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  1. We're in that special hell of rules controversies with the implementation of the new Rules of Golf. There have been some growing pains with the new rules, and that has allowed the golf media to tee off on its favorite target, the USGA. Which, to be fair, can make itself an easy target: https://www.golfdigest.com/story/despite-harsh-words-from-some-tour-pros-usga-pleased-with-roll-out-of-new-rules-of-golf. That aside, I wanted to talk about the "controversy" about the knee-height drop that the Rules now require. Rickie Fowler got a one stroke penalty for dropping from shoulder height this past weekend. Cue the complaining from him: https://golfweek.com/2019/02/22/rickie-fowler-hit-with-one-shot-penalty-for-illegal-drop-at-wgc-mexico-championship/ I can forgive him - he just had a brain fart, probably didn't gain an advantage in this situation, it cost him money. I'm always annoyed when I get a penalty, personally, and it's absolutely never my fault, okay? But cue the pearl clutching from the media: https://www.golf.com/news/2019/02/25/backstopping-pro-tours-under-policed/ I'm here to tell you that this is wrong, and knee-height drops actually make a ton of sense. One of the best things the new Rules do is simplify dropping. Now, all you have to do when dropping is land the ball in the relief area (without touching you or your equipment before hitting the ground) and ensure the ball comes to rest in the relief area. If you don't do this, you have to redrop. Pretty simple. Yes, you have to figure out what your relief area is, but that's pretty simple, too. (For a fuller explanation of this, see Rule 14 and the definitions in the Rules of Golf.) The old rules were much more complex. Specifically, if your ball rolled to one of 9 areas after you dropped it, you had to redrop. For example, if your ball rolled more than 2 club lengths away from where your ball hit the ground, you had to redrop. You had to know all of these 9 areas to know if you needed to redrop or not. So, the new way is simpler, right? Instead of learning 9 different triggers for a redrop, you only have to learn 1. Great! Why am I talking about when you have to redrop? This is why we're dropping from knee height. Generally, under the new Rules, your ball cannot go as far after hitting the ground as it used to without triggering a redrop. Dropping from knee height reduces the chance that a redrop will be necessary. It also means that a ball has less of a chance of embedding in sand when you drop it. It makes a ton of sense, really. Now, you might say, that's all fine, but why not allow dropping a ball from anywhere above knee height? I think you could easily game the rules to be able to place the ball when you really want to by simply dropping from shoulder height instead of knee height. Think about dropping on a side slope, for example. You're much more likely to have to redrop and place if you drop the ball from a higher point. Sure, this is rare, but why take the chance? We're all on the same page, right? Knee-height drops make a lot of sense. (If you want to know more about the changes to dropping, this is an excellent article that talks about this in a bit more detail: https://rulesgeeks.com/2018/12/30-days-of-2019-rules-changes-day-16-procedure-for-dropping-a-ball-in-playing-it-from-a-relief-area/) Now to the point of all of this: golf media, please take 5 minutes to understand the rule before issuing a HAWT TAKE about the rule. The USGA has a one page sheet that explains the rule: http://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules-hub/rules-modernization/major-changes/new-procedure-for-dropping-a-ball.html. You don't come off very well when you fail to read that. I know it's fun and easy to just mindlessly bash the USGA, but they do get things right. This is one of them. (Oh and by the way, the Rules are actually really good, as a whole. Maybe I'll talk about that in another post later.)
  2. No sense in delaying… let's get right into it! Kickstarter of the Year These members started the topics that had the most posts throughout 2017. I did not count any topics started by myself (like some major championship topics, or "What'd you shoot today?," and I didn't consider wildly off-topic (non-golf) threads, either. These topics that survived and came out on top saw a lot of great discussion. KOTY #3: TST's Bronze Kickstarter of the Year is… @Wally Fairway, for starting a thread about the British Open. Tiger held the lead at one point, standing on the 10th tee, before making a double and a bogey and falling to the very, very steady Francesco Molinari. KOTY #2: TST's Silver Kickstarter of the Year is… @Valleygolfer, for starting what would ultimately become the Tiger Woods Catch-All Discussion topic. Yes, the topic still dates back to 2014, but it received the second-most posts in 2018 from a non-staff-member-started topic. This marks the third straight year this topic has finished second. This year this is somewhat surprising… seeing as how Tiger came back and even WON an event this year! KOTY #1: TST's Gold Kickstarter of the Year is… @lastings somehow managed to post a topic that wasn't entirely Tiger-centric, and yet which received the most posts in 2018*. Granted, Tiger played in the Ryder Cup, winning one point, which was nowhere near enough to help the U.S. squad win on European soil. Maybe in 2022… :sigh: * The most posts were actually in topics 96205 (5 Minutes Daily Practice), 96860 (Masters Discussion Topic), 2203 (Jack vs. Tiger for GOAT), 97462 (U.S. Open Discussion), but those were started by staff or members who have not visited in quite some time. Rookie of the Year These members joined the site within the last month of 2017 or any time in 2018 and amassed the most reputation points while remaining in good standing throughout the year (only points earned in 2018 count). Just as you'd expect, of course! These members have a bright future ahead of themselves! Note: winning Rookie of the Year does not preclude you from also winning Member of the Year awards. It'd be like a rookie in a major sport also winning the MVP - it can happen. It just didn't happen this year… 😄 ROTY #3: TST's Bronze Rookie of the Year is… With 48 reputation points… @ChetlovesMer! Chet joined TST at the late date of August 21, 2018! ROTY #2: TST's Silver Rookie of the Year is… With a grand total of 122 points, and having joined us early in 2018, on January 29… @GrandStranded! ROTY #1: TST's Gold Rookie of the Year is… With a whopping 131 reputation votes in total, a member who joined the TST community on the very last day of 2017 (December 31), and a guy whose username I don't even try to pronounce… @HJJ003! Congratulations! Now, it's on to the big one. The one we've all been waiting for. The… Member of the Year These members are the best of the best. They amassed the most reputation points during the calendar year 2016, and remained in good standing throughout the year. Their peers - you guys and gals - felt their posts were worthy of the most thanks, skins, fist bumps, high fives, or reputation, whatever you want to call it. These are the elite. The people who make insightful posts that help further the discussion… even if you disagree with them occasionally. Or frequently. Reminder: staff (me, @nevets88, @billchao, @NCGolfer, @boogielicious, @tristanhilton85, @mchepp, @georgep, @Pretzel, @Shindig, @mvmac, @RandallT, in no particular order) are ineligible for yearly awards, or we would have taken home some hardware here. But, moderating you fine folks is prize enough, and we thank you for your contributions to our community here! Without further ado… MOTY #3: TST's Bronze Member of the Year is… This member has a current content count of 3,896 and joined the site on January 14, 2015. He plays about as much golf as anyone here despite having a mostly full-time job, a wife, and enjoying traveling and meeting up with people. He's a two-time Newport Cup participant, and he's made the most of his 3900 posts, and rarely posts something which doesn't stop to make people think, whether you agree or disagree with him. He's been a single digit golfer for a while now, and racked up 220 reputation points during 2018… our bronze award winning Member of the Year is @DaveP043! MOTY #2: TST's Silver Member of the Year is… This member joined on May 29, 2014. He does things his own way, which is fine, and doesn't really get into the instructional conversations too often except to occasionally offer some of his own experiential advice. He plays to about a 15 index, and doesn't take this site (or golf) too seriously, because he realizes that at some level, golf is just a silly game. With 4,853 posts, and 270 reputation points earned in 2018 alone, the silver Member of the Year for 2018 is… @Patch! MOTY #1: TST's Gold Member of the Year is… Now it's time for the big cheese. When this member isn't shanking the ball (or complaining about shanking the ball), he posts on TST with a little bit of attitude, which is fine. He's passionate about his golf, and he's a lifelong student of the game. He's bald, he joined the site one day after my birthday on March 24, 2014, and he's amassed 3,240 posts in his time here at TST. In 2018, this member blew away earned 0.833 points per day (for a total of 304 points). The best of the best of the best, the Brooks Koepka (?) of TST for 2018, the cream of the crop… @Vinsk!
  3. Happy birthday! Today, according to their profiles, is the birthday of the following awesome members: @nevets88 @bones75 @moriwali @parman @Txrcustomcaraudio If you haven't yet added your birthday, click on your profile, click "Edit Profile," and add the date to your birthday. If you don't want to share your birth year, just choose "Not Telling" for the birth year. Again, happy birthday! New year's babies, all of you, it would seem.
  4. No sense in delaying… let's get right into it! Kickstarter of the Year These members started the topics that had the most posts throughout 2017. I did not count any topics started by myself (like some major championship topics, or "What'd you shoot today?," and I didn't consider wildly off-topic (non-golf) threads, either. These topics that survived and came out on top saw a lot of great discussion. Honorable mentions go to @smellysell for Winter Depression Thread and @Runnin for Is Golf More Mental or Physical?. KOTY #3: TST's Bronze Kickstarter of the Year is… @Wally Fairway, for starting a thread about the British Open. Who could have predicted that Jordan Spieth would take such a meandering route in capturing the title over Matt Kuchar? KOTY #2: TST's Silver Kickstarter of the Year is… @Valleygolfer, for starting what would ultimately become the Tiger Woods Catch-All Discussion topic. Yes, the topic was from 2014, but it received the second-most posts in 2017. This marks the second straight year this topic has finished second. KOTY #1: TST's Gold Kickstarter of the Year is… @dennyjones, for starting one of the more controversial topics of 2017, back in very early April! Was Lexi trying to cheat when she replaced her ball an inch from where it should have been replaced? Careless? Should viewers be allowed to call in? Was it even a viewer? Was Lexi a victim? This had it all… mystery, intrigue, sex appeal (well, as much as we get in golf), tears, a major championship on the line… and so much more. Rookie of the Year These members joined the site within the last month of 2016 or any time in 2017 and amassed the most reputation points while remaining in good standing throughout the year (only points earned in 2017 count). Just as you'd expect, of course! These members have a bright future ahead of themselves! Note: winning Rookie of the Year does not preclude you from also winning Member of the Year awards. It'd be like a rookie in a major sport also winning the MVP - it can happen. It just didn't happen this year… ROTY #3: TST's Bronze Rookie of the Year is… With 54 reputation points… @MarvChamp! Marv joined us on January 8, 2017. ROTY #2: TST's Silver Rookie of the Year is… With a grand total of 76 points, and having joined us only on the very last day of 2016, December 31… @Denny Bang Bang! BTW, this marks the first time two users with "denny" in their name have won anything here! ROTY #1: TST's Gold Rookie of the Year is… With a whopping 101 reputation votes in total, a member who joined the TST community on February 8, 2017, and a guy whose username I mispronounce in my head even after knowing that his last name is Kline… @klineka! Now, it's on to the big one. The one we've all been waiting for. The… Member of the Year These members are the best of the best. They amassed the most reputation points during the calendar year 2016, and remained in good standing throughout the year. Their peers - you guys and gals - felt their posts were worthy of the most thanks, skins, fist bumps, high fives, or reputation, whatever you want to call it. These are the elite. The people who make insightful posts that help further the discussion… even if you disagree with them occasionally. Or frequently. Reminder: staff are ineligible for yearly awards, or else myself, @mvmac, and @RandallT would have taken home some hardware here depending on where the line is drawn for "staff." MOTY #3: TST's Bronze Member of the Year is… This member joined the site on February 26, 2012 and had a down year in posting because his kids are just getting to that age where they require a bit more attention (and coaching, and dropping off, and picking up, and attending activities, and spending nights watching movies, and taking to the golf course occasionally), but aren't yet independent enough to drive themselves, or get a ride with a friend, or think that their parents are "weird" and "would embarrass them" (oh, it's coming!). With 16,674 items of content (total, not in one year, that'd be crazy!), 123 days won (total), and a now 0-1-1 record in the Newport Cup following a crushing defeat at the hands (or clubs?) of the dominant East (Blue) Team, and a grand total of 475 points won during 2017, the bronze award winning Member of the Year is @Golfingdad! MOTY #2: TST's Silver Member of the Year is… This member has a current content count of only 3,452 and joined the site on January 14, 2015. He plays almost as much golf as @kpaulhus, despite, like Kyle, remaining employed. He's made the most of his 3500 posts, though, and rarely posts something which doesn't stop to make people think, whether you agree or disagree with him. He's been a single digit golfer for a while now, but achieved his career low handicap index for several months throughout the summer of 2017. With a 1-0-1 record, a victory as a member of the East (Blue) Team over the Evil Empire from the West, 61 days won in total, and a rather massive 582 reputation points earned during 2017… our silver award winning Member of the Year is @DaveP043! MOTY #1: TST's Gold Member of the Year is… Now it's time for the big cheese. Unlike the previous two members, despite qualifying on handicap, this member chose not to attempt to participate in the Newport Cup. Despite taunting some of us northerners during the winter months, this gentleman usually has nice things to say and does so well enough and often enough to garner the most reputation points in 2017. He joined the TST community a few weeks days before my daughter @NatalieB turned six, back on November 3, 2008. Since joining, he's won 81 days since, has posted 12,674 items of content, and blew away the competition with 758 points amassed in 2017! WOW! The best of the best of the best, this year's cream of the cream of the cream (yuck?!) of the crop… @David in FL!
  5. Tomorrow, I'm going to post the yearly awards for our three main awards: Member of the Year, Rookie of the Year, and Kickstarter of the Year. Winners of the Gold, Silver, and Bronze level will be chosen. If you'd like to increase your odds* of winning and you're not already a Supporter of the site, there's still time to become a Supporter. * If there's an exact tie, and one member is a Supporter and the other is not, I'll choose the Supporter to win the award. 2014: 2015:
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