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Opinion & Analysis

A guide to calling in penalties

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I have a confession to make. Well, not really a confession, that would mean I did something wrong. And how could anyone consider what I did the wrong thing?

What do you ask?

It was me. I called in the rules violation on Sun Young Yoo at the CME Group Titleholders event. For those that did not see her egregious flouting of the rules, Yoo came to the 14th hole within one stroke of the lead on Friday.  She drove her ball into the overgrowth and tried to hit out, but ended up hitting the ball deeper into the bushes. She then decided to take a one-stroke penalty for an unplayable lie and drop. So far so good. But here is where she should have pulled her rule book out.

When she set up to take a drop, she didn’t property extend her arm 90 degrees before dropping the ball! Can you believe it! I mean really. Not knowing how to drop the ball, how is she even playing on Tour? Even weekend hackers know you have to extend your arm 90 degrees. I was just sitting there in my mom’s basement where I live, eating a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos when I saw what she did. But I didn’t really know what to do? Who do I call? Is there someone I can call?

Then I remembered an incident that involved Camilo Villegas in 2011, when he moved the divot from his shot while the ball was rolling back to his feet.  How did they do it? I quickly looked up the golf course pro shop and called. A nice kid answered and I explained what I had just seen. He didn’t seem too impressed. I told him nothing less was at stake than the reputation of the tournament!

He put me on hold.

No mind, I had a cell phone too. My mom pays for it. I call the LPGA Tour offices hoping to get someone who understood what was happening. No such luck, they put me on hold too. Then I realized I had the internet! Twitter! So I tweeted the LPGA they needed to review the tape and assess another stroke penalty. After waiting by the phone, I direct messaged the LPGA my phone number in case they wanted to talk to me, I finally saw online Ms. Yoo had been assessed another stroke penalty.

Now I’m sure Ms. Yoo is a fine lady and a fine golfer. After the round she said about the incident, “My arm wasn’t high enough. All I want to say is I did not try to cheat. I wasn’t even thinking about it. I just picked up my ball and dropped it instinctively.”

It must have had some affect on her, because she went from three behind after the round to shooting 74 and 75, finishing in 24th place. Well, hopefully she will learn from me calling in the rules violation. Maybe it will help her in the future. Maybe she will see a competitor violate a rule and be able to penalize her in the future.

I’ve seen and heard all the comments from players and fans saying people who call in penalties should get a life, but isn’t that what makes golf great? We can play the same courses, use the same clubs and play by the same rules. And if those rules aren’t followed, we can cost players strokes! What better way to feel part of the television coverage than to look for penalties?

Sure there are people that get paid for a living to monitor tournaments. They must not have enough, because fans calling in penalties are becoming more prevalent.

Padraig Harrington was disqualified from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship on the European Tour in 2011 for his ball moving after he replaced it on the green. Poor Padraig went from an opening round 65 and in contention to sitting on his couch. Now that one was tough to see. I had to watch the replay over ten times before I noticed it. The fan that called in that one is a pro, he or she should be on Tour.

Instead of stopping penalties being called in, I think more sports should allow fans to be involved in referring the games. Heck, the police should use it too. See an old lady jay walking … call it in. See a mom speeding in her car …  you got it, call it in.

Just a couple of days ago I tried calling the NFL offices after the refs blew a holding penalty in the Monday night game between the Panthers and Eagles. They didn’t even have anyone answering the phone! I tried tweeting Roger Goodell and he didn’t even respond. So thank goodness for the PGA, European and LPGA Tours. And thank you for letting fans feel a part of the game.

Sure I look like the petty loser who had my lunch money stolen as a kid, but so what. I changed the outcome of a golf tournament. How many of you can say that?

Click here for more discussion in the “Tour Talk” forum. 

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Seth is an avid golfer playing year round in Florida.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Rolf

    Dec 3, 2012 at 9:19 am

    Oh, this is good. It’s going to be like an airport here, with all the things flying over peoples’ heads.

  2. Harley

    Dec 2, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    No offense dude, but that is pretty terrible. I don’t mind fans calling out infractions that are blatant rules infractions but does the fact that her hand was four inches lower than it should have been have any bearing on the outcome of a golf tournament?

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Podcasts

Gear Dive: How Tiger Woods used to adjust his clubs based on swing changes

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Ben Giunta, a former Nike Tour Rep and now owner of the TheTourVan.com, joins host Johnny Wunder and TXG’s Ian Fraser on this episode of The Gear Dive. Ben discusses working in-depth with Nike Athletes before the company stopped producing hard goods. He has some fantastic intel on TW and the setup of his sticks (around the 14-minute mark). They also discuss Ben’s new endeavor.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes!

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Opinion & Analysis

The 2018 NCAA Men’s National Championship: By the Numbers

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For the 2018 NCAA Men’s Championship, 156 participants (30 teams of five, and six individuals) will collect at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Oklahoma on May 25-30 to determine the 2018 NCAA Individual Champion and the NCAA Team champion.

There will be three days of stroke play on Friday through Sunday (54 holes). From there, 15 teams and nine individuals advance to a final day of stroke play on Monday. That will determine the eight teams who will advance to match play, and the individual 72-hole stroke play champion. Match play format on Tuesday and Wednesday will then determine the national team champion.

Who will win? Well, let’s look at the numbers from the NCAA Men’s Championships in the past 9 years (when they began playing match play as part of the national title).

Average winning score for individual stroke play

  • For 3 rounds of stroke play — 832 strokes (avg. 69.3 per golfer)
  • For 4 rounds of stroke play — 1137 strokes (avg. 71.06 per golfer)

Number of No. 1 seeds to win championship: 0

Average match play seed of eventual winner: 4.5

Where the winners have come from

  • 44 percent of winners (4 out of 9) are from the SEC: Texas AM (2009), Alabama (2013, 2014) and LSU (2015)
  • 22 percent of winners (2 out of 9) are from the Big 12: Texas (2012), Oklahoma (2017)
  • 22 percent of winners (2 out of 9) are from Augusta, GA: August State (2010, 2011)
  • 11 percent of winners (1 out of 9) are from the PAC 12: Oregon (2016)
  • 11 percent of the match play field has historically come from mid-major teams

Mid-Majors that have Qualified for Match Play

  • August State (2010, 2011)
  • Kent State (2012)
  • San Diego State (2012)
  • New Mexico University (2013)
  • SMU (2014)
  • UNLV (2017)

Mid Majors with 4+ Appearances in the NCAA National Championship 

  • UCF (2009, 2012, 2013, 2017, 2018)
  • Kent State (2010, 201, 2013, 2017, 2018)
  • North Florida (2010, 2012, 2013, 2018)

So with facts in hand, let’s hear your opinion GolfWRX readers… who’s going to be your team champion for 2018?

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Opinion & Analysis

Fantasy Preview: 2018 Fort Worth Invitational

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Under a new name, but a very familiar setting, the Fort Worth Championship gets underway this week. Colonial Country Club will host, and it’s an event that has attracted some big names to compete in the final stop of the Texas swing. The top two ranked Europeans, Jon Rahm and Justin Rose are in the field, as are Americans Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler.

Colonial is a tricky course with narrow tree-lined fairways that are imperative to hit. Distance off the tee holds no real advantage this week with approach play being pivotal. Approach shots will be made more difficult this week than usual by the greens at Colonial, which are some of the smallest on the PGA Tour. Last year, Kevin Kisner held off Spieth, Rahm, and O’Hair to post 10-under par and take the title by a one-stroke margin.

Selected Tournament Odds (via Bet365)

  • Jordan Spieth 9/1
  • Jon Rahm 14/1
  • Justin Rose 18/1
  • Webb Simpson 18/1
  • Rickie Fowler 20/1
  • Jimmy Walker 28/1
  • Adam Scott 28/1

Last week, Jordan Spieth (9/1, DK Price $11,700) went off at the Byron Nelson as the prohibitive 5/1 favorite. Every man and his dog seemed to be on him, and after Spieth spoke to the media about how he felt he had a distinct advantage at a course where he is a member, it was really no surprise. Comments like this from Spieth at the Byron Nelson are not new. When the event was held at TPC Four Seasons, Spieth often made similar comments. The result? He flopped, just as he did last week at Trinity Forest. Spieth’s best finish at the Byron Nelson in his career is T-16. The reason for this, I believe, is the expectations he has put on himself at this event for years.

Switch to Colonial, and the difference is considerable. Spieth’s worst finish here is T-14. In his last three visits, he has finished second, first and second. While Spieth may believe that he should win the Byron Nelson whenever he tees it up there, the evidence suggests that his love affair is with Colonial. The statistic that truly emphasizes his prowess at Colonial, though, is his Strokes Gained-Total at the course. Since 2013, Spieth has a ridiculous Strokes Gained-Total of more than +55 on the course, almost double that of Kisner in second place.

Spieth’s long game all year has been consistently good. Over his previous 24 rounds, he ranks first in this field for Strokes Gained-Tee to Green, second for Ball Striking, and first for Strokes Gained-Total. On the other hand, his putting is awful at the moment. He had yet another dreadful performance on the greens at Trinity Forest, but he was also putting nowhere near his best coming into Colonial last year. In 2017, he had dropped strokes on the greens in his previous two events, missing the cut on both occasions, yet he finished seventh in Strokes Gained-Putting at Colonial on his way to a runner-up finish. His record is too good at this course for Spieth to be 9/1, and he can ignite his 2018 season in his home state this week.

Emiliano Grillo’s (50/1, DK Price $8,600) only missed cut in 2018 came at the team event in New Orleans, and he arrives this week at a course ideally suited to the Argentine’s game. Grillo performed well here in 2017, recording a top-25 finish. His form in 2018 leads me to believe he can improve on that this year.

As a second-shot golf course, Colonial sets up beautifully for the strengths of Grillo’s game. Over his previous 12 rounds, Grillo ranks first in Strokes Gained-Approaching the Green, second in Ball Striking, third in Strokes Gained-Tee to Green and eighth in Strokes Gained-Total. The Argentine also plays short golf courses excellently. Over his last 50 rounds, Grillo is ranked ninth for Strokes Gained-Total on courses measuring 7,200 yards or less. Colonial is right on that number, and Grillo looks undervalued to continue his consistent season on a course that suits him very well.

Another man enjoying a consistent 2018 is Adam Hadwin (66/1, DK Price $7,600), who has yet to miss a cut this season. The Canadian is enjoying an excellent run of form with five top-25 finishes from his last six stroke-play events. Hadwin is another man whose game is tailor made for Colonial. His accurate iron play and solid putting is a recipe for success here, and he has proven that by making the cut in all three of his starts at Colonial, finishing in the top-25 twice.

Hadwin is coming off his worst performance of 2018 at The Players Championship, but it was an anomaly you can chalk up to a rare poor week around the greens (he was seventh-to-last in Strokes Gained-Around the Green for the week). In his previous seven starts, Hadwin had a positive strokes gained total in this category each time. Over his last 24 rounds, Hadwin ranks seventh in Strokes Gained-Approaching the Green, 15th in Ball Striking, and ninth in Strokes Gained-Putting. He looks to have an excellent opportunity to improve on his solid record at Colonial this week.

Finally, as far as outsiders go, I like the look of Sean O’Hair (175/1, DK Price $7,100) at what is a juicy price. One of last year’s runners-up, his number is far too big this week. He has had some excellent performances so far in 2018. In fact, in his previous six starts, O’Hair has made five cuts and has notched three top-15 finishes, including his runner-up finish at the Valero Texas Open. The Texan has made three of his last four cuts at Colonial, and he looks to be an excellent pick on DraftKings at a low price.

Recommended Plays

  • Jordan Spieth 9/1, DK Price $11,700
  • Emiliano Grillo 50/1, DK Price $8.600
  • Adam Hadwin 66/1, DK Price $7,600
  • Sean O’Hair 175/1, DK Price  $7,100
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