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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. Here is the video: Here are some photos from the video: I thought watching live (well, watching the first time, recorded on my DVR later in the evening) that he had improved his lie. You can certainly see more of the ball after he soles his club than before. But I'm leaning toward "inconclusive." This type of activity reportedly occurs frequently on the PGA Tour and people look the other way all the time.
  3. Just what is going on with Jordan's putting? Arguably his best weapon since joining the tour, it's suddenly gone. Sure, all players have elements of their game go into "the funky zone", but this has been both long in the tooth and not subtle in the least - from #2 best putter in 2016 to #201 recently. When the issues started in 2017, he switched putters and then switched back. As lights out as he had been, I'm surprised he switched. Short of being slammed into the turf or golf bag in aggravation, it's not like putters get tweaked or worn out. I could see a player never having that command of the green constantly trying putters, but I wouldn't have switched.
  4. So now that both McIlroy and Spieth each have 3 of the 4 grand slam titles, who will be the first to win all four? Spieth has the momentum. McIlroy looks like he's lost his mojo, but you never know when he'll heat up, it could be in April. Or maybe this is it for them?
  5. This topic is for the discussion of what happened at the 2016 PGA Championship to Jordan Spieth on the 7th hole. Jordan was on the cart path but didn't want to take relief from that as it would put him behind a big pine tree. His ball was also sitting in a puddle, so he wanted to take relief from casual water. After a protracted discussion with the RO, during which Jordan indicated his line of play to be to the right a little (to miss the tree), and attempted to drop several times toward the right near a second smaller puddle, Jordan finally dropped to the right somewhat and back a fair amount and, in taking his stance, was standing outside the casual water. He ostensibly used the club he'd use to hit the shot, and the RO cleared his play as he was not standing in the water, nor was his ball in the water, or the area of his swing. But when he played the ball his toes were "over" the water. I don't know if they touched much (or any?) water, but they were visibly within the boundary of the casual water. This was pointed out on the telecast immediately, as you'll see in the video, and later by Gary McCord in suggesting that people would be calling in. What do you think? To be clear, I'm not asking whether you think he gained an advantage, whether the rule is lame, whether call-ins should be allowed (the commentators didn't need to "call in" but they, too, aren't rules officials or members of the committee)… This discussion is solely about the Rules of Golf as it applies to this topic, and whether Jordan should be penalized. As best as I can, the order of events: Jordan finds his ball in a puddle on the cart path. He indicates to the RO he wishes to take relief. The RO indicates that this puddle is the instance of casual water they need to get away from. Jordan indicates his line of play, and the RO indicates the nearest point of relief (to the left of the puddle). Jordan measures one club length with his driver to the right and then tries to drop as far right as possible as it will leave him an easier shot. He even drops once or twice outside of a driver club length and is told to re-drop. He eventually drops and places, then takes a stance to show the RO that his foot is not in the casual water. (I believe this is also on tape - I saw the entire thing on the the live stream. The TNT coverage had less than the whole saga.). When he makes his swing, his foot (toes) is as you see above: in or over the casual water from which he took relief. So again, does this meet the definition of complete relief? Or does he deserve a penalty? Did he alter his stance from what he showed the RO? What do you think of this, as it relates to the application of the Rules of Golf?
  6. Just figured I'd start a thread on the golf career of Jordan Spieth. Last weekend he became the 3rd youngest player to win seven events. Today, USA Today Sports published an article about having a "Quirky Swing". - http://ftw.usatoday.com/2016/01/jordan-spieths-quirky-swing-is-the-reason-why-hes-so-good-at-golf It's an interesting article with a discussion of swing mechanics and comparison to Rory McIlroy's swing. I'm sure this will be a long running thread for the enjoyment of all.
  7. From the album: Memorial 2016

    © 2016, Erik J. Barzeski

  8. iacas

    Jordan Spieth

    From the album: Memorial 2016

    © 2016, Erik J. Barzeski

  9. From the album: Memorial 2016

    © 2016, Erik J. Barzeski

  10. Fowler moves to #4 in the World Ranking after beating a star-studded field in Abu Dhabi, including Spieth (#1) and Rory (#3). We had a separate conversation (thread) last week about Fowler and the idea he was poised to join "the big boys" a/k/a "the big 3". Without a Major, it will be difficult for Fowler to replace one of the current Big 3. However, rather than isolate the group to 3 members, Rickie could soon make a very compelling argument to add a seat at the table and begin a new dialogue: "The Big 4".http://www.europeantour.com/europeantour/season=2016/tournamentid=2016004/news/newsid=283619.html#JP02l2Df5l8H6dkt.97
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