Some people think of Thanksgiving as a time to reflect, give thanks, dine with those they love and, if you're the New York Post, review the fourth anniversary of Tiger Woods' car accident.
Maureen Callahan pieces everything together--whether known to be factual or not--for a-long-by-Post standards review of the night that changed everything for the Woods family.
The golf architect is not at all concerned with chastising bad play. On the contrary, it is his business to arrange the field of play as to stimulate interest, and hence, the province of hazards is to chasten the too ambitious.
Some people think of Thanksgiving as a time to reflect, give thanks, dine with those they love and, if you're the New York Post, review the fourth anniversary of Tiger Woods' car accident.
From an unbylined BBC report on Stuart Manley's third hole ace Saturday in the World Cup, which he followed by making 11 on the 4th.
And then there was the Mercedes behind the tee which the Welshman thought was his:
"I thought the car was mine, and with the crowd, all the hype, I was just buzzing. The adrenaline was pumping so much, I could have flown to the green.
"Then I found out about the car and go and have an 11. I kept asking my caddie: 'How many shots is that now?' I actually thought it was a 10 but I was not going to argue because my head was pretty fried.
"I didn't know whether to laugh or cry at that point, but you've just got to pick yourself up and get on with it."
Even with the 11 on his card, Manley posted a 72 and sits at 2-under, seven back of Jason Day.
After bottoming out in 2011 at 23 events following the perfect storm of Carolyn Bivens and the Great Recession, the LPGA will play 32 official events next year, plus the International Crown.
A key venue upgrade comes for the Wegman's LPGA Championship, which moves from early June to Aug. 14-17 and relocates to a restored Donald Ross in Rochester, Monroe CC.
Earlier in the week, Ron Kroichick revealed a new San Francisco event with a catchy name and exclusive venue.
The Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic (gotta say, that’s a catchy name) will be played at Lake Merced Golf Club in Daly City on April 24-27. It will be the first LPGA event in the Bay Area since October 2010, when the fifth and final Longs-turned-CVS Challenge was held at Blackhawk Country Club in Danville.
Commissioner Mike Whan talked with Golf Channel about the impressive news of adding four events and the thinking behind a compelling format for the International Crown at Caves Valley in Maryland.
The unprecedented pairing of the Australian Masters and World Cup in back-to-back weeks at Royal Melbourne posed only one possible issue: two weeks of tournament conditions on one course which happens to have some pretty wild green contours.
While officials are downplaying the griping, the scores and player comments suggest Royal Melbourne is on edge heading into Saturday's third round of the World Cup. Matt Murnane reports.
One of the tournament's headliners, Ireland star Graeme McDowell, admitted the course was ''driving him insane'', however insisted he was loving the challenge of lightning putts and sometimes impossible-to-judge approach shots - comparing it to the type of test you only got at golf's majors. That appraisal was backed up by Denmark's Thomas Bjorn, who leads the individual section of tournament at eight under par, and his closest rival American Kevin Streelman (-7), who added that the pace of the greens seemed as quick as Augusta, the home of the US Masters.
But it was comments from Australian star Jason Day, third at four under, that set off concerns that controlling the pace of putts and the bounce of approach shots could prove impossible as the course continues to deal with the toll of hosting two tournaments in two weeks.
Asked whether he felt the course was verging on being unplayable, Day's response forced Australian PGA tournament director Andrew Langford-Jones to face the media and squash concerns that the organisers could be facing a potential problem over the weekend.
''You look at the ninth hole. G-Mac [McDowell] landed his [approach shot] just on the green and it bounced and rolled 30 paces,'' Day said.
If memory serves, a very nice approach area short of the green is provided to land the ball short and run it up. Just a thought!
Martin Blake said officials downplayed rumors of epic Stimpmeter readings.
Two players said they had heard the greens were running at 15 on the stimpmeter, an astonishing figure. But the PGA Tour of Australasia's tournaments director Andrew Langford-Jones said the stimpmeter reading this morning was 13.8, adding he had not heard any complaints from players in the locker room.
No jokes please, this is a sad day for southern California as the event had become a nice year-end gathering with arguably it's best-ever field this coming December.
However, just think of all the fun we get to have hearing about the Tavistock Group's "foundation," which is about as far from Tiger's superb foundation as you can get when it comes to producing tangible benefits for people-Americans. But at least the Tavistock folks can helicopter the players in from their hotels to get around Orlando's heinous traffic. Or the dangerous roads within the Isleworth development.
Also note the event, sponsored by Northwestern Mutual in 2013, reverts to the World Challenge in 2014. Either they have no sponsor lined up or Tavistock will be the sponsor.
It's not clear from this press release:
WORLD CHALLENGE MOVES TO FLORIDA FOR 2014 TO BE HELD AT ISLEWORTH GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB
ESTABLISHING A NEW PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN TIGER WOODS FOUNDATION AND TAVISTOCK GROUP
IRVINE, Calif. (November 22, 2013) – The Tiger Woods Foundation announced today that the World Challenge will mark its 16th year by relocating to Orlando’s Isleworth Golf & Country Club, owned by Tavistock Group, in 2014. The tournament, which features 18 of the world’s best PGA TOUR players and offers Official World Golf Ranking points, will be held December 1 through December 7, 2014.
“We have a longstanding relationship with Tavistock Group and my friend, Joe Lewis, and I am thrilled to see it grow in support of our Foundations,” Tiger Woods said. “We’ve enjoyed 15 amazing years in southern California, which helped us launch our flagship Tiger Woods Learning Center. It serves as a lasting tribute to the local fans that have supported us year after year. I’m looking forward to this next phase of the World Challenge and what it can bring to Florida.”
The 72-hole, stroke play event features an elite field, including notable past champions such as Tiger Woods, Graeme McDowell, Jim Furyk, Luke Donald, Padraig Harrington, Davis Love III and Vijay Singh. Woods has won the event five times.
“We have had 10 great years hosting our own Tavistock Cup golf tournament, and we believe this new partnership with the World Challenge will allow us to expand our presence and investment in the game,” stated Andy Odenbach, vice president of Sports Ventures at Tavistock Group. “The World Challenge has become a marquee golf tournament. We are honored to build on its strong history and host the players, sponsors and fans at Isleworth Golf & Country Club.”
Launched in 2004, the Tavistock Cup was held at Isleworth or Lake Nona Golf & Country Club and was sanctioned by the PGA TOUR. In just ten years, the Tavistock Cup grew in stature to include six global golf clubs and awarded more than $10 million to charity.
The World Challenge was previously held at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona. Since inception, the event has raised more than $25 million for the Tiger Woods Foundation. Beginning in 2014, the World Challenge will benefit both the Tiger Woods Foundation and Tavistock Foundation.
“We’ve been looking for ways to expand our relationship with Tavistock and this is a perfect fit,” Tiger Woods Foundation President and CEO Greg McLaughlin said. “The golf season has evolved significantly since our first tournament in 1999. We are very proud of the $25 million the World Challenge has raised, and we’ve been evaluating the best path forward to continue this work. We are excited to partner with Tavistock Group and honored to bring our tournament to Isleworth.”
The 2013 Northwestern Mutual World Challenge will be held Dec. 2 through Dec. 8, 2013 at Sherwood Country Club with an elite 18-man field that includes Five-time Champion and World No. 1 Tiger Woods, 2012 defending champion Graeme McDowell, 2013 PGA Championship winner Jason Dufner, 14 of the top 20 players from the Official World Golf Rankings and an impressive roster of players from the 2013 Presidents Cup. At the 2012 World Challenge Graeme McDowell shot a 4-under-par 68 to finish at 17-under 271 to win by three shots over Keegan Bradley. Tickets are available at worldchallengegolf.com.
**It appears the cryptic language in the press release says what those of us in denial feared it said: The Tavistock Cup is no more. Adam Schupak confirms.
I'm so, so sorry to share the news of the TCup's demise. Sad day for the game. Well, not really.
"If you couldn't see it with your naked eye, how much did it really compromise the other 155-some players in the field?"
Jaime Diaz fles an exclusive Q&A posted with Mike Davis at GolfDigest.com and the USGA Executive Director wants to make clear that the latest HD video-related Decision added to the rules of golf was in no way Tiger related, and continues the USGA position of unwillingness to say whether the situation at the BMW Championship was applicable.
I'm still having trouble seeing how this is the progressive moment some have suggested as a solution to the HD situations:
Please explain how the new rule might have effected what occurred with Tiger at BMW?
In Tiger's case, what a rules committee would ultimately have to do is say, "OK, did Tiger see that with his naked eye. Was it possible or probable?" Sometimes you may just need to take all the evidence involved. We do that all the time in championships.
Let's say Tiger's thing wasn't televised, and all we had was a spectator saying they thought Tiger's ball moved. And we learn about that, what we would do is get to Tiger before he returned his scorecard, and ask him "Can we talk about what happened on the hole where you removed a pine needle and a spectator said your ball moved?" And we would ask him, "Did your ball move?" If he said, "Absolutely not, it didn't move," it would be OK, case closed.
But if Tiger said, "Well I don't think it moved," then we would ask, "Tell us about the pine needle, could it have caused the ball to move?" Again, you use all the evidence you have, because we've got to somehow make a ruling here. And in a case like this, if it's one person against another person, usually the player is going to win on that.
But perhaps in a case where something wasn't televised, and 12 people are saying the ball moved, but the player said, "I don't think it moved," there would be too much weight saying the ball moved and the ruling would go against the player.
So 12 people in person would have a better view than an HD camera? Generally not, which then means viral video will threaten to taint the player's image.
But the bottom line on the new rule is that if the ball somehow moved minutely and it was picked up on camera, and the player plays the shot, we're not going to say, "Well the ball moved and it should have been a one-stroke penalty, and you didn't replace it, so now it's a two stroke penalty." And furthermore, if it goes all the way in and the player signs the scorecard, not only is he or she not going to be penalized, but they are not going to be disqualified. We just feel the rules never contemplated that, and it's the right thing for the game. If you couldn't see it with your naked eye, how much did it really compromise the other 155-some players in the field?
That last question is a fascinating one in that I'm pretty sure Craig Stadler putting a towel down to save his pants did not compromise the field, nor did Robert diVicenzo's incorrect scorecoard or any other host of famous rules situations.
I'd be curious what the rules aficionados out there think of this last rhetorical question by Davis?
Son of the Bronx continues to post ratings for cable channels and while Golf Channel was up nicely again this week over last year, you have to wonder if they wouldn't be doing better just showing international golf, reality shows, Tin Cup re-airings and special programming instead of the ratings wet suit that is the PGA Tour.
The final round of the OHL Classic from Mayacoba, Mexico, with ResetCup points on the line, a Masters berth and PGA Tour immortality for winner Harris English, had 116,000 viewers for its Sunday final round. That put it 6th for the week, behind the European Tour's final round (.1, 127k viewers), a Monday movie airing, the Saturday telecast from Mayakoba and of course, the week's top show, Big Break XX: NFL. (A rerun of Big Break on Tuesday of the previous week's episode proved to be the 14th most watched show, drawing 86,000.)
The Australian Masters final round, airing on the bottom basement of Saturday night in America from 9:30-1:30 am ET drew 92,000 viewers despite minimal promotion, no pre-game show but admittedly, a far more attractive product with Royal Melbourne, Adam Scott, Vijay Singh and Matt Kuchar as the protagonists. The Thursday night telecast (Round 2, drew 99,000 viewers.
I know most of you have taped this segment, relived it over and over again and bookmarked it, but just in case here is Morning Drive from November 21 with Gary Williams and Paige Mackenzie talking about the first, third and eleventh of the Royal Melbourne composite course in use for the World Cup this week.
Thanks to reader Chip for sending this Jay Yarow post about going to Nike’s Tiger Woods building and taking this photo of the recruiting letter Stanford's Wally Goodwin sent to Tiger.
As Yarrow notes:
"The funny thing about the letter is that the coach says Stanford emphasizes "verbal" scores from the SAT. We've always thought of Stanford as a math-oriented school, but what do we know?"
Alarming stuff from Connecticut courtesy of reader DGS.
Kelly Glista's Hartford Courant story says Back9Network--a fledgling online-only golf television network--posted an inappropriate video to their website that has since been removed. But the video isn't the alarming part. Not that it sounds like it would have been up for an Emmy, what with the wife of the CEO, Jennifer Bosworth, doing male advice with sexually explicit content and fat jokes and some truly wretched material. (I've posted it below...I may never make fun of the Big Break ever again. Well, at least for the rest of 2013).
Anyway, the really horrifying part? Back9 has received over $5 million in state developmental funds from Connecticut.
"We are evaluating our internal approval process to ensure this does not happen again and apologize to those who viewed it and were offended by it," the Back9 statement said. "It is not indicative of the Back9Network brand and quality of content we are creating for our target golf lifestyle audience."
Back9Network launched in July 2012, and has since developed a $1.3 million headquarters in Hartford's Phoenix Building at One American Row.
According to the state's transparency website, Back9Network has received a total of $5,450,000 in loans and grants from the Department of Economic and Community Development in the last two fiscal years.
A DECD statement issued Wednesday said: "It's appropriate that Back9 has apologized — the content in question was inappropriate and offensive. We hope and expect they will hold themselves to a higher standard in the future."
To think this was the cleaner content courtesy of Woven and from the CEO's wife. The Back9 YouTube page does not include the content. Pure class.
Morning Drive's Gary Williams ably oversaw a long interview by modern television standards, quizzing Ron Sirak, former USGA Executive Director David Fay and yours truly on the attempted USGA coup by outgoing president Glen Nager.
You can watch the video here or below:
**Thanks to Luke Kerr-Dineen for saving and Tweeting my second water ball on the 17th at TPC Sawgrass, part of Morning Drive's closing segment simulator fun. I eventually found dry land with Charlie Rymer's beloved 8-iron. Mssrs. Fay and Sirak claimed prior engagements.
One odd omission from the USGA's 2013 U.S. Open merchandise center: a poster of Hy Peskin's iconic image of Ben Hogan at Merion. While it was on the program cover, the shot was not for sale at the very place the image was captured. Many aspiring golfers have had a version of it on their walls and now that photo, along with 1700 others, become part of the USGA's collection and also available for purchase.
For Immediate Release:
USGA ACQUIRES RIGHTS TO HY PESKIN GOLF PHOTO COLLECTION
USGA Museum to curate and preserve archive of 1,700 images
FAR HILLS, N.J. (Nov. 21, 2013) – The United States Golf Association (USGA) today announced that it has reached a long-term agreement with the family of celebrated sports photographer Hy Peskin for the USGA Museum to maintain the archive of Peskin’s 1,700 innovative and historic golf images.
Peskin, who died in 2005 at age 89, was the first staff photographer for Sports Illustrated. Peskin was known for his pioneering style and his ability to select angles that offered fresh perspectives of the action on the course.
“Hy Peskin was a pioneer in sports photography who documented some of the greatest moments in the history of golf,” said Robert Williams, director of the USGA Museum. “We are excited to have the opportunity to be the caretakers of his collection. His legacy lives on in every frame and we will preserve his body of work for future generations to appreciate.”
As part of the collection, the USGA obtains the rights to one of golf’s iconic images: Ben Hogan’s 1-iron approach shot on the 72nd hole of the 1950 U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa.
Positioned behind Hogan in the fairway, Peskin captured the follow-through of the swing that led to a par that forced an 18-hole playoff, in which Hogan defeated Lloyd Mangrum and George Fazio for the second of his four U.S. Open titles. The triumph came just 16 months after a bus struck the car in which Hogan and his wife, Valerie, were traveling. After the accident, doctors doubted that Hogan would ever walk again, much less play professional golf.
“It has always been important to our family that Hy’s work find a place to be revered,” said Preston Reynolds, son of Hy Peskin and Adriana Peskin-Reynolds. “We're very excited to be partnering with the USGA and we believe that this great organization provides an opportunity for a great man to be remembered and for the golf community to preserve an important piece of the sport’s history. We’re very proud.”
Peskin’s golf images can be licensed for editorial and commercial purposes via the USGA’s photo archive at http://photocollection.usga.org. The 1-iron image can now be purchased through the USGA Museum’s Photo Store at http://photos.usgamuseum.com/
Fresh off Brandel Chamblee's now infamous "F" for Tiger, I sense a kinder, gentler Brandel in one of his final golf.com/Golf Magazine appearances, even though I can only go so far in one of these insulting hits-gathering slideshows.
Even Rory McIlroy, who called Brandel out in utterly absurd fashion during the Tiger showdown, got an underserving pass on his dishonest Honda Classic WD.
I'm giving Rory McIlroy a pass, but it is curious that the "toothache" that forced him from the Honda Classic came when he was 7-over and had just dunked one. (Hey, golf can make even the best players reach for the laughing gas.)
You Golf Channel Morning Drive watchers have been warned: I'll be on the second hour of the show airing live at 7 am ET and (I think) re-airing at 9 am ET (check those dreaded local listings.)
The opening hour will include Gary Williams interviewing Ron Sirak about the latest Golf Digest story on the USGA.
In hour two, Williams, Sirak, former USGA Executive Director David Fay and yours truly will be discussing the state of the USGA.
After that, the plan calls for a segment discussing Royal Melbourne's best holes and its amazing bunkers. So tune in!
Another impressive re-signing by the PGA Tour, inking Sony to sponsorship of the Honolulu stop through 2018 even though there have been rumors for some time that Sony was lukewarm about continuing on. Instead, they have locked in to Hawaii for another four years.
For Immediate Release:
PGA TOUR and Sony Corporation Extends Sponsorship of Sony Open in Hawaii through 2018
4-year extension will bring Sony’s commitment to 20th year with PGA TOUR tournament
HONOLULU, Hawaii (November 20, 2013) – Sony Corporation, the PGA TOUR and tournament host organization Friends of Hawaii Charities today announced a four-year title sponsorship renewal of the Sony Open in Hawaii. The new agreement takes effect following the 2014 tournament at Waialae Country Club and extends Sony’s commitment through 2018, the 20th anniversary of its sponsorship.
“Sony Corporation has been a fixture with the tournament since first becoming involved in 1999, making it one of our longest continuous tournament sponsors on TOUR,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem. “In addition to supporting the charitable initiatives of the Friends of Hawaii, Sony has actively showcased its new products and technology at the tournament, uniquely adding to the fan experience. We are delighted that Sony will continue these efforts through this new four-year commitment.”
The 2014 Sony Open in Hawaii will be held January 9-12 and will be televised on Golf Channel from 2 p.m.-5:30 p.m. local time (7 p.m.-10:30 p.m. ET) on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and from 2 p.m.-5 p.m. (7 p.m.-10 p.m. ET) on Sunday.
Sony is among the five longest-running tournament sponsors on the PGA TOUR. The tournament, which has always been held at Waialae Country Club, dates back to 1965. Since its inception, the Sony Open in Hawaii has generated more than $13 million for local charities.
“The extension of Sony Corporation’s sponsorship of the Sony Open in Hawaii is exciting for Hawaii’s not-for-profit and tourism sectors, as well as the many community constituencies that receive benefit,” said Corbett Kalama, President, Friends of Hawaii Charities. “The blessing of financial resources to Hawaii charities is once again doubled by a tandem commitment from Sony Open charity partner, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Inc.
“Additionally, valuable support from the State of Hawaii and Hawaii Tourism Authority leverages hours of Sony Open live television coverage,” Kalama continued. “This Sony Open showcase of our beautiful island home reaches a massive global audience each January, providing valuable top-of-mind promotional benefit for Hawaii's tourism industry. Together, these valuable partnerships enable Friends of Hawaii Charities to distribute $1 million to Hawaii-based, not-for-profit grant recipient projects.”
The defending champion is Russell Henley, who won in his first tournament as a member of the PGA TOUR.
Doug Ferguson's account of 16-year-old Lydia Ko's first press conference--interrupted more than intermittently by the LPGA's Kraig Kann and aired on live on Golf Channel--included this about where the LPGA Tour's next big star is looking to reside.
Just her luck, she met one of her favorite players, Phil Mickelson, while in San Diego to test equipment.
''We're looking Florida and Texas and a couple other places there's no income tax,'' Ko said. ''Phil mentioned that one of the biggest mistakes was staying after college where the taxes are quite high. So I'm trying to stay in a low place. I don't have any money yet.''
Mickelson, you may recall, publicly took issue with California income taxes and later apologized for making a public issue of the high rates.
Steve DiMeglio does a nice job setting up Ko's debut Thursday.
The Big Lead's Jason McIntyre reported on Twitter that Fox Sports has hired producer Mark Loomis away from MLB Network to helm the network's USGA coverage beginning in 2015.
[1of2] Media Moves: Fox Sports has stolen Mark Loomis from MLB Network. Loomis was #2 or #3 (depending whom you talk to) at MLB Network— Jason McIntyre (@jasonrmcintyre) November 19, 2013
[2of2] Word on the street is Loomis will head to Fox Sports to lead their US Open (golf) coverage.— Jason McIntyre (@jasonrmcintyre) November 19, 2013
Loomis helmed ABC's golf coverage during the Tirico-Azinger-Faldo years and more recently started ESPN's coverage of The Open Championship. A single-handicap golfer who grew up playing Winged Foot, Loomis widely respected in the television industry with both on and off-camera people. Considering Fox's inexperience in televising golf, and the pressure to be "fresh and innovative," a Loomis hire would provide a much-needed credibility injection for both Fox and their new partners in Far Hills.
Personally, the ABC years under Loomis were my favorite in golf television thanks in large part to their announce team and Loomis' love for the game shining through. A super hire and according to one television insider who knew some of the candidates in question, Loomis is the only producer available with the resume and industry credibility to assure all involved that Fox will be able to pull of the complicated task of starting a golf crew from scratch.
Fox Sports has made no announcement and has not commented on anything beyond acquiring the rights to the USGA contract.
Okay, at least the irrigation system is, anyway. Let's hope Captain Phillips is manning the ship.
Ian Ransom sat through Commissioner Tim Finchem's World Cup update on the Rio course under construction by Gil Hanse. Finchem gave a "reasonably good" for the course progress, which, in Finchemspeak, means it's not-as-far-along-as-it-should-be-but-I-don't-want-to-upset-the-IOC-yet.
"I was told yesterday that the irrigation system for the golf course had been boarded on a ship in Los Angeles that was headed for the Panama Canal," Finchem told reporters at Royal Melbourne golf club in the leadup to the World Cup of Golf.
"So, hooray, we will now have some water on the property.
"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.
"But I am going to go down here in spring and look at it."
The governing bodies are receiving nearly universal praise for closing a loophole to HD armchair rulings, and while I see what factors have some celebrating Decision 18-4, the blogger in me says this creates more problems than it solves. Having seen technology repeatedly fly over golf cognoscenti's heads, I'm not sure this is going to work out as hoped.
First, the praise.
James Corrigan in the Telegraph says this a step forward in eliminating phone-in rulings but that it "stopped short of ridding the game of these vigilantes all together."
The USGA's Thomas Pagel, quoted in several stories on the announcement, would not say if Tiger Woods's oscillate-gate this August might have ended differently with this decision in play, Corrigan reports that the R&A's David Rickman was willing to agree Woods would have escaped penalty. Which, considering the evidence, would have not been a satisfying conclusion to most golfers.
Here is Pagel talking about the Woods/BMW situation, quoted in Alistair Tait's Golfweek assessment.
“In that situation the only question that was asked was, Did the ball move? And the ball did move. That’s why the ruling was handed down the way it was,” said Thomas Pagel, the USGA’s senior director of the Rules of Golf.
“It’s difficult to go back and speculate what the ruling would be because we have a new set of criteria and it’s difficult to test that criteria against an old set of facts,” Pagel said. “If there’s some compelling evidence that the player truly believed that the ball was back in its original location, then the committee would want to consider that.”
Ewan Murray notes that this "Decision" was in the works for some time, long before the Woods incident this summer.
Privately, the R&A points out this change has been in the offing for 18 months and was set in stone before the Woods controversy. Golf's rulemakers are also not of a mind to halt the ability of television viewers to report possible breaches, as this has proved a help at times.
ESPN.com's Bob Harig assesses the situation and says in hindsight, Woods would have been exonerated if the new Decision were in play. And the PGA Tour issued this statement:
"The PGA Tour is pleased that the USGA and R&A continue to focus on the important issue of the effect of television evidence on the Rules of Golf, and we continue to work on additional projects with the governing bodies in this area," PGA Tour executive vice president Ty Votaw said in a statement.
Interestingly, PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem has very wisely accepted the status quo on armchair rulings because he's thought through the ramifications should video be taken out of the equation. Finchem knows that opening his players to accusations of getting-away-with-a-crime results in those players possibly having their reputations tarred permanently. In today's era of GIF's, YouTube, and other technologies allowing fans to see a potential violation over and over again, leaving the call up to the player seems irresponsible and frankly, lazy.
Jason Sobel notes this in his guarded assessment of Decision 18-4.
Even though Woods would not have been assessed a penalty at the BMW under the current policy, it calls into question a player’s motives. Yes, golf is a game of honor and we’d all like to believe that no competitor would attempt to circumvent the rules. But in the future, if a video replay shows a ball moved and the player maintains that he honestly, sincerely didn’t see it happen, the resulting collateral damage could be worse than impugning a scorecard, ultimately placing his reputation at stake.
In general, the leaders of golf have been slow to understand the power of social media and other digital communications. The more widespread these technologies have become, the more users are able to access viral photos or videos. If the Woods situation arose post-January 1, 2014 when Decision 18-4 takes effect and it was his word versus the video, the new decision would have put Slugger White in the position of having to accept Woods' view that the ball had not moved.
However, if the general public's reaction to seeing the video was as one-sided as we saw in the wake of the BMW incident, Woods would take a much bigger credibility hit since his "naked eye" assessment didn't match what the pictures told us. As Sobel notes, the collateral damage of a player having gotten away with a violation may prove far more toxic for the player's reputation than anything we've seen to date in the wacky world of armchair rulings.
Dennis Pasa says this week's World Cup at Royal Melbourne offers a "glimpse of what to expect when golf returns to the Olympics at Rio de Janeiro in 2016." Until it doesn't. Which Pasa points out.
First, there is the Britain/Ireland mess in 2016 that the PGA Tour's common sense deals with. Take note IOC and friends.
At the Olympics, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland compete as Britain. But at the World Cup, England, Scotland and Wales will compete as separate countries. To muddy the waters a bit more at the World Cup, the tradition is for Ireland and Northern Ireland to compete as Ireland. McIlroy is not competing at Royal Melbourne this week, and is confident he still retains the selection choice for the Olympics.
As for the format...it's almost Olympic-like.
Players in the top 15 on the Official World Golf Ranking gain access to the World Cup, with the exception that there will be no more than four players for any country. After the top 15, up to two players are allowed per country until the field of about 60 is filled.
It's still largely an individual event even though the old World Cup was more about the team. I say, we'll live. We get another week of great players at Royal Melbourne and the Olympic format is a lost cause anyway! You can follow the action online here at the PGA Tour's World Cup page. In the USA, coverage starts Wednesday night on Golf Channel at 9 pm ET.