Golf Buzz

Adam Scott
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Adam Scott didn't knock Tiger Woods out of the world No. 1 spot on the curse, but will do so off the course this coming week.

Adam Scott had four chances to knock Tiger Woods out of the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking over the last few weeks, but wasn't able to do so. Ironically, the Australian newlywed will replace Woods as No. 1 next Monday even though both players are taking this week off.

In fact, Scott would have passed Woods on Monday if he had skipped The Players Championship, but clearly he wasn't going to skip one of the biggest events on the PGA Tour. And while he isn't exactly thrilled to be claiming the top spot because of mathematics, he'll take it.

"I think it's a nice feather in the cap, probably," Scott said after tying for 38th at The Players Championship. "I mean, if I was never world No. 1 when I'm this close, I'd be disappointed, but I'd also much rather win the U.S. Open and not be No. 1 at all this year. That's what it comes down to."

GOLF BUZZ: PGA Tour player R.H. Lee hits two of the shortest shots ever at Players

Each player's world ranking is determined by dividing the total number of ranking points he has achieved by the number of events he's played over a two-year period. More recent events count more than older events within that two-year period, and the numbers are recalculated every week.

Scott will become the first Australian player to become No. 1 since Greg Norman ruled for 331 weeks in the 1980s and 1990s.

Heading to TPC Sawgrass, four players – Scott, Henrik Stenson, Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar – could have knocked Woods off his ranking pedestal. None was able to do it – and of those contenders, only Kuchar is scheduled to play the HP Byron Nelson Championship this week. Kuchar would need to gain 53 world ranking points at the Byron Nelson to jump all the way to No. 1, according to Golf Channel rankings expert Alan Robison and, based on its strength of field, the event tentatively will have only about 40 points to give its winner.

Meanwhile, Martin Kaymer – who took over as world No. 1 a few months after he won the 2010 PGA Championship – climbed back into the top 30 in the wake of his victory at The Players Championship. Kaymer, who was No. 1 for eight weeks in 2011, began this year at 39, and was down to No. 61 before he arrived at TPC Sawgrass.


May 12, 2014 - 11:20am
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T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Richard H. Lee
Richard H. Lee, baffled by a shot he just hit on the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass on Sunday, would be baffled again moments later.

If we're being honest here, it's safe to say we take a bit of evil pleasure in watching the best players in the world do anything -- even just once -- that resembles something we're familiar with in our own game.

On Sunday, during the final round of the Players Championship, Richard H. Lee did just that.

Twice... on consecutive shots.

It all happened on the par-3 everyone knows, the 17th at TPC Sawgrass.

READ: Most memorable fluff, duffs, mishits and bad shots in 2014

We know what you're thinking: If there's something a PGA Tour caliber player would do on that hole that I could also do, it would be to hit a tee shot in the water.

You're right, but that's not what Lee did. His tee shot, while a little long, did stay dry. Which makes this arguably the strangest double bogey ever made on the hole.

MORE: Richard H. Lee's daughter has last laugh on dad's 17th-hole blunder

With his tee shot resting against the collar of the fringe and the rough, Lee attempted to hit a "belly" wedge on to the green. The problem? He very nearly missed the ball entirely. Once the club made contact on the top of the ball, it traveled a mere inches.

Realizing that perhaps the belly wedge wasn't the best idea, Lee then opted for his putter. The rough grabbed the putter and he nearly missed the ball again, sending it just a few inches further and still not on the green.

Here's the video:



From there, Lee managed to get up and down for double bogey.

There is nothing rare about a double bogey on the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass for the best of players. But, you'd be hard-pressed to find another double bogey by a PGA Tour player on that hole who used the same golf ball for each of the five shots.

Lee bogeyed the last hole for a final-round, 1-over 73 and tied for 65th.

Lee had a great sense of humor about his 17th-hole mishap via Twitter this morning:



Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.


Justin Rose
USA Today Images
Justin Rose was involved in a rules debate Saturday concerning whether his ball moved at address.

PGA Tour officials required slow-motion replay and high-definition television screens to determine whether Justin Rose's ball moved as he was about to address it Saturday during third-round action at The Players Championship. Did the ball move when he was lining up for his chip? Officials first docked him two strokes, then changed their minds Sunday morning, citing the new decision that went into effect on Jan. 1 dealing with situations "not easily discernible to the naked eye."

ROSE'S PENALTY RESCINDED: PGA Tour officials rely on Decision 18/4

But when you're playing a round at your local course, it's up to you and your partners to know Rule 18-2b and its consequences. According to Bryan Jones, co-vice chairman of the PGA Rules Committee, the rule is really pretty simple to remember: "Address the ball, ball moves, replace the ball, one-stroke penalty."

Here's the actual language from the rule book concerning what to do in that specific situation:

"If a player’s ball in play moves after he has addressed it (other than as a result of a stroke), the player is deemed to have moved the ball and incurs a penalty of one stroke.

MORE ON DECISION 18/4: "Visual evidence" rule to take effect Jan. 1

"The ball must be replaced, unless the movement of the ball occurs after the player has begun the stroke or the backward movement of the club for the stroke and the stroke is made.

"Exception: If it is known or virtually certain that the player did not cause his ball to move, Rule 18-2b does not apply."

For example, you set your club behind the ball and it rolls from its position -- whether you touched it or not -- that's a violation of Rule 18-2b. That's because "the player is 'deemed' to have caused this movement," Jones said.

GOLF GLOSSARY: A dictionary of terms, from A to Z

So whether you're playing stroke play or match play, that's a one-stroke penalty. But what does the rule mean by "replacing" the ball? Jones said you have two options, depending on the situation.

"Remember, replace can mean place or drop," Jones said. "If the previous location of the ball is precisely known, it is placed back in that spot. If not, it is dropped. The exception is on the putting green, where it is always placed."

Interestingly enough, if the ball moves because of gravity, it is considered a violation of Rule 18-2b. Replace the ball, take the penalty. If the ball rolls backwards at address and is stopped by the clubhead, that's also covered under Rule 18-2b. Replace the ball, take the penalty. 

There are some exceptions. For example, if the ball moves in a bunker without being affected by the player's stance or approach to the ball, that's not a penalty. And if the ball only wobbles and remains in its original position, Decision 18/2 says there's no penalty and no need to replace. We've seen "oscillation" brought up in tournament play in the past.

Jones calls Rule 18-2b a "default" rule.

"A couple of other examples are Rule 16-2 which 'deems' a ball that is overhanging the hole to be 'at rest' after 10 seconds even if it is still moving," Jones said. "And Rule 27-1c, Ball not found after 5 minutes, 'deems' a ball love after a five-minute search even if it is found and identified by the player at five minutes and one second."

So even without TV cameras and instant replay, you should be able to determine conclusively if you've run afoul of Rule 18-2b and what to do about it. 


Ian MacGregor and Joel Sjoholm
Joel Sjoholm via Twitter
European Tour player Joel Sjoholm shared this photo of him with caddie Ian MacGregor, saying "R.I.P my dear Mac! Way too young! This going to be a tough evening!"

Several generations of European Tour players reacted with shock and sadness on Sunday at the news that veteran caddie Ian MacGregor died while caddying for Scotland's Alistair Forsyth at the Madeira Islands Open.

MacGregor, 52, of Zimbabwe, died of apparent heart attack on the ninth hole at Santa da Serra during the second and final round of the tournament, which had been reduced to 36 holes by fog.

Play continued in the wake of MacGregor's death, prompting a variety of opinion on social media from players and spectators who thought the event should have been cancelled. However, European Tour officials consulted with players and caddied before deciding to hold a minute of silence before finishing up, and Forsyth himself agreed with the call.

"I felt that was what Mac would have wanted," Forsyth said. "He was a guy I've known for 15 years and he was very popular amongst the caddies. 

"Obviously my thoughts go out to his family. For something like that to happen so suddenly is so sad," he added. "He's far too young and he had no problem carrying bags around a golf course so I didn't see an awful lot wrong with him."

Players from legends like Gary Player to young professionals like Branden Grace took to social media to express their condolences at the loss of a caddie who Forsyth called "the life and soul of the caddies' lounge, a good laugh and nice guy."

Among those speaking up was former Senior PGA Champion Roger Chapman, who noted that the first time MacGregor caddied for him was right there ar Madeira. 

Here is a sample of their reactions:

Pablo Larrazabal: Very sad news coming from Madeira... All my thoughts are with Alastair Forsyth Caddie and his family... #RIP #DEP @EuropeanTour

Thomas Norret: RIP Mac! A great man! #verysad

Simon Khan: So sad to hear about Zim Mac great caddy and top bloke rip mate

Joel Sjoholm: R.I.P my dear Mac!Way to young! This going to be a tough evening!Died on the 9th fairway in Madeira!! 

Gary Player: RIP Big Mac. You will be missed. My condolences

Pablo Larrazabal: Ian MacGregor... What i am going to say... Great guy, good laugh, a proper Zim,... Rest in peace buddy... #prayingforyou #RIP

Richie Ramsay: Sad news of Mac passing in Madeira #RIPmac

Paul Lawrie: One of the caddies ian Mcgregor (mac) died on the course today in Madeira while working for al forsyth , great guy RIP my friend

Branden Grace: RIP big Mac....what a guy!! You'll be missed and our thoughts and prayers are with his family.

Matthew Baldwin: Can't believe what I have heard from Madeira today. RIP to a top man, Mac.

Mikko Ilonen: Sad news from Madeira.. RIP Mac

Soren Hansen: I was full of joy after today but now in tears after the news of Zim Mac. He was a top bloke with an incredible life story. Rip my friend...

Roger Chapman: So sad to hear Ian Mac has died. Sadly missed. Caddied for me. The first time was of all places, Madeira. RIP mate #topbloke

Maarten Lafeber: Very sad to hear that caddy Ian McGregor died today at the 9th hole in Madeira! He caddied 3 weeks ago for me at the NH Collection Open.

Gary Boyd: RIP Mac you always put a smile on peoples faces you will be truely missed mate

Oliver Wilson: Terrible news about Zim Mac in Madeira. One of the nicest guys out there & always brightened your day. RIP Pal

Thomas Pieters: Roger and myself will miss you greatly Mac. Such a great person passed today who will be missed by the whole tour. #RIPMac




Elin Nordegren graduated from Rollins College
Courtesy of Rollins College
Elin Nordegren graduated from Rollins College on Saturday with a bachelor's degree in psychology.

Tiger Woods, still recovering from back surgery, had yet another weekend off. For Elin Nordegren – his ex-wife and the mother of his two children – this weekend will be one she never forgets.

Nordegren graduated from Rollins College on Saturday with a bachelor's degree in psychology, and she received the Hamilton Holt Outstanding Senior Award for her 3.98 grade point average. With that award came another honor – she got to give the commencement address.

"I have been called a 'woman with no words' in the media and criticized for not talking very much," Nordegren, for whom English is her second language, told People Magazine. So, she said, she was "a little scared" when she contemplated the idea of speaking in front of all her fellow graduates.

But she tackled her speech just like she tackled her education, and delivered a 12-minute address in which she spoke of her nine-year journey toward her degree – which included what she called "the wild storm of my personal life." 

Nordegren, now 34, began taking classes at Rollins – in the Orlando suburb of Winter Park – back in 2005, and took time off after the birth of each of her two children and again after her marriage fell apart. During her address, she thanked her classmates for their support. "When you told me stories about your full-time day jobs, about coming home to cook dinner for your families, and about making sure your children were cared for while you were attending classes, you inspired me," she said.

She also made a joke about suddenly and unexpected becoming the focus of worldwide attention soon after she finished a course called Communication and the Media. "I probably should have taken more notes in that class," she said.

Nordegren discussed her career and more in a Q&A on the Rollins College website. And you can see her entire address right here:


May 10, 2014 - 5:18pm
mark.aumann's picture
Two Rivers Golf Club
Rodd Slater/Twitter
PGA professional Rodd Slater gives a preschooler some putting tips during a field trip.

Want to grow the game? Expose kids to golf at an early age.

That's the thought of PGA professional Rodd Slater, head pro at Two Rivers Golf Club in Dakota Dunes, S.D. He recently invited preschoolers to a field trip at his course, where he showed them how to putt and swing at balls.

PLAY GOLF AMERICA: Learn more about the game

You think they had fun? Check out Rodd's tweets:













Looking at those photos, two things come to mind:

1. The future of golf is in good hands

2. Spring is taking its sweet time getting to South Dakota.

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