Originally Posted by rustyredcab
The PGA will be under pressure to follow the LPGA's lead and start cracking down
Uh, not exactly. This was an absolute silver platter for Tim Finchem. It's been quite hilarious to sample various sites, with proponents of slow play penalization positively giddy at the LPGA incident. Classic case of no clue what you're looking at, situational impact flying over heads like Tiger's yanked second shot at Wells Fargo a few weeks ago.
The LPGA incident remarkably combined four aspects that the PGA wants no part of, and manages to avoid with its quiet after-the-fact policy...fines only:
* Questionable on the spot interpretation, considering the variables at hand
* Grandstanding rules official
* Penalized player who is not considered a slow play problem
* Altered outcome in a marquee event
It's like Finchem ordered up a case of softener, and the trucks didn't stop pulling up to his house for a week. For one thing, just look at this thread. The word "if" must appear 1000 times.
Among the four aspects, I'll start with the last. It's comical to propose Pressel was never three ahead. Of all the sites I've sampled, only here does that desperate claim show up. At the end of the hole, the official scorer called out the score for Pressel and Munoz, followed by "Pressel 3 Up." Identical to every hole of the entire tournament. To propose that she was never 3 up is every bit as absurd as insisting a horse never crossed the line first in a race in which he was subsequently disqualified. It requires stewards' judgment to make that call, similar to Doug Brecht's input here. The horse's number is atop the tote board until the subjective verdict, just like "Pressel 3 Up" stood on the placard until the next tee. Granted, some fragile LSU fans never granted USC's share of 2003, let along the full 2004 title, and were delirious once the NCAA intervened and declared the 55-19 victory over Oklahoma essentially never happened.
It's also lame to suggest we don't know who would have won. As someone who deals with applied probability and sporting events literally every day, i think I have a good idea. Pressel was 10/13 (-130) favorite entering the match. With a 3 hole lead and 6 to play, the edge explodes to nearly 1/20 (-2000). I realize the media was too dense to explain it in those terms, just like they were still trying to pretend the GOP nomination was a horse race when Romney's trading price was above 95%. With a 1 hole lead and 6 remaining, Pressel was roughly 4/9 (-225), which is a nice edge but basically the same thing as a 5 point favorite in a football game.
The math would not have veered nearly as dramatically if the call had flopped the situation from 1 up to 1 down, or All Square from 2 Up.
Toward #3, Pressel is never mentioned among the most deliberate players on tour. It's like an NFL personal foul with the second guy caught, the less offensive action. According to LPGA blogger Tony Jesselli, who attended Sybase and briefly appeared on camera at the end, Azahara Munoz is now considered the slowest player on tour. Previously it was Sandra Gal, who was publicly ripped by several players, including Christina Kim, but Gal's higher profile status apparently pushed her to pick up the pace.
Fining after the fact allows Finchem to avoid any danger of Ben Crane starting the clock and Bubba Watson caught in the speed trap. Extreme example, but a week ago I wouldn't have believed Pressel.
Regarding #2 -- grandstanding official -- notice how the PGA handled the Dustin Johnson case, briefly calling him aside on the 18th green, then dealing with the specifics inside the trailer. That's the same private approach the tour has always taken, dating to DiVicenzo if not earlier. The LPGA has no problem making a spectacle of the Michelle Wie hazard incident, already cited in this thread, so naturally Doug Brecht decides it's ideal to wait until the next tee box -- and plenty of cameras -- to confront Pressel with his loud pronouncement. Then Brecht readily accepts TV interviews and spews nonsense, like "rules of the game." Finchem has to love the contrast at every turn. He knows darn well if he penalizes strokes during a round it's inevitably going to lead to reaction from the player in a public setting, attitude from the gallery, scrutiny toward the rules official, and focus on everything other than the golf and the result.
On #1 -- questionable interpretation -- golf simply doesn't mesh with shot clock conformity. Too many unforeseen variables as an outdoor climate influenced sport on uneven terrain. Jerry Foltz somehow is summoned as the ultimate authority in this thread. Strange, because I don't remember him on LPGA telecasts prior to 2011. He's unquestionably a recent expert following Yani Tseng's group. Judy Rankin hardly applauded the ruling although she always steers toward the company line. Phil Parkin's version is ignored even though he was on site and reporting for Golf Channel also, with a deeper history covering LPGA events than (Nationwide) Foltz, including Solheim Cup match play dating to 2009 if not earlier. Parkin thought the penalty was unjust, emphasizing the gust that suddenly confronted Pressel on the 12th tee. She went to the bag and changed clubs herself, minus any type of discussion with her caddie, let alone what we've come to view as the norm within the PGA. On her second shot, relatively short (5-5) Morgan was left with a severely uphill nearly blind shot out of heavy rough. That type of shot suggests more practice swings than typical to gauge the required weight, and you can't see the target, a fairly significant variable. It was hardly a Michael Breed pitch into the net from a perfect lie in controlled conditions.
Eight minutes behind pace. Gad. Twenty-nine seconds tardy. To borrow from Monty Python -- Burn the witch! Burn her! Burn her!
IMO, it was a 100% gutless move by the LPGA, buffered by the recent conniption toward slow play. Brecht sensed he could call any penalty under that theme and be applauded by the masses. The LPGA earns no benefit of a doubt, from those of use who actually follow it event to event instead of inheriting something to scream about. The scrutiny toward slow play is indeed arbitrary and imbalanced, by any definition. During Sybase two other players drew fines, according to tour spokesman Heather Daly-Donofrio, but only Pressel was penalized during play. Very frequently when the stroke penalties, or slow play in general, are mentioned on the specialized LPGA blogs you get a sense how inequitable the process can be. Somebody else correctly pointed out in this thread that the tour officials don't monitor every group. On the blog Life on Tour, run by an LPGA caddie, the thread from May 19th includes a comment from an LPGA caddie who posts regularly to that site under the name bocajr. He posted that he was in the group in Phoenix earlier this year when a player was saddled with a 2 shot penalty. In his view it was improper, a bad time. Bocajr emphasized that the player has no recourse to challenge the ruling unless two separate times are recorded, and they conflict. He wrote that different officials start the clock at different times, no matter what they want you to believe.
Imagine if Candie Kung were on the clock when her ball hit the sprinkler head and bounded into knee high mush in front of the electrical box? 30 seconds, ma'am. Golf Channel cameramen committed a far more heinous act than anything Pressel managed when they brilliantly positioned themselves smack across the green from Kung's swipe, with the ball smacking into a portable camera on the ground, prevented from tumbling into the bunker. Yet not a peep. Altered shot on the 17th hole of the match play final yet we're stressed over 29 seconds, and in an event in which slow play hadn't even been an issue. Read any of the articles prior to Pressel/Munoz, or watch the Golf Channel coverage of days one through three. Nobody was fretting the pace of play. It was whine, and penalty, in search of a problem.
BTW, I seldom debate back and forth on message boards. That leads to all the juvenile loss of temper and unfortunate words. The exchanges read pathetic from afar. But in this case I've seldom witnessed greater domination on a topic than brocks' input. It reached the point I couldn't believe anyone else continued to flail.
Edited by Awsi Dooger - 5/23/12 at 9:18pm