Punch Shots: The Naked Eye Rule
Punch Shots is a collection of stories that I didn’t get around to earlier or didn’t fit into another article. I’ll give a link to a larger story and have some quick thoughts below.
This was announced as part of several rules changes, deletions and tweaks to the Rules of Golf and is effective immediately. Most of the other stuff is pretty mundane, so we’ll skip those for now, but the naked eye ruling is pretty important. Here’s the full text from the USGA, courtesy Geoff Shackelford:
New Decision 18/4 provides that, where enhanced technological evidence (e.g. HDTV, digital recording or online visual media, etc.) shows that a ball has left its position and come to rest in another location, the ball will not be deemed to have moved if that movement was not reasonably discernible to the naked eye at the time. The USGA and The R&A have issued a Joint Statement Regarding the Use of Video and Visual Evidence to further explain the governing bodies’ position on the use of this technology.
Only the USGA & R&A could set out to make the rules less complicated, but instead actually add a layer of complexity to them. There’s some thought that this ruling was a reaction to what happened to Tiger Woods at the BMW a couple of months ago, and while the governing bodies have denied that, it’s not very difficult to connect the dots here. Tiger’s ball moved to a different spot, he thought it oscillated back to the previous one and was penalized.
Presumably, Tiger would not have been penalized under this new rule since according to him, and he was closest to the ball at the time, he disagreed with the ruling. He couldn’t see it move with the naked eye. Now, rules officials will potentially have more issues to judge when it comes to intent, when the rule was pretty black and white to begin with. I really don’t think this is a step forward at all and just has the potential to lead to more issues down the road. For more, Jaime Diaz sat down with Mike Davis of the USGA to discuss the rule.
Tiger’s recruitment letter from Stanford
This comes from Jay Yarow and Business Insider. You can read a little more on the story behind it by clicking the image, but there’s definitely some interesting language that is used in this pitch.
Glen Nager’s definitely leaving the USGA
I realize that there are probably a ton of people that won’t care about this, but Ron Sirak has the story of Glen Nager and his failed bid to essentially take over the USGA. It’s your typical story of politics inside a massive organization, but it’s still worth the read for those who are curious about some of the inner workings of one of golf’s most powerful entities.
Fox Sports is off to a good start with their USGA coverage
For those of you who are unaware, Loomis was a big part of the ABC broadcasts earlier this century, and most inside the golf industry are big fans of his work. With Loomis on board, it gives the broadcast some legitimacy without question, but there are still obviously a ton of questions before Fox officially takes over in 2015. The rumours of Greg Norman heading up the colour commentary portion won’t go away, but that hasn’t been confirmed, and we still have no idea who will be doing the play-by-play. I’m not convinced that Fox will do a good job, but they’re off to a good start.
So, we heard a few weeks ago that Ted Bishop and the PGA of America were interested in Royal Portrush as a potential landing spot for their first international major when Bishop was a guest on Golf Channel’s Morning Drive. Of course, the PGA of America and the R&A haven’t really seen eye to eye on some issues recently, so it was reasonable to ask Bishop if his comments and choice of course may have been as a result of those issues, which is exactly what Matt Adams did on his radio show. Quote courtesy of Brian Keogh at the Irish Golf Desk:
“One thing that bothered me when I read the repercussions of what I said last week, some people insinuated that in some shape of form, there was another shot by Bishop at Peter Dawson and that couldn’t be further from the truth.
“I respect those guys… tremendously. If, at the same time, they have decided for whatever reason for 62 years not to take the Open Championship to Ireland, that kind of makes it open game, I guess, to a certain degree.”
I might have been willing to believe him if he didn’t drop that last sentence. With the amount of courses that would be great hosts, and Portrush is on that list, it still strikes me as odd that the one area that the PGA of America would like to use to, in their words, “grow the game”, would be one that already hosts tons of quality events. His point is well taken about the R&A not having gone to Portrush in a long time, but it’s difficult to trust his motivations here.
Steve Elling has the story on how Americans Peter Uihlein and Brooks Koepka, two of the best young players in the game, are proving that there is another path to playing the game professionally. Most elite amateur players in North America have taken the Q-School/Web.com Tour approach to starting their careers, but Uihlein and Koepka went overseas and are finding success.
With the Q-School system changing here in North America, players are essentially forced now to spend a full year on the Web.com Tour before making the jump to the PGA Tour. That’s not happening in Europe, allowing players to join the big tour right away if they’re good enough.
Luke Donald defends the beef
Luke Donald has won two tournaments in the last 18 months, which really shouldn’t be the case for the former world number one, who is supposed to be one of the most consistent players in the world. Those two tournaments also happen to be the same one, as Donald was able to defend his 2012 Dunlop Phoenix title in Japan, where he won $400,000 and also 200 pounds of Miyazaki beef, which is supposed to be pretty much the best kind of meat in the world. Hopefully it isn’t as difficult to actually get the beef over here as it was last year.
Donald moved to number 15 in the world with the win, and after a disastrous season, I’d like to think he’s got better things coming in 2014. He’s too good not to.
Steve Williams wants to sit down with Tiger
There was some thought that Tiger and former caddie Steve Williams had patched things up, but apparently that isn’t the case. Williams spoke to Paul Lewis of the New Zealand Herald, telling him:
“I think Tiger and I need to sit down and have a conversation,” Williams said. “That opportunity hasn’t arisen yet, but that’s something I’d like to do.”
I’ve seen some people suggest that there’s no chance that Tiger will do this, but I don’t think that’s true at all. We all know that Tiger isn’t the most open book out there and that he doesn’t keep the best of relationships, but after both admitted that things were better between the two, I find it hard to believe that if Williams called, that Tiger would ignore it and not meet up with him.
Lee Westwood & Billy Foster to reunite
James Corrigan has the news that Westwood and Foster, his former caddie, will be reuniting at the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge. It was a pretty big story when Westwood decided to fire Foster about a year ago for a variety of reasons. The two were really good friends and Foster was recovering from knee surgery, not to mention that the two had a really good run over the years. Apparently Chubby Chandler was able to get the two to talk, with the end result being that Westwood parted with Mike Kerr and Foster split with Branden Grace.
After a poor year by his standards, it makes sense that Westwood would be trying to change some things up. It also allows him to change into something a little more familiar, which in theory, should only help him going forward. Is he still the best player in the world without a major? I think so, and I’m sticking by my prediction that he wins the U.S. Open this year.
On the Olympics format
The World Cup of Golf actually went better than I thought it would, mostly because Royal Melbourne is fantastic and it crowned a very worthy champion in Jason Day. What it also accomplished was having people, like Day and Adam Scott, think about the upcoming 2016 Olympics and the format that the golf portion will be taking, which is standard, 72-hole stroke play.
I’m all for the best players in the world coming together to play another tournament, but surely there’s a better way to do this, right? As much as players like Tiger, Scott and others would love to play for their countries, they could easily play a regular stroke play event in the United States where it’s far more convenient. Why not do fourball play with the best players from each country playing in the same group? Or you could do some sort of bracket style elimination over a few days. We see stroke play every week, let’s try and do something even slightly different to keep some interest in the action.
Shane Bacon’s story is linked above, but man, this is more than a little ridiculous. Watson was playing Pelican Hill Golf Club with some friends and decided to try the one-club challenge with a 20-degree hybrid, with him ending up at 9-over on the par-72 layout.
For the record, Watson recently shot a 78, using all of his clubs at the CIMB Classic.
“We are very pleased the proceedings against Rory have been resolved. We enjoyed an excellent relationship with Rory as an Oakley brand ambassador,” said Pat McIlvain, VP of Oakley Sports Marketing, in a statement. “He conducted all his engagements on our behalf with energy and professionalism. We recognize that, in his business dealings with us that were the subject matter of this dispute, Rory was represented by his agent.”
“I always had an excellent working relationship with Oakley’s representatives and I am delighted the case is now behind me,” McIlroy said in the same statement.
So, one down and one to go for Rory. With Oakley gone, his focus will shift to his larger court battle with his former handlers, Horizon Sports Management. That ordeal isn’t expected to wrap up for several months, so we’re going to continue hearing about that one for some time. Between these situations, his subpar season, including his WD from the Honda and the media’s obsession with his personal life, I’m sure Rory can’t wait for the 2014 season to begin.
Ian Poulter and Henrik Stenson to get radio shows
Last week, several different places reported that Poulter and Stenson would get their own radio shows on SiriusXM’s PGA Tour Radio, and to be honest, I can’t imagine many other players who would be better than these two at hosting a radio show. There’s no further information about what the shows will look like, but they will be entertaining if you’re a serious golf fan, but I’m sure there are at least a few people who are rolling their eyes at giving Poulter another platform to promote whatever he wants.
Man getting hit by golf ball
I’ll end off with one of golf’s best personalities, Chi Chi Rodriguez, getting hit in the groin or leg on Big Break. Truly one of the best GIFs of the year.
The good news is that Chi Chi managed to recover and break the glass and then do his trademark sword celebration.
I think I speak for everyone when I say that I hope that never happens to me.