WADA Kills Rumors Of Positive Drug Test At The Ryder Cup

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Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch reports on the red-hot rumor mill that had players gossiping in recent weeks about a positive test result at the Ryder Cup. Lynch explains on the surprise (Bonjour!) test administered at the team hotels by France’s AFLD, still smarting from the Tour de France issues over the years.

Good news, everyone passed!

“All the results are in and there were no positive tests,” said Maggie Durand, a spokeswoman for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), to which the French AFLD affiliate reported its findings. When asked about the method of testing, WADA confirmed it was urinalysis. And about the players tested?

In the event of a negative test, public disclosure is up to the athlete, WADA echoed.

But drug testing is golf’s third rail that no one wants to touch. That was apparent when I asked managers for every Ryder Cupper if their man had been tested. Even a clean slate of negative results didn’t encourage transparency among the tested.

But it was interesting to see who responded to Lynch about even being tested at all.

In the end, managers for just four of the 24 Ryder Cup players were willing to directly address the events of that Tuesday evening in Paris. Representatives for Tommy Fleetwood and Thorbjorn Olesen said that neither had been asked for a sample. Agents for Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter confirmed they were among the eight men tested.

Who Needs A Pro Jock? Vice Captain's Westwood, Kuchar Return To Winner's Circle

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It was a big weekend for 2018 Ryder Cup VC’s who put away their driving gloves and rode the classic Cup boost to victories. I’m not sure which is more meaningful—Lee Westwood at the Nedbank or Matt Kuchar at Mayakoba—both both pulled off their feats without full-time pro jocks.

Alistair Tait for Golfweek on Westwood’s win in a strange year for the Englishman. As for the effort of girlfriend Helen Storey...

“It was great to do it with Helen,” he said. “She’s caddied twice for me this year, and we lost in a playoff in Denmark and we’ve won here.”

The winning couple:

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Winning in style 💑🏆 #NC2018 #RolexSeries

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Meanwhile in Mexico, Matt Kuchar added the event late, gave regular bagman John Wood the week off due to his own schedule conflict, and won on the PGA Tour for the first time in over four years.

On the bag for Kuchar? Local looper “El Tucan.”

Josh Berhow with the story for Golf.com on the Kuchar mystery man who kept the bagstrap warm and the good reads coming in Wood’s place. Kuchar next tees up at the World Cup of Golf, presumably with his regular looper.

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Kuch and El Tucan, what a team. 🏆

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American Golf Sounds More Interested In Golf Shacks Than Courses

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Keith Carter files a fascinating read for futurists and those interested golf business looking at American Golf’s investors putting a focus on Drive Shack, a Top Golf competitor.

Besides the obvious effort by Newcastle Investments to cover its bets, some of the quotes in Carter’s story suggest very little bullishness on the future of golf compared to entertainment-driven ranges. While American Golf has been downsized, spliced and diced from its former standing as the world’s largest course operator, the new direction is still an eye-opener.

Commish Claims Improved Fall Fields About Players Trying To Not Fall Behind In FedExCup

Now, I’ve scanned Google News for players mentions of accruing FedExCup points as their motivation to play this fall and haven’t found one yet. Still, Commissioner Jay Monahan says the appearances by some big names this fall is all about FedExCup points positioning. From Rex Hoggard’s GolfChannel.com story:

“You are seeing right now at the first part of the season more top players playing and trying to get themselves in position as we flip the switch and get into the new year,” Monahan told GolfChannel.com. “It’s important not to be too far behind and to be in a solid position for the FedExCup.”

It’s important, but not nearly as important as getting into majors or winning them.

“Given where we are now with the significance of the FedExCup and now the Wyndham Rewards Top 10 and a shorter season with fewer at-bats in the playoffs, the significance of these fall events has grown. The support they get from the markets they play in and the sponsors has grown and they are as critical a part of the season as any,” Monahan said.

Hard sell alert!

Golf is still about the majors and for viewers, sponsors and players, January-July. So while the Wyndham Rewards could be the real reason Jordan Spieth is playing in Mexico this week, they likely are not given that he heard from his buddies what a great event the Mayakoba Classic is (as the story notes).

There is one disconcerting takeaway from Hoggard’s story: increased fall starts may be a response to the crowded 2019 schedule and the expected need to drop starts to deal with a compacted schedule.

Monahan concedes that the flow of the new schedule will likely create an extended learning curve for players who must now find places to take breaks in order to play their best when it matters the most at the majors. One of the likely ways players will do that is to add to their fall schedules.

So stars may subtract a stop or two during the bread and butter portion of the season when the most eyeballs are on the sport. Something to remember when the old Bob Hope Classic can’t get a sponsor or events like Bay Hill struggle to draw a star-studded field.

To put it another way, selling FedExCup sounds more important to the PGA Tour than the individual tournaments doing the heavy lifting and charitable contributions. Some events will benefit from the schedule change and shifting dynamics, but by touting the potential trimming of field quality in the prime winter/spring season to prop up the fall, the tour risks chipping away at the “product” presented when the most eyeballs are watching: the West Coast and Florida Swings.

Saudi Arabia: Tiger Turns Down Massive Overseas Appearance Fee

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A much deserved narrative is forming as Tiger Woods reportedly joins Roger Federer in passing on a huge Saudi Arabia appearance fee, reports the Telegraph’s James Corrigan. The inaugural European Tour event, already on the ropes even before Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, is to be played Jan 31-February 3rd, the week after the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.

Yet it is understood he deemed Saudi Arabia to be an excursion too far - even for at least £2.5m - an amount that apparently dwarfs anything he has received before for an official overseas tournament.

Sources say he was first approached in the summer, after his dramatic competitive resurrection at the Open, where he led going into the last nine before finishing sixth, and then at the USPGA Championship, where he finished second.

By then the Kingdom had already signed up Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed and Paul Casey to play in the government-sponsored event, which has become even more controversial since last month's pre-meditated killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Arabia Embassy in Istanbul.

The Match To Feature "Predictive Data" And "Side Challenges" For Charity, Live Drone Coverage Too

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I’m less excited about predictive data stuff since I actually know that golf is totally unpredictable, but also because the limited galleries and two-player format will incorporate live drones into the visuals. Woohoo! Finally! (Fox tried a few years ago at Chambers Bay but the technology has improved.)

As for the hole-by-hole lines and gaming elements, those are only as fun as the cleverness of the “props”—will Tiger twirl the club after his drive—and the ability to join to contribute to the MGM bottom line.

The side challenges component will all come down to the players and what they are able to pull off on the spot, but certainly seem interesting.

For Immediate Release:

Turner Sports’ Presentation of Capital One’s The Match: Tiger vs. Phil

PPV Event – Friday, Nov. 23, at 3 p.m. ET – to Incorporate
First-of-its-Kind Innovations for Live Golf

PPV Broadcast to Include First-Ever Use of Predictive Data for Each Hole;
In Addition to Proprietary Data Stream Provided by MGM Resorts Race & Sports Books

Live Drone Coverage Presented by AT&T & Unprecedented Access to Woods & Mickelson Among Innovative Technologies Bringing Viewers Inside the High-Stakes $9 Million Match Play Competition

Turner Sports’ exclusive coverage of Capital One’s The Match: Tiger vs. Phil, the blockbuster pay-per-view event featuring the iconic Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, will incorporate a number of innovative concepts into the live golf presentation including first-of-its-kind integrations centered on predictive data. The match will take place Friday, Nov. 23, at Noon PT / 3 p.m. ET with a suggested retail price of $19.99.

The broadcast will include real-time, hole-by-hole statistics that will be displayed on screen to forecast the probability of certain outcomes during the match.  The data is based on a model and algorithm that combines ShotLink Intelligence with characteristics of Shadow Creek to calculate the likelihood of various scenarios to occur. Separately, after a hole has concluded, the broadcast will integrate a proprietary data stream provided by the MGM Resorts Race & Sports Books – in association with the MGM/GVC Interactive Gaming Joint Venture – to deliver odds, moneyline and other information associated with the golfers’ performance. 

Both Woods and Mickelson will selectively make side challenges against one another during the live competition.  For instance, Woods or Mickelson could raise the stakes by challenging the other to get closest-to-the-pin; whether one of them can make a crucial putt from 10-feet away; the chances of getting “up-and-down” from a certain location on the course or similar competition during a hole as they play their match, with money being donated to the winning golfer’s charity of choice.

Live PPV coverage will also integrate enhancements that will provide fans with unprecedented access to Woods, Mickelson and Shadow Creek including:

  • Woods and Mickelson, along with their caddies, mic’d throughout the entire event, to capture the strategy and competitive banter that takes place during the winner-take-all $9 million match play competition; 

  • Live state-of-the-art drone coverage – “Drone View by AT&T” – delivering camera angles that have never been seen before for a live golf event;

  • Data elements from Toptracer, presented by Capital One, that will display real-time trajectories and flight path for each shot;

  • The use of Virtual Eye real-time golf animations;

  • A variety of super slo-mo cameras to provide more defined coverage of specialty shots on the course.

As previously announced, Capital One’s The Match: Tiger vs. Phil will be available on PPV through Turner’s B/R Live (available now for purchase), AT&T’s DIRECTV and AT&T U-verse.  The PPV event will be distributed to other cable, satellite and telco operators including Comcast, Charter, Cox, Verizon and Altice in the U.S. and Rogers, Shaw and Bell in Canada through In Demand and Vubiquity (an Amdocs Company). AT&T is the official 4K sponsor of The Match, which will also be broadcast in 4K High Dynamic Range (HDR) on DIRECTV channel 106 for $29.99*.  Turner International will facilitate the distribution of live PPV access outside the U.S. and Canada. 

In addition to live pay-per-view event coverage, accompanying content will be distributed across wide-ranging Turner, WarnerMedia and AT&T platforms including: 

  • HBO Sports and its groundbreaking 18-time Sports Emmy ® Award-winning 24/7 reality franchise will capture all the excitement leading up to the match when it airs Tuesday, Nov. 13, at 10 p.m.;

  • Bleacher Report and its wildly-popular House of Highlights, which recently surpassed 10 million followers on Instagram, will offer comprehensive highlights and behind-the-scenes content;

  • Turner’s TNT will also televise programming with select content from the event a week following the live competition. 

The media rights agreement with Turner was completed in partnership between CAA Sports, Excel Sports Management and Lagardère Sports. Excel and Lagardère Sports, who represent Woods and Mickelson respectively, are also the event organizers for The Match

There is also a new trailer featuring people when their forces were higher, more nasal infused and so, so young:

Wynn To Resurrect Closed Course On Site Of Resurrected Desert Inn Layout

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The Strip’s historic Desert Inn course, rebuilt by Steve Wynn and then closed, is going to get new life after Wynn Resorts decided to abandon an ambitious expansion project. Oh, and they found out golfers were taking their money elsewhere.

From Richard Velotta’s Las Vegas Review Journal report:

Company executives discovered that removing the golf course resulted in some loyal customers going elsewhere. Maddox estimated the company lost $10 million to $15 million of domestic casino business from people coming in for golf trips who decided to go elsewhere.

What Could Go Wrong? Sometimes World No. 1 Rose To Make Big Leap To Honma

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It’s always strange to see a player with all cylinders firing making a big equipment move. But that’s what Justin Rose has planned at years end, reports Golf’s Jonathan Wall, who says if Rose regains No. 1 status he’ll be the first top players since Rory McIlroy in 2013 to make such a move.

Two elements of Wall’s reporting are of interest, starting with Taylor Made’s apparently focus on fewer players under new owner KPS Capital Partners.

Assuming Rose is no longer in the picture, TaylorMade’s Tour staff for 2019 would consist of Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Jason Day and Tiger Woods, who are all currently ranked inside the top 13 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

Then there is Honma, known as a maker of high-end and high-priced equipment now run by former Taylor Made CEO Mark King. It sounds like Rose has wisely reserved the right to not jump into their unproven-at-the-highest-level woods.

It’s been reported that Rose’s deal with Honma would require him to play the brand’s irons and wedges but allow him to continue using TaylorMade woods. It’s unclear if he’d continue using a TaylorMade golf ball or switch to a Honma model.

"What is the PGA of America trying to hide?"

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That’s the question Alex Miceli asks at MorningRead.com on the eve of Suzy Whaley’s expected election to the PGA of America Presidency. She will be the organization’s first female president. Yet at the PGA’s annual meeting in Palm Springs, media has been denied access despite requests to attend.

Miceli shares the PGA’s statement explaining why they are not welcoming coverage and then asks:

What is the PGA of America trying to hide?

During the past year, Morning Read has written about issues concerning the PGA’s outgoing president, Paul Levy (“PGA applies double standard in Levy case,” June 17). We also have written about PGA members’ concerns and questions about the board’s actions involving Levy before and during his presidency (“L.A. pro to PGA: Clean up Levy mess,” Aug. 2).

The issue was the same for those members as it is today: transparency.

Being transparent and being well-informed work in tandem. Open access to information allows voters, shareholders or members the best opportunity to make educated decisions.

The organization has had a dreadful year on the governance front, with current president Paul Levy arrested for driving under the influence and the organization resisting membership requests for transparency on Levy’s status.

Levy continues to helm PGA events to the very end according to the organization’s Facebook page.

Champ's Cracked Driver Prompted New Testing That Gained Him More Yardage

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Let’s be clear: most of Cameron Champ’s unprecedented driving distances that have led to a quick rise come from technique, strength and modern equipment.

Still, given that the USGA and R&A once loathed the idea of a player picking up an advantage through a simple equipment change, Champ and PING’s tour team offer another reminder at how sophisticated club fitting has gotten for even a player seemingly maxed out distance-wise.

From David Dusek’s Golfweek story after Champ cracked his driver on the eve of finishing off the Sanderson Farms:

On Monday before the Shiners Hospitals for Children Open, Pena built Champ a new gamer driver using the same components as in the driver that broke. However, Champ said he wanted to make the same swing but launch the ball slightly higher. To do that, Pena would need to add loft, which would also increase spin and reduce distance. Instead, Pena made some drivers with counterbalanced shafts that allowed him to make Champ a head with a heaver back weight. That increased the dynamic loft at impact.

Champ’s typical drive had been launching at 7 degrees with about 2,700 rpm of backspin, creating a carry distance of about 325 yards. Using the new shaft in his G400 Max, a prototype Accra TZT 265 M5, he started hitting the ball even farther.

“The first he hit launched at 9 degrees, carried 15 yards farther and the ball speed was almost 198 mph,” Pena said, laughing. “We looked at each other and said to ourselves, ‘What the heck did we just do?’”

Champ led the field with a 353.2 yard average on the measuring holes.

Yes, he got longer after losing his gamer and getting fit for a new one.

Divisor Will Push Koepka Back To World No. 1, Week After Rose Goes Back In Top Spot

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G.C. Digital reports on the fine calculations by Golf Channel’s Alan Robison suggesting Brooks Koepka will again take the World No. 1 mantle from Justin Rose, just days after Rose reclaimed the throne (and hopefully assorted bonuses).

The 38-year-old Englishman returned to No. 1 in the world – a position he first assumed at the BMW Championship in early September – after his playoff victory Sunday at the Turkish Airlines Open. That moved him just .05 points clear of Koepka.   

Koepka’s divisor dropped from 45 to 44 in the two-year OWGR calendar, resulting in his average points rising.

After this week, Koepka will have 10.32 average points to Rose's 10.16.

Might this be a good time to agree to ignoring World No. 1 status for a while? When divisors dictate positioning to this supposedly meaningful throne even as the players in question are sitting at home seems like a solid reason to focus on more important areas?

Miami Voters Pretty Much Deciding On Fate Of Lone Muni, First Tee Facility

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David Beckham wants a mall, hotel and 25,000 soccer stadium in Miami and Melreese GC is the unfortunate location he’s chosen. The City is on board and with the passage of a referendum can grant approval without the usual bidding process.

This unbylined Goal.com story gives a nice summary. The Miami Herald has a more detailed breakdown.

Brian Wacker of GolfDigest.com has the golf angle, including the history of a course that has helped produce Cristie Kerr and Erik Compton (who recently appeared on Morning Drive to talk about the course and battle).

The course, Miami’s only city course, houses The First Tee as well.

First Tee board member Carlos Rodriguez talked to Morning Drive’s Lauren Thompson about the the fight and to save the Melreese and the potential loss of the program’s Miami base.

Cinderella Story: Parel With Legit Shot At $1 Million Schwab Cup

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If he doesn’t win the Schwab Cup Championship in Phoenix this week, Scott Parel will need some help from Bernhard Langer and others to claim the $1 million prize. Still it’s been a while since the PGA Tour Champions has seen someone who played so little PGA Tour golf (five starts at age 38) turn into a leader money winner and potential Schwab Cup champ.

Eamon Lynch of Golfweek with Parel’s surprise rise from the Monday qualifying ranks, including this:

Parel didn’t even join the paid ranks until he was 31 years old, after a decade in the IT industry. He made just five career starts on the PGA Tour, and it wasn’t until 2003, when he was 38, that he secured Web.com Tour status. He made 18 starts that year and earned $3,344. His lone win came in 2013. By then he was 48 and turning his attention to the over-50s circuit.

With no playing privileges, Parel had to rely on Monday qualifiers, a system that offers odds only slightly better than a Mega Millions lottery drawing. He made it through eight times that first season but remained realistic.

ShotLink: Strokes Gained Says Bryson Won This Time (Really) Relying On Ballstriking

While his eagle putt from off the 16th green created the buzz (above), Bryson DeChambeau’s fifth PGA Tour win and fourth in the last five months was marked by an incredible ballstriking performance. Imagine how good he’ll be with a flagstick in the hole to help him make more putts.

From the ShotLink crew:

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It’s pretty unusual to see a putting performance that mediocre win a PGA Tour event.

Also note in his five wins how he’s improved in ballstriking versus the field in each victory:

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Poll: Will Leaving Flagsticks In The Cup Become A Thing In Pro Golf?

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I’m still fascinated by the Golf.com exclusive reporting that Bryson DeChambeau’s plans to start leaving the flagstick in for most putts when the 2019 Rules of Golf kick in.

Given that he just won his fourth tournament in five starts, DeChambeau’s methodology and madness is bound to have some copycats if he proves it to be a useful way to putt.

But some have predicted it will be a visual mess for pro golf, as Hank Haney did. He sees the USGA and R&A having to back off the rule, or face PGA Tour intervention of some kind in the form of a local rule.

I certainly can see where the sight of some players wanting the flag tended and others leaving it in could turn greens into a weird game of Twister as caddies navigate through lines and wait to hear from the player if they want the stick in or out.

There will also be others who test things out with regulation flags in the green and undoubtedly many opinions what works. The Forecaddie has info on the actual PGA Tour stock flagstick, in case you have COR testing to do.

The Golf.com gang batted around the flagstick matter too and scores some points worthy of consideration. This from Luke Kerr-Dineen was spot on:

Kerr-Dineen: If the anchor ban provides the precedent, we can deduce that golf’s rules are decided — at least in part — by how the powers that be want the game to look. It’s not something that’s specific to golf. The NFL is a classic example of legislating the game in a way that makes it more marketable. If the bosses upstairs see Bryson putting with the flagstick in and don’t love the look of it, don’t be surprised to see them “revisit” this rule.

Personally, I can’t comprehend the advantage being worth the visual distraction that is so different from what players are used to. But I also can’t fathom anchoring a putter

This trend could go a few ways and I’d would love to hear what you think. I voted for the top one. Especially if Dave Pelz or others do more testing with putts and see no harm in the practice.

What will happen in 2019 with flagsticks and putting?
pollcode.com free polls

Europe Explores Colosseum Ryder Cup Opening In 2022, But Will There Be A Decent Course To Play?

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Rex Hoggard talks to European Tour Chief Keith Pelley, who says the 2022 Ryder Cup is very much headed to Italy despite no shortage of reports about ongoing instability that jeopardizes government assistance of the Cup. And Pelley teased a potentially big opening ceremony location.

“I’ve said all along the Ryder Cup in 2022 is going to Italy,” said Pelley, who added that the tour’s Ryder Cup support team is in Italy this week meeting with local officials. “Italy in 2022 is a story that people talk about but we had conversations this week about the opening ceremony being in the Colosseum. These are serious conversations with Italian decision makers and officials.”

Hoggard notes that Marco Simone, the host course, is of even greater concern, with Pelley conceding it is behind schedule.

Much of the concern over Italy as the ’22 host has been focused on the course, Marco Simone, which Pelley described as a “construction zone.”

A recent press release suggested a vast construction undertaking underway.

But a reader played there two weeks ago, shared photos of a course not under construction and offered this assessment:

Played it at €90 for the day. Terrible course on an awkward piece of land (hilly) with a clay - read mud - soil base. A real stretch to see a RC here. Kicker is apparently - according to the member I played with - that the massive overhead power lines which blot the landscape are to be relayed underground - a project in itself. I’m no expert, but with less than 4 years to “balls in the air” it seems a real stretch to imagine the event there - unlike other Euro venues which had been there for years and needed a bit of tweaking. Basically a total reconstruction is required - incl the clubhouse IMHO, but is there time ? 

Two new holes are under construction at least. And the Colosseum could have lights and proper presenters in 2022!

The LPGA Has Had Better Q-Schools...

I’m not sure why the concept of Q-School has drifted so far. At one times tours had a season-ending tournament where players shooting the lowest score got a card for the following year. Sometimes it took a few stages and some terrible stress to get there, but it all worked pretty well.

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We know by now how the PGA Tour has turned their legendary Q-School into a Web.com Tour field filler, and this year it was the LPGA Tour’s turn to make everyone scratch their heads with exemptions for college players.

Seven of the eight amateurs who qualified for the eight-round finals earned full status for 2019, meaning they will skip the spring. With the top five women in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings given an opportunity, their likely imminent departures will be a tough blow for college golf and not necessarily the way to run a Q-School. At least one player—naturally a Bruin—was not comfortable with the effort to expedite pro careers.

From Beth Ann Nichols’ report for Golfweek:

“You’re kind of making the decision for them,” said Kristy McPherson, a South Carolina grad and LPGA veteran who earned back her card at this week’s Q-Series.

UCLA’s Patty Tavatanakit (above) was in the running for College Player of the Year last year as a freshman. She actually hesitated in coming to Pinehurst at all for Q-Series.

“My heart and soul was not in this tournament,” said Tavatanakit, who told her dad as much after the third round.

And now there is the headline-making story of a player’s mother spotted moving a ball from out-of-bounds to in-bounds. Randall Mell on the DQ of Doris Chen, the 2014 NCAA Champion.

An LPGA source familiar with the information provided for the ruling told GolfChannel.com that a homeowner along the course who was watching the event observed the infraction and provided a description of the woman he saw moving Chen’s ball. The LPGA, the source said, later identified the woman as Chen’s mother, Yuh-Guey Lin.

Chen won the NCAA Championship while at USC in 2014. In three seasons on the Symetra Tour, she has combined to make just $12,050.

Chen couldn’t be reached for comment.

That all said, there were success stories noted here by Golf World’s Ryan Herrington.

Asked To "Nerd Out" About His Game, Jordan Spieth Passes

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Jordan Spieth opened with a fantastic 5-under-par 66 at the Shriners and has started the 2019 season in style.

And even though the always-interesting star telegraphed at The Open this summer to expect an increased guardedness when discussing his game, it was still disappointing to see him clam up this week when asked to spell out what he saw in his 2018 stats and what he worked on in his short off-season.

Q. 31st in the FedExCup is a pretty good low mark for a career so far. How do you assess it yourself given it was you first winless season in a while, and what do you need to do better this season?

JORDAN SPIETH: You know, I really felt like I played like 30th, but Tiger played healthier than everyone thought. He just kind of took my spot there and then went on and won

But, yeah, it was a building year. I look back at last year as something that I think will be beneficial for me in the long run. I really believe that. I know that's an easy thing to say looking at kind of the positive in a negative, but there were tangible, mechanical things that I needed to address, and I was able to throughout the season.

Unfortunately, I had to play so much, like I said, towards the end that I couldn't really get it intact. So I stepped on the first tee knowing that I was playing a C-game instead of figuring where my game is at through the first couple rounds.

But I've done a lot of good work over the last four weeks, whether it required time off thinking or required actual practice. I've done I think a good balance of that and come in here with confidence.

Q. Will you nerd out a bit on us on those things you were trying to do?

JORDAN SPIETH: I can't, you know, because that's a competitive advantage for myself.

Last I heard, golf is an individual sport where the competition is not reading your offensive schemes and making adjustments to your chip shots. Furthermore, if you hit a ball in the rough, your playing partners cannot capitalize on knowing what you worked on this off-season to hit a better recovery shot, can they? Really?

I can’t think of a single thing he could have said that would have aided the competition. Such insights are probably only interesting to family, friends and fans.

If PGA Tour players no longer feel free to talk about how they are moving their ball back an inch in the stance, or “revealing” that their play from 100-120 yards was an off-season focus, press conferences will be getting very short! And very awkward.

Shriners Field Reduced To 132 Players, 70 Break Par And They Still Can't Finish Before The Sun Sets!

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Just work with the idea that 70 players broke par, 51 broke 70 and 11 shot 66 or less led by first round leader Peter Uihlein.

Not many strokes being played, right? No high rough and crazy tough conditions to slow down the pace, correct?

No.

The Shriner’s Hospital For Children Open, already facing a reduction of 12 spots this year to help get the field around before dark (as reported by Rex Hoggard a few weeks ago), still could not finish the first round.

Why? Sure, today’s players are slow but more than the usual tedium, their prodigious driving distances mean the entire field is forced to wait for every par-5 green to clear and every short par-4 green to become available to their drives.

But as you know, nearly all players and their recent Commissioners have stated that slow play is not an issue, nor is distance in the game causing problems for getting a tournament field around.

Hopefully next year the Shriners shrinks to 120 players. Because maybe losing two-dozen “playing opportunities” will help the players and officials realize there are some very basic financial ramifications for chasing distance.

The Hope Is Looking For A Sponsor Again...

Larry Bohannan of the Desert Sun reports on the latest sponsor loss for the beleaguered PGA Tour stop in California. An ownership change to a private equity group at Careerbuilder led to the change.

Oddly though, the company is on the hook for this year’s purse but won’t have its name on the event.

CareerBuilder is still contractually obligated to fund the 2019 tournament, meaning the event will still have a $5.9 million purse, will still be broadcast on Golf Channel all four days and will be able to fund its charitable donations which reached $1 million from the 2018 event. But Sanders sees a chance to start the search for what he calls the right sponsor for 2020 earlier than if CareerBuilder was still involved through the 2019 tournament.