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Oh, The Drama! Martin Kaymer Wins The 92nd PGA Championship

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Martin Kaymer Wins The 92nd PGA ChampionshipIn a finish that a Hollywood script writer could not even imagine Martin Kaymer of Germany won the 92nd PGA Championship in a three-hole playoff with American Bubba Watson – two players with styles of golf games and personalities on opposite ends of the spectrum. When all the drama was over – rulings, playoff, et al, all that was left for 25-year old Kaymer to win his 1st major championship was a two foot putt for bogey that he ran smoothly into the center of the cup. 

But the two-man playoff looked to have another participant, Dustin Johnson, before a ruling left him on the wrong end of two stroke penalty. It was a shocking situation that received a lot of criticism from fans who watched but Johnson himself knew that the blame fell on him; not the officials who made the call. “Yeah, I just thought I was on a piece of dirt that the crowd had trampled down. I never thought I was in a sand trap. It never once crossed my mind that I was in a bunker. Obviously I know the Rules of Golf, and I can't ground my club in a bunker, but that was just one situation I guess. Maybe I should have looked to the rule sheet a little harder,” he said referring to the well documented local rules that put great emphasis on the possibility of such a situation.

Even with the heartbreaking situation, Johnson can take solace in the fact that he has made the Ryder Cup team that will compete in Wales and was once again in contention at a major championship. “Yeah, I mean, you know, I hit some really good shots coming down the stretch, made some birdies to get a one-shot lead going into 18. Other than the unfortunate incident on 18, I played really well all day. I'm definitely happy with my play.”

Another man happy with his play was they pride of Bagdad, Florida himself, Bubba Watson. Watson made a birdie on the 1st hole of the three-hole aggregate playoff but a final hole double bogey derailed his chances to put the Wannamaker Trophy on his den shelf.  “It was a weird day today, obviously, with the finish that you saw. You know, I wasn't on anybody's radar. Nobody in this media center thought I had a chance this morning. Nobody talked about me probably this morning,” said Watson whose final round 68 was only bested by Phil Mickelson’s 67. “The weather gave me an opportunity to do it, kind of like Travelers, nobody expected me to win that, either. You know, I just played solid, just put my head down and tried to play as good of golf as I could and try to grind out a good finish, if not a win. And then when it worked out that I made some birdies and made some good pars, and I got a chance to go in a playoff.   It's very heartbreaking to hear about Dustin Johnson, that's upsetting. The guy's played great golf and he just made a mistake. I feel for him. That's very disheartening, and that's why this situation today was just weird. We sat in the locker room and didn't know what was going on, so the playoff was just weird, going into the playoff without him, it didn't seem right. But I made The Ryder Cup, so that's all I care about.”

For the man who did eventually hoist the Wannamaker, 5-time European Tour winner Martin Kaymer, it was his putter that made all the difference in leading him to the most important victory of his career so far. A clutch 15 foot putt for on the 18th hole of regulation play got him into the playoff but another magnificent stroke – a 15 footer for birdie on the 2nd playoff hole, put him even with Watson with one hole to play in the playoff. After taking one less stroke than Watson on the final test it was a shocked Kaymer who stoically accepted the polite applause of the crowd at Whistling Straits who clearly would have loved to see Watson, or even Johnson, as the ultimate winner. "I don't realize what happened," Kaymer said once the championship had been decided. "I just won my first major. I've got goose bumps just talking about it."

To the delight of golf fans everywhere the build up to the final major championship of the year was justified. Whistling Straits and the play of the golfers, including 97 of the top 100 players in the world, delivered a PGA Championship that will be talked about for many years to come – for so many reasons. You can’t ask for much more than that from a tournament that not too long ago had lost its lustre.

Clearly, its importance is not lost on anyone anymore. Well, maybe Martin Kaymer at first, but in time he will fully realize what he has accomplished in beating the world’s best on a Sunday afternoon in Wisconsin.

This report provided to GolfWRX.com by Flagstick Golf Magazine (www.flagstick.com)

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USGA, R&A to roll out new World Handicap System in 2020

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A new handicap system is here, or rather, it will be once the USGA and R&A begin to fully implement the World Handicap System in 2020.

The new system focuses on achieving three main objectives: 1) encouraging as many golfers as possible to maintain a handicap, 2) enabling golfers of different abilities, genders, and nationalities to compete fairly, and 3) determining the score a golfer is reasonably capable of shooting at any particular course anywhere in the world.

Currently there are six handicapping systems worldwide, owing to the existence of six handicapping authorities: Golf Australia, the Council of National Golf Unions (CONGU) in Great Britain and Ireland, the European Golf Association (EGA), the South African Golf Association (SAGA), the Argentine Golf Association (AAG) and the USGA.

The six handicapping authorities represent approximately 15 million golfers in 80 countries who currently maintain a golf handicap.

Under the new program, the USGA and R&A will oversee the World Handicap System and the governing bodies will be in charge of local administration.

The USGA presents the WHS as a better system that simplifies the existing structures. Not surprisingly, the organization believes the WHS will compel more golfers to maintain a handicap.

“For some time, we’ve heard golfers say, ‘I’m not good enough to have a handicap,’ or ‘I don’t play enough to have a handicap,’” USGA executive director Mike Davis said. “We want to make the right decisions now to encourage a more welcoming and social game.”

Davis sees the new system marching arm-in-arm with the revisions to (and simplification of) the Rules of Golf.

“We’re excited to be taking another important step – along with modernizing golf’s rules – to provide a pathway into the sport, making golf easier to understand and more approachable and enjoyable for everyone to play.”

Key features of the WHS include:

  • Flexibility in formats of play, allowing both competitive and recreational rounds to count for handicap purposes and ensuring that a golfer’s handicap is more reflective of potential ability.
  • A minimal number of scores needed to obtain a new handicap; a recommendation that the number of scores needed to obtain a new handicap be 54 holes from any combination of 18-hole and 9-hole rounds, but with “some discretion available for handicapping authorities or national associations to set a different minimum within their own jurisdiction.”
  • A consistent handicap that “is portable” from course to course and country to country through worldwide use of the USGA course and slope rating system, already used in more than 80 countries.
  • An average-based calculation of a handicap, taken from the best eight out of the last 20 scores and “factoring in memory of previous demonstrated ability for better responsiveness and control.”
  • A calculation that considers the impact that abnormal course and weather conditions might have on a player’s performance each day.
  • Daily handicap revisions, taking account of the course and weather conditions calculation.
  • A limit of net double bogey on the maximum hole score (for handicapping purposes only).
  • A maximum handicap limit of 54.0, regardless of gender, to encourage more golfers to measure and track their performance to increase their enjoyment of the game.

The USGA and R&A conducted quantitative research in 15 countries around the world. 76 percent of the 52,000 respondents voiced their support for a World Handicap System, 22 percent were willing to consider its benefits, and only 2 percent were opposed.

The research also helped model the tenets of the WHS, but, as mentioned, don’t tear up your GHIN cards just yet: We’ve only just begun the two-year transition period prior to the implementation.

To provide feedback to the USGA on the new World Handicap System, golfers can email the USGA at whsfeedback@usga.org, or see usga.org/whs for more info.

Additionally, the USGA created this FAQ.

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Tuesday’s Photos from the 2018 Honda Classic

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2018 Honda Classic at PGA National’s Champion course (par 70: 7,110 yards) in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

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The field this week is stacked at the top, and it includes defending-champion Rickie Fowler, 2017 FedEx Champion Justin Thomas, four-time major champion Rory McIlroy, and reigning Masters champion Sergio Garcia, who’s making his first PGA Tour start of 2018. Also in the field is Tiger Woods, who committed to play in the event just last week. Woods is coming off a disappointing missed cut at the 2018 Genesis Open.

Last year, Fowler won by four shots over Morgan Hoffmann and Gary Woodland, despite playing his final round in 1-over par.

Check out our photos from the 2018 Honda Classic below!

Tuesday’s Photos

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Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums.

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Monday’s Photos from the 2018 Honda Classic

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2018 Honda Classic at PGA National’s Champion course (par 70: 7,110 yards) in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

The field this week is stacked at the top, and it includes defending-champion Rickie Fowler, 2017 FedEx Champion Justin Thomas, four-time major champion Rory McIlroy, and reigning Masters champion Sergio Garcia, who’s making his first PGA Tour start of 2018. Also in the field is Tiger Woods, who committed to play in the event just last week. Woods is coming off a disappointing missed cut at the 2018 Genesis Open.

Last year, Fowler won by four shots over Morgan Hoffmann and Gary Woodland, despite playing his final round in 1-over par.

Check out our photos from the 2018 Honda Classic below!

Monday’s Photos

Special Galleries

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums.

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