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USGA, R&A will further study distance in the game in new Distance Insights project

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The USGA and R&A announced a joint effort to analyze distance in golf, seeking feedback from the “worldwide golf community.”

Dubbed the Distance Insights project, the initiative looks to “examine distance through a multi-pronged approach that includes global stakeholder engagement, third-party data review and primary research.” Focus groups, forums, and discussion groups will all be part of the effort.

If you’re wondering what this will look like in practice, the USGA has already set up a feedback form, which can be accessed here.

“The topic of increased distance and its effects on the game have been discussed for well over a century. We believe that now is the time to examine this topic through a very wide and long lens, knowing it is critical to the future of the game,” said Mike Davis, CEO of the USGA. “We look forward to delving deeply into this topic and learning more, led by doing right by golf, first and foremost.”

The USGA is looking for feedback from all stakeholder groups, including amateur golfers, professional golfers, professional golf tours, golf course owners and operators, golf equipment manufacturers, golf course architects, and golf course superintendents.

In a shift from merely looking at driving distances on professional tours, the governing bodies are looking for distance-related data as it pertains to course construction and maintenance, pace of play, player enjoyment, participation, and equipment.

The governing bodies are keen to point out that, well, as Rand Jerris, USGA senior managing director of public services, told Golf Digest: “This is not about a ball rollback.

He said further, “We are looking at distance in a very holistic way. The golf ball is not the focus of this project. I think we see this research resulting in multiple insights, multiple recommendations and multiple solutions…We need to broaden the discussion, get a variety of perspectives and reset the conversation about distance.”

The USGA and The R&A plan to deliver a report based on the data in 2019.

 

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  1. THOMAS J JOHNSTON

    May 19, 2018 at 10:15 am

    They changed the handicap system to slope to help those who could not hit greens in regulation because hitting a 4 iron was not within the players ability .They changed the rules because OH I give up someone can not drop a ball from shoulder height .LETS Play golf BY AGE example i am over 60 i play from a yellow marker which should allow me to hit the green in regulation if i am 70 i play from the blue marker if i put a skirt on i can play from the red markers. give me strength if you will not go take lessons and practise then go find another sport.

  2. A. Commoner

    May 17, 2018 at 7:04 pm

    People: take a look at the “survey.” It is a joke.

  3. GolfGolfGolf

    May 16, 2018 at 7:20 am

    Clearly distance isn’t a problem on the tour as is evidenced by Webb Simpson’s win and being dead last in the field for driving distance. Keep your hands and rules off my balls USGA and R&A.

  4. John

    May 15, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    I dont care if guys on the pgatour are shooting scores too low for the egos of golf course owners. Amateur scores haven’t come down. Go away dinosaurs of the USGA.

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New details in the case of the golfer who allegedly bit off another golfer’s finger

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The man charged with biting off the finger of a fellow golfer during an altercation at Southers Marsh golf course in Massachusetts, appeared in court on Monday. Derek Harkins, 46, arrived in Plymouth District Court this morning, facing charges of assault and battery, mayhem and disturbing the peace.

The incident occurred on Friday evening at the Plymouth golf course, where two foursomes were playing the 18th hole. Police revealed that the altercation erupted over a dispute concerning the pace of play.

The victim was 57-year old Daniel Menton, from Marshfield. Menton had one of his fingers bitten off to a knuckle, and although his son attempted to save the finger by placing it in a jar of ice and rushing to the hospital with his father, doctors were unable to re-attach the finger surgically.

According to court documents, Harkins claimed that he had been defending his father when the dispute broke out and that he had found the victim’s finger in his mouth which caused him to bite down. While Menton stated that the sound of his finger being bitten off was akin “to the sound made when someone chews on a Dorito.”

Harkins was released on a $10.000 bail and ordered to stay away from both alcohol and the victim. On leaving the court, Harkins ignored questions from reporters waiting outside, making a quick exit. His lawyer did, however, make a statement, saying that “things aren’t always as they seem.”

Harkins will re-appear in court on Wednesday.

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Tour Rundown: Viktor Hovland wins the U.S. Amateur at Pebble, the drama of the first 25 PGA Tour cards

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In the final week before the FedEx Cup Playoffs, Webb Simpson gave notice that he will not be a liability as an automatic qualifier to the U.S. Ryder Cup squad. The European Tour welcomed a first-time winner, while the LPGA Tour recognized a veteran winner. The U.S. Amateur crowned a king from Norway, and the Web.Com Tour handed out its first 25 PGA Tour cards for the 2018-2019 campaign. Pretty good haul for a non-playoff week, wouldn’t you say? Let’s run it all down right not.

Snedeker follows 59 with second Wyndham Championship

In 2007, Brandt Snedeker made the Wyndham Championship his first PGA Tour victory. Eleven years later, he won his ninth title and second in Greensboro. This one was easily as difficult as the first one, thanks to the burden of 59. Unless you’ve been under the fabled rock, you know that Sneds began Thursday with a bogey, then made 1o birdies and an eagle to shoot 59. Guess how difficult it is to stay in contention, let alone win, with the weight of 59 on your shoulders? Yup, that difficult. Somehow, Snedeker did it. He had a challenge on day four from C.T. Pan, coming to 18 tied with the young Taiwanese golfer. As he did on Thursday, Snedeker made birdie at the par-four closer, finishing at 21-under on the week. Pan went OB off the 72nd tee, making double bogey and dropping into a tie for second with Webb Simpson, who had a chance to shoot 60 on the day. He also struggled at the last, making bogey for 62.

U.S. Mens Amateur trophy in Norwegian hands

This year’s final match was never dull; 19 of the 31 holes were won outright. By the time that Californian Devon Bling, rising junior from UCLA, and Viktor Hovland, same class at Oklahoma State (by way of Norway) shook hands on Pebble Beach’s 13th green, history had also been made. Before Hovland and Bling parred the 444-yard par four to seal the former’s 6 and 5 victory, only Arne Dokka (1965 USGA Public Links) had claimed victory for Norway in a U.S. national championship.

After qualifying 24th in stroke play, Hovland strengthened with each match. He was taken as far as the 17th hole only once in his first five matches, winning two matches on the 12th green. In the semifinals, Hovland dispatched the hottest amateur in the game, co-medalist Cole Hammer, 3 and 2. In the final, both golfers exhibited more nerves than excellent golf, with Hovland making fewer errors and winning the birdie battle, 6 to 4. With the triumph, Hovland will achieve another first next April, as the first Norwegian to play in the Masters Championship, at Augusta National golf club.

Nordea Masters is Waring’s first European Tour victory

We do our best to find great action clips, but sometimes, words do better than 1000 pictures. Paul Waring is greyer than one expects from a 32-year old golfer. Until the Nordea Masters, he had yet to win a professional event. A shaky swing on the 72nd hole suggested he might have to wait even longer. Thomas Aiken of South Africa caught a good break and made a sandy for birdie on the par-five closer, to reach 14-under. Already at that figure, Waring drew a lousy stance in the same sand pit, and was fortunate to make par and go to a playoff with Aiken. As the tide looked headed in Aiken’s direction, it suddenly shifted as the South African golfer’s overtime tee ball found water, and his third ended in a bush. Waring striped one down the middle, made par to Aiken’s bogey, and he became the 7th Englishman to ascend victory’s podium in 2018. After all that, you’d think he might be ecstatic, or at least, ebullient. Have a look.

LPGA Indy Women In Tech vaults Sung Hyun Park to No. 1 again

For most of the day, it looked like Lizette Salas would break through again, for a second LPGA victory. She had posted lightning rounds of 62 and 64 in the 1st and third rounds at the Brickyard Crossing golf course. On Sunday, however, Salas left the 60s for the first time all week, posting 70 with a bogey on her penultimate hole. That 5 dropped her into a tie with Sung Hyun Park, who filed a clean, four-birdie card in round 4. Equal at 23-under par, each had a chance to win on the last hole. Park missed from 8 feet, and Salas, from an excruciating 4. On the playoff hole, Salas erred on a birdie try from 20 feet. Park was deadly from 10 feet, cinching her fifth LPGA win and the world No. 1 ranking.

Dick’s Sporting Goods Open to Bart Bryant a second time

He’s hoping it won’t take another 5 years for a 3rd PGA Tour Champions victory, but Bart Bryant certainly feels at home in Endicott, New York. The Texas-born golfer overcame Michael Bradley’s 36-hole lead with 7 birdies on day three, and eased on out of the Binghamton area with a one-shot victory. Bryant was the only golfer in the top four to play bogey-free golf on Sunday, and his clean card made the difference. Bradley had yet to win on the senior circuit, and 4 birdies through 14 holes had him even with Sheriff Bart. A wayward drive at the 15th found the deep rough, and Bradley could not reach the green with his second. His only bogey on the day dropped him one behind Bryant. The two matched birdies at the closing hole, with Bryant draining a long putt for the victory.

Im bookends victories at Portland Open

Sungjae Im won his second victory of the year as the Web.Com regular season came to a close. Im was the first golfer to occupy the top spot on the race for the PGA Tour in the entire history of the Web.Com tour. This week, Im turned in a straight of sorts, posting 65-66-68-67 to win by 4 putts over John Chin. Chin’s two pair of 66s and 69s was 1 better than Erik Compton, the 3rd place finisher. Ben Taylor claimed the last of 25 PGA Tour cards by less than $1000 over No. 26, Wes Roach. Roach wasn’t the only near-miss of the week. For each tour-card recipient, so many others endured the frustration of almost and what if. Roach and others will have a second chance to earn a tour card during the 4 weeks of Web playoffs.

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GolfWRX Morning 9: Bubble boys’ unknown agony | Snedeker parlays 59 to trophy | Golfer’s finger bitten off (by golfer)

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By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com)

August 20, 2018

Good Monday morning, golf fans. Not all Mondays are created equal, but all Mondays are Mondays.
1. Sneds!
If you shoot 59 in one of the four rounds of a PGA Tour event, you should ultimately win the event, no? Fortunately, Brandt Snedeker parlayed his record score into his first win since 2016.
  • “Shooting 59 on Thursday, your expectations go through the roof,” Snedeker said, also expressing pride that he could “cap it off the way we did today, to play pretty much a flawless round of golf.”
  • C.T. Pan’s undoing was also…interesting…AP report: “For a while, it looked like it might come down to a playoff between Pan and Snedeker, who were even at 20 under entering Pan’s final hole.”
  • “But the 26-year-old from Taiwan ran into big trouble: Pan shanked his tee shot out of bounds off a cart path down the right side of the fairway and needed four shots, including the penalty stroke, to reach the green on the par 4.”
  • “Pan said he heard “a couple noises in my head which caused me to hit a bad shot….”It’s my fault. I can learn something from it,” he said. “I only played one bad hole, which is fine. You know, I’ve still got a lot of golf left.”
2. A Norwegian takes the U.S. Am
AP Report on the 20-year-old’s win…”Viktor Hovland’s week at the U.S. Amateur went so well that even when he made rare mistakes with drives into hazards, it didn’t end up hurting him at all.”
  • “Hovland recovered from one to take the lead for good on the fourth hole of the 36-hole final and another to halve the final hole of the morning round and maintain a 4-stroke lead.”
  • “Hovland rolled from there to become the first Norwegian to win the U.S. Amateur, beating UCLA sophomore Devon Bling 6 and 5 on Sunday to cap a dominant week at Pebble Beach.”
  • “I’ve had a lot of tournaments before where I hit the ball really well, but the few times I missed a green or hit a bad shot I haven’t been able to scramble or make putts,” he said. “This week it kind of all came together, which is really cool.”
Really cool, indeed.
3. Bryant’s first W since wife’s death
Cheers to Bart Bryant for his first victory since his wife’s death from cancer in April of 2017. Hard to imagine the ordeal he and his wife went through as she endured treatment for brain cancer while he tried to keep doing his job on the PGA Tour Champions.
  • John Strege writes…”Bryant, 55, holed a 25-foot birdie putt on the 18th green at En-Joie Golf Club in Endicott, N.Y., the difference in his one-stroke victory in the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open.
  • “It’s been a long road in life and and a long road in golf, and the golf just hasn’t been very good. The last three or four months I’ve started to feel I had something, I just wasn’t making the putts. This week I finally made four or five putts over 20 feet or maybe longer. I think that’s what put me over the top. Hopefully it’s going to kick start into better things.”
  • “Cathy Bryant was diagnosed with brain cancer on Mother’s Day, 2016. It claimed her life on April 5, 2017. The 2017 season was the least productive of his PGA Tour Champions career; he failed to post a top 10 in 15 starts.”
4. Getting out of Park at the Brickyard
Soft greens + preferred lies = time to step on the gas. That’s exactly what Sung Hyun Park did, which is fitting, considering the venue
  • Jennifer Meyer of LPGA.com writes…”Park fired a final round 4-under par, 68 to share the lead with Lizette Salas at 23-under to end regulation on Sunday. The two headed to No. 18 for a sudden death playoff.  It took only one hole for the Republic of Korea native to defeat Salas and earn her third victory of the season at the Indy Women in Tech Championship Driven by Group.”
  • “Park, who was the first player to win the Rolex Rookie of the Year and Rolex Player of the Year awards in the same year since Nancy Lopez achieved the feat in 1978, is projected to take over the most prestigious title of them all. The current world No.4 is projected to overtake Ariya Jutanugarn at No. 1 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings following her win in Indianapolis. It’s a position Park held once before for a week in November 2017.”
5. The merciless Wyndham
Shane Ryan penned a piece on the under-the-radar drama of the regular season’s final event for the (often unknowing) bubble boys.
  • “And yet, belying the lackluster atmosphere, there are very real, very personal, and very hidden acts of drama playing out on this course. Hurley thought he needed that putt on the ninth hole, and though nobody else realized it, and though you wouldn’t see the shot on TV, the stakes-at least for him-were quite high. He was playing in the last year of a full exemption after winning the 2016 Quicken Loans Invitational, and it had not been a dream season. As you’d expect for someone that far down the points list-he began the week 202nd-his 2018 story is a story of missed cuts.”
  • “Yet, though he didn’t know it at that moment he missed that final birdie putt missed, Hurley was projected to finish 200th in the FedEx Cup standings. If Hurley could finish 200 or better, he would earn a spot in the Web.Com Tour Finals series. From there, he could fight against a field of 150 golfers-75 from the PGA Tour, 75 from the Web.com-for one of 25 PGA Tour cards for next season. But if he stayed at 202 or 201, no such luck.”
  • And on Sergio…”Garcia came close. At 3:40 p.m., with the front nine behind him, the Spaniard was one shot clear of the cut-off. Then he made bogey on three of five holes-betrayal of the driver and the wedge-and he fell back into the shadowlands. The beneficiary was Seamus Power, who missed the cut here on Friday, but who now rose from 126th to 125th. Garcia had a chance to rescue himself, but he needed more than the two birdies he managed coming in. How he felt when he finished 128th is anybody’s guess-he managed to sneak away before any journalist could brave the difficult approach.”
 
6. And the analytics suggest…
Rich Hunt is back with his always excellent look at who the U.S. Ryder Cup captain–in this case one Jim Furyk–ought to choose to round out his roster.
Some of Hunt’s Secret Sauce
“There are some simple statistical rules to follow for optimal picks:
  1. Seek out quality performers around the green as it helps most in the Foursome (alternate shot) and individual match play format.
  2. You want birdie makers and quality performers on each of the holes (par-3’s, par-4’s and par-5’s) for the Fourball (best score) format.
  3. Ryder Cup experience doesn’t mean anything if the player is a poor Ryder Cup performer.
  4. All things being equal, take the younger player.
  5. Lean towards the player who fits into both Fourball and Foursome formats over the slightly better player that only fits well into one format.”
Who does this formula point to? Tiger Woods, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Cantlay, and Tony Finau.
7. Ms. Thompson afoul of the rules again
In case you missed it, Lexi Thompson tried to lift and clean her tee ball after it landed in the opposite fairway at the Women in Tech, Saturday. A rules official stepped in and had her replace the ball in its original position–which saved Thompson another penalty stroke for playing her ball out of position.
  • After the round, she didn’t point to spacing out or some mental malfunction, rather (and troublingly) it seems she was unaware of what the preferred lies local rule stipulated…something everyone who has ever played in a soggy club event knows.
  • This may be an unpopular opinion, but Lexi Thompson ought to make the Rules of Golf the final entry on her summer reading list.
8. Golfer has finger bitten off…by another golfer
Honestly, I wasn’t sure where to position this story in today’s M9. In a sense, a golfer biting off another golfer’s finger ought to top all other stories…Anyway, details are scarce, but here’s what Dan Kilbridge from Golfweek wrote.
  • “Things took a barbaric turn Friday night during a fight at Southers Marsh Golf Club in Plymouth, Mass…A 47-year-old man was arrested and charged with mayhem after allegedly biting another man’s finger off during the altercation.”
  • “WCVB reports that someone called 911 after two foursomes got into it on the course. Firefighters arrived to find that one of the men had his finger bitten off down to the knuckle. The rest of his finger was on ice.”
  • Someone please dispatch a reporter to Plymouth to get the full story! But more importantly, sorry about your finger, sir, and here’s hoping it could be reattached.
9. Broken club, busted head
From one bizarre golf injury to another. In case you missed this story in the weekend shuffle, Kevin Stadler smashed his club into the turf at the WinCo Portland Open, and the club head smashed a spectator in the head.
  • ESPN’s Bob Harig writes...”The club broke somewhere near the bottom of the shaft and hit a spectator in the head, causing injuries that required six stitches, according to Orlando Pope, a Web.com Tour rules official who got an explanation from players in the group.’
  • “Stadler ended up missing the cut in the last regular-season event of the Web.com Tour schedule. He was not available for comment.”
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