a 3-way tie for third or worse
• No. 4 must finish T3 or worse
• No. 5 must finish in a 3-way tie for second or worse
• No. 6 must finish T2 or worse

23 Patrick Reed Patrick Reed

Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish 15th or worse*
• No. 2 must finish T5 or worse
• No. 3 must finish in a 3-way tie for third or worse
• No. 4 must finish T3 or worse
• No. 5 must finish in a 3-way tie for second or worse
• No. 6 must finish T2 or worse

24 Tony Finau Tony Finau

Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish 17th or worse*
• No. 2 must finish in a 3-way tie for fifth or worse
• No. 3 must finish in a 3-way tie for third or worse
• No. 4 must finish T3 or worse
• No. 5 must finish in a 3-way tie for second or worse
• No. 6 must finish T2 or worse

25 Sergio Garcia Sergio Garcia

Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish 19th or worse*
• No. 2 must finish in a 3-way tie for fifth or worse
• No. 3 must finish fourth or worse
• No. 4 must finish T3 or worse
• No. 5 must finish in a 3-way tie for second or worse
• No. 6 must finish T2 or worse

26 Xander Schauffele Xander Schauffele

Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish 21st or worse*
• No. 2 must finish sixth or worse*
• No. 3 must finish fourth or worse*
• No. 4 must finish T-3 or worse
• No. 5 must finish in a 3-way tie for second or worse
• No. 6 must finish T-2 or worse

27 Russell Henley Russell Henley

Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish 23rd or worse*
• No. 2 must finish T6 or worse
• No. 3 must finish T4 or worse
• No. 4 must finish T3 or worse
• No. 5 must finish in a 3-way tie for second or worse
• No. 6 must finish T-2 or worse

28 Gary Woodland Gary Woodland

Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish 25th or worse*
• No. 2 must finish T6 or worse
• No. 3 must finish T4 or worse
• No. 4 must finish T3 or worse
• No. 5 must finish in a 3-way tie for second or worse
• No. 6 must finish T2 or worse

29 Patrick Cantlay Patrick Cantlay

Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish 27th or worse*
• No. 2 must finish in a 3-way tie for sixth or worse
• No. 3 must finish T4 or worse
• No. 4 must finish T3 or worse
• No. 5 must finish in a 3-way tie for second or worse
• No. 6 must finish T2 or worse

30 Jason Dufner Jason Dufner

Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish 29th or worse*
• No. 2 must finish in a 3-way tie for 6th or worse
• No. 3 must finish T4 or worse
• No. 4 must finish T3 or worse
• No. 5 must finish in a 3-way tie for second or worse
• No. 6 must finish T2 or worse

Source: PGATOUR.COM

Rory McIlroy fires longtime caddie J.P. Fitzgerald

Another one of golf’s most well-known player/caddie duos is splitting up.

According to a report from Reuters, Rory McIlroy has fired longtime caddie J.P. Fitzgerald and will have a new looper on his bag for this week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Reuters cited a source familiar with the situation. McIlroy’s management team has yet to make any announcement and has not immediately responded to GOLF.com’s request for comment.

Fitzgerald and McIlroy have been together for nine years and for all of McIlroy’s four major championships, including his ascent to No. 1 in the world in 2012. Fitzgerald was thrust into the spotlight at the British Open last week. McIlroy bogeyed five of his first six holes in his opening round but rebounded to shoot 71. He praised Fitzgerald for helping him turn the tide, as McIlroy finished tied for fourth.

The 28-year-old hasn’t won a major since the 2014 PGA Championship but is considered a heavy favorite for next week’s PGA at Quail Hollow in Charlotte. He’s won on the course twice already for the Wells Fargo Championship, most recently in 2015 when he shot a course-record 61 in the third round and won by seven.

This news comes just one month after Phil Mickelson and Jim “Bones” Mackay announced their mutual split after 25 years together.

Source: Golf.com