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In this week’s Tech Tuesday, we look at how technology influenced Lexi Thompson’s loss at the ANA Inspiration, Rory McIlroy’s last-minute equipment changes for The Masters and Mizuno introducing new blade irons.

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Paul

    Apr 16, 2017 at 1:30 am

    I want to first take this subject in a slightly different direction. First, let us get over the myth that you can actually replace a ball exactly in the place were you marked it. A player can probably eyeball it to get within a couple of millimeters, but it is not going to be in the same place if for no reason than the player changes the resting location by picking up the ball in the first place. Second, this is complicated by the use of round markers. I have my doubts that the makers of the rules would have considered Lexi’s “misplacement” of the ball a rules infraction. The movement was around the 180 degrees facing towards the hole placement. So a golfer has to establish a line with no fewer than three points – the ball, the marker, and the hole through what may be a sloping green – to somewhat accurately replace the ball from a standing position that will not in itself be terribly accurate. Those round objects lie! Without a marker with a definitive line and arrow to establish the “true direction” and point where the ball should be replaced, I guarantee this happens all of the time and has happened among the best players of the ages on occasion by accident. Third, unless we are allowed to review camera coverage of every player in the field equally, this is going to clearly impact the leaders and the marquee players disproportionately because there will be more opportunities for people with nothing better to do to “officiate” inadvertent “letter of rules” infractions which have no actual bearing on the outcome of play and probably go well beyond what the actual makers of the rules intended.

  2. RG

    Apr 9, 2017 at 11:02 am

    Just got done watching the Sports Reporters on ESPN lambaste this ruling, and the bodies that support it. “when is golf going to understand the difference between the letter of the law and the spirit of he law?’ said one of the commentators. They went on to make fun of signing a scorecard when everybody already knows what a golfer has shot.
    The days of the rise of E sports is upon us. continuing to to be ridiculous in ones approach and ones belief in archaic rule structures is only hurting the game. If you continue to handout $100,000 dollar fines for jay walking you are only driving new players from the game. Think about what you are saying and expressing when you issue rulings in this manner and in this extreme.

  3. Sandy Bunker

    Apr 8, 2017 at 4:56 am

    Cheating speaks volumes about a Professional Golfer………….

  4. Dave R

    Apr 7, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    Yes well it’s called cheating sorry but that’s the fact.

  5. mike

    Apr 6, 2017 at 9:12 am

    I don’t get it. Yes it’s not nice to find out about the penalty the next day. But it would not have been an issue if Lexi had replaced the ball correctly. The European tour has banned a player for this in the past. She may not have intended to do it, but she did do it. The rule of golf are there to protect the field.
    https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2011/jan/18/elliot-saltman-three-month-golf-ban

  6. Blingy

    Apr 6, 2017 at 1:24 am

    Spectators and others not involved in the event as a player or official should not have their comments taken into consideration for deciding the outcome of an event. Once the player, the marker and the officials have accepted a card that sould be the end of the scoring. The on course and internet commentators can discuss whatever they like but it should have no bearing on the result.

    • S Hitter

      Apr 6, 2017 at 3:42 am

      As an honourable, professional golfer, even if the scorecard would be accepted on the spot, if you saw the video after the fact, and it is irrefutable video evidence that will live on forever in our web for all time, you would die just thinking that you cheated, even if not intentionally, that you did not pay attention to the letter of the rules, that you did make a total blunder for all the world to see for ever and ever, you would never live it down and would probably concede the trophy to the 2nd placed player to save face. If you are an honourable, self-respecting player, that is. Such is golf, as it should be, if you respect the game and yourself, and the rules, and officials, and your comrades and fellow competitors and families and friends and the media. Of course, you would put the spot on the 2nd placed player, and she would have a hard time accepting it, so there will have to have been a caucus as to how the situation would be handled, such is the game of golf.

  7. Pingback: Masters Wednesday Link Roll – DJ’s tumble, Jack on Lexi and everything Augusta | GolfJay

  8. D

    Apr 5, 2017 at 10:19 pm

    Deflategate! The golf ball moved because it was deflated!

  9. Chuck

    Apr 5, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    About the supposed “delay.” You don’t know who made the report, how it was discovered and exactly how it was reported.

    Here are some totally reasonable hypotheticals that would explain.

    Scenario One: A guy who is a local or state rules official is watching the tournament and sees the infraction. He is convinced there is a need to report it, but has no idea who to call or write. He calls his state golf association, and asks who knows somebody at the LPGA. It’s Saturday afternoon. They promise to relay a message. Unaware of any urgency, somebody gets back to somebody, messages get relayed and finally on Sunday an email address is relayed to the person who needs it.

    Scenario Two: A guy who is not any sort of Rules official sees what he thinks is suspicious on television. Has no idea what to do. Has dinner on Saturday night at his club, with the club pro and the tournament committee chairman, and mentions the violation. They talk it over; sounds interesting. Nobody has a recording of the event. They agree to talk to the lady assistant pro the next day; she DVR’s all of the LPGA events for swing ideas and teaching. They look at her recording. And then they call the LPGA, and try to get the right email address.

    Et cetera, et cetera. See how the possibilities are endless? Nothing but earnest intentions. Presume bad intentions if you want; I don’t really care. But just remember that they don’t have a crawl-graphic at the bottom of the screen on every golf telecast, giving people the Tour hotline number and email address, in case you see a Rules violation. People have to work at it. Even when an ultimate Rules insider like David Eger saw a violation on a Masters telecast, he had to pull strings, to get a telephone message to Fred Ridley. Tiger was so lucky that they did that.

    As a thought experiment, just consider what you’d do to try to report a rules violation. You can get a phone number for the LPGA offices in Daytona Beach; but I haven’t tried calling them on a Saturday evening, or a Sunday morning. I’ll bet you can’t reach anybody personally. None of their tournament officials offer any contact info on their website.

    I don’t presume to answer all of the “delay” questions. But I don’t think that anybody — at least not based on the info we have — can claim that there is anything wrong or unreasonable about any “delay” in this case.

    It’s unfortunate; but as the first commenter rightly noted, very simply. She breached the Rule.

  10. Bert

    Apr 5, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    No, she violated the Rules of Golf.

    • setter02

      Apr 6, 2017 at 7:22 am

      They pretty well all do with lift, clean and cheat. Laughable to see how far the ball gets moved at times.

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Club Junkie

Club Junkie: Reviewing Callaway’s NEW Apex UW and Graphite Design’s Tour AD UB shaft

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Callaway’s new Apex UW wood blends a fairway wood and hybrid together for wild distance and accuracy. The UW is easy to hit and crazy long but also lets skilled players work the ball however they would like. Graphite Design’s new Tour AD UB shaft is a new stout mid-launch and mid/low-spin shaft. Smooth and tight, this shaft takes a little more of the left side out of shots.

 

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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: Your game vs. The pros

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I know most of us like to watch golf on TV. Seeing these marvelous (mostly) young athletes do these amazing things with a golf ball makes for great theater. But the reality is that they play a very different game than we do, and they play it differently as well.

I’ve long contended that most rank-and-file recreational golfers cannot really learn a whole lot by watching men’s professional golf on TV. It would be like watching NASCAR or Formula One racing and looking for tips on how to be a better driver.

The game is different. The athletes are different. And the means to an end are entirely different. Let me offer you some things to ponder in support of this hypothesis.

First, these tour professionals ARE highly skilled and trained athletes. They spend time in the gym every day working on flexibility, strength, and agility. Then they work on putting and short game for a few hours, before going to the range and very methodically and deliberately hit hundreds of balls.

Now, consider that the “typical” recreational golfer is over 45 years old, likely carrying a few extra pounds, and has a job, family or other life requirements that severely limit practice time. Regular stretching and time at the gym are not common. The most ardent will get in maybe one short range session a week, and a few balls to warm up before a round of golf.

The tour professionals also have a complete entourage to help them optimize their skills and talents. It starts with an experienced caddie who is by their side for every shot. Then there are the swing coaches, conditioning coaches, mental coaches, and agents to handle any “side-shows” that could distract them. You, on the other hand, have to be all of those to your game.

Also, realize they play on near-perfect course conditions week to week. Smooth greens, flawless fairways cut short to promote better ball-striking — even bunkers that are maintained to PGA Tour standards and raked to perfection by the caddies after each shot.

Watch how perfectly putts roll; almost never wavering because of a spike mark or imperfection, and the holes are almost always positioned on a relatively flat part of the green. You rarely see a putt gaining speed as it goes by the hole, and grain is a non-factor.

So, given all that, is it fair for to you compare your weekly round (or rounds) to what you see on television?

The answer, of course, is NO. But there ARE a lot of things you can learn by watching professional golf on TV, and that applies to all the major tours.

THINK. As you size up any shot, from your drive to the last putt, engage your mind and experience. What side of the fairway is best for my approach? Where is the safe side of the flag as I play that approach? What is the best realistic outcome of this chip or pitch? What do I recall about the slope of this green and its speed? Use your brain to give yourself the best chance on every shot.

FOCUS. These athletes take a few minutes to drown out the “noise” and put their full attention to every shot. But we all can work to learn how to block out the “noise” and prepare ourselves for your best effort on every shot. It only takes a few additional seconds to get “in the zone” so your best has a chance to happen.

PAY ATTENTION TO DETAILS. You have complete control over your set-up, ball position and alignment, so grind a bit to make sure those basics are right before you begin your swing. It’s amazing to me how little attention rank-and-file golfers pay to these basics. And I’m firmly convinced that the vast majority of bad shots are “pre-ordained” because these basics are not quite right.

SHAKE IT OFF. The game is one shot at a time – the next one. That has been preached over and over, and something most pros do exceedingly well. Very often you see them make a birdie right after a bogey or worse, because the professional bears down on these three basics more after he had just slacked on them and made a bogey or worse.

MEDIOCRE SHOTS ARE THE NORM. And those will be interspersed with real bad ones and real good ones. Those guys are just like us, in that “mediocre” is the norm (relatively speaking, that is). So go with that. Shake off the bad ones and bask in the glory of the good ones – they are the shots that keep us coming back.

Let me dive into that last point a bit deeper, because some of you might find it strange that I claim that “mediocre shots are the norm,” even for tour professionals. First, let’s agree that a “mediocre” shot for a 20-handicap player looks quite different that what a tour pro would consider “mediocre.” Same goes for a “poor shot.” But a great shot looks pretty much the same to all of us – a well-struck drive that splits the fairway, an approach that leaves a reasonable birdie putt, a chip or pitch for an up-and-down, and any putt that goes in the hole.

Finally, I will encourage all of you – once again – to make sure you are playing from a set of tees that tests your skills in proportion to how their courses test theirs. This past weekend, for example, the winner shot 25 under par “on the card” . . . but consider that Summit had four reachable par-fives (most with iron shots) and a drivable par-four, so I contend it was really a “par 68” golf course at best. Based on that “adjusted par”, then only 20 players beat that benchmark by more than 5 shots for the week. So, obviously, the rest pretty much played “mediocre” golf (for them).

So, did your last round have at least one or two par-fives you can reach with two shots? And did you hit at least 10-12 other approach shots with a short iron or wedge in your hands? More likely, you played a “monster” course (for you) that had zero two-shot par fives and several par-fours that you could not reach with two of your best wood shots. And your typical approach shot was hit with a mid-iron or hybrid.

The game is supposed to be fun – and playing the right tees can make sure it has a chance to be just that. Paying attention to these basics for every shot can help you get the most out of whatever skills you brought to the links on any given day.

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Opinion & Analysis

The ghost of Allan Robertson: A few thoughts on the distance debate

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It’s that time of year in certain parts of the world. Ghosts, ghouls, and ghoblins roam the lawns. Departed ancestors return to these fields to visit with living descendants. It’s also a time (is it ever not?) when curmudgeons and ancients decry the advances of technology in the world of golf equipment.

Pretty big narrative leap, I’ll admit, but I have your attention, aye? An October 16th tweet from noted teacher Jim McClean suggested that it would be fun to see PGA Tour players tee it up for one week with wooden heads and a balata ball.

Others beg for a rolling-back of technological potency, raising property acreage as a critical determinant. Fact is, 90 percent of golfers have no experience with hitting the ball too far, nor with outgrowing a golf course. And yet, the cries persist.

Recently, I was awakened from a satisfying slumber by the ghost of Allan Robertson. The long-dead Scot was in a lather, equal parts pissed at Old Tom Morris for playing a guttie, and at three social-media channels, all of which had put him on temporary suspension for engaging violently with unsupportive followers. He also mentioned the inaccuracies of his Wikipedia page, which credits him for a 100-year old business, despite having only spent the better part of 44 years on this terrestrial sphere. Who knew that the afterlife offered such drip internet access?

I’m not certain if Old Tom cared (or was even alive) that his beloved gutta percha ball was replaced by the Haskell. I believe him to have been preoccupied with the warming of the North Sea (where he took his morning constitutional swims) and the impending arrival of metal shafts and laminated-wood heads. Should that also long-dead Scot pay me a nighttime visit, I’ll be certain to ask him. I do know that Ben Hogan gave no sheets about technology’s advances; he was in the business of making clubs by then, and took advantage of those advances. Sam Snead was still kicking the tops of doors, and Byron Nelson was pondering the technological onslaught of farriers, in the shoeing of horses on his ranch.

And how about the women? Well, the ladies of golfing greatness have better things to do than piss and moan about technology. They concern themselves with what really matters in golf and in life. Sorry, fellas, it’s an us-problem. Records are broken thanks to all means of advancement. Want to have some fun? Watch this video or this video or this video. If you need much more, have a reassessment of what matters.

Solutions

Either forget the classic courses or hide the holes. Classic golf courses cannot stand up in length alone to today’s professional golfers. Bringing in the rough takes driver out of their hands, and isn’t a course supposed to provide a viable challenge to every club in the bag? Instead, identify four nearly-impossible locations on every putting surface, and cut the hole in one of them, each day. Let the fellows take swings at every par-4 green with driver, at every par-five green with driver and plus-one. Two things will happen: the frustration from waiting waiting waiting will eliminate the mentally-weak contestants, and the nigh-impossible putting will eliminate even more of them. What will happen with scoring? I don’t know. Neither did Old Tom Morris, Robert Tyre Jones, Jr., Lady Heathcoat Amory, or Mildred Didrickson, when new technology arrived on the scene. They shrugged their shoulders, stayed away from Twitter and the Tok, and went about their business.

Add the tournament courses. Build courses that can reach 8,500 yards in length, and hold events on those layouts. Two examples from other sports: the NFL made extra points longer. Has it impacted game results? Maybe. The NBA kept the rim at ten feet. Has it impacted game results? Maybe. We don’t play MLB or MLS on ancient diamonds and pitches. We play their matches and games on technologically-advanced surfaces. Build/Retrofit a series of nondescript courses as tournament venues. Take the par-5 holes to 700 yards, then advance the par-4 fairways to 550 yards. Drive and pitch holes check-in at 400 yards, at least until Bryson DeChambeau and Kyle Berkshire figure a few more things out.

Note to the young guys and the old guys from this 55-year old guy: live your era, then let it go. I know things.

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