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Unlikely Pairing Results In Shark Shootout Win

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By Scott MacLeod, via www.flagstick.com

They both draw plenty of attention to themselves, but not always for their golfing abilities.  Ian Poulter, the King of the fashion statement and Dustin Jonson, the PGA Tour’s hard luck story of 2010, teamed up Sunday to win The Shark Shootout in Naples, Florida.

Much had been made of the pairing of Ryder Cup rivals this week that was initiated by Poulter.  The Englishman had a good look at the field and who had committed and set about nudging Johnson towards forming a partnership.  Obviously it worked out as their finishing score of 30 under par was two better than their nearest competitors, Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland.

Poulter, coming off a recent streak of successful play was more than pleased to finish off his 2010 with another win, even if it is an event meant more to support charity than anything else.   “Sure, I mean, it was a good day today. I figured playing with Darren and G-Mack they were gonna go at us pretty hard; they did. We made a lot of birdies today, hit a lot of good golf shots, holed a couple of good putts at just the right time, and it gave us a lot of momentum going into the back nine to make a few birdies to finish it off.”

Johnson was equally pleased with the victory, capped off by a final round of 59 played in a Scramble format.  “Yeah, well, we got off to a good start, which is what we wanted to do. We birdied the first four and then parred 5, but 5 was playing really tough, the par 3. We did exactly what we wanted to do. We played really well. We did miss a short putt on 9; that was the only putt we missed on the front, really.  We had a lot of good momentum going into the back nine. I didn't know where we stood until we were about on No. 9 when I asked my caddie where we were at, and he said we were leading. We knew we just needed it keep making birdies, and we did.”

As much as they tried McDowell and the veteran Clarke could not catch the flashy pairing along their side.  They managed to get within two strokes through 12 holes in the final round but the leaders would not fall back.  While McDowell and Clarke threw in birdies on the 13th and 14th holes, the leaders matched their efforts. 

Clarke hit his best shot of the week on the 15th, an approach to within inches of the cup that made for an easy birdie but Poulter was able to pour in a birdie putt to keep the momentum in his team’s favor.  “You know, that was it.  That was tough,” said Clarke’s of Poulter’s response with his putter.

Will we see the pairing in another event again? 

Ian Poulter did not discount the possibility in a post round interview.  “It works well. I'm happy with it. You know, I'll just nudge it down the fairway, that's fine. It opened everything up for my partner, and I think we've got good games to match as this format pans out.”

For their win Johnson and Poulter won $375,000 each as well as the opportunity to return and try and repeat the win in 2011.

Finishing in a tie for 3rd place was defending champions Jerry Kelly and Steve Stricker at 26 under par.  They shared those honors with Chris DiMarco and Anthony Kim.

This report provided to GolfWRX.com by Canada’s 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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