Devil Ball Golf

  • USGA, R&A create local rule in wake of Dustin Johnson's U.S. Open issues

    Ryan Ballengee at Devil Ball Golf 1 day ago

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    If you’ll recall, the U.S. Open was nearly marred by a rules controversy.

    Eventual winner Dustin Johnson had his final round and championship put into limbo when his ball moved on the fifth green at Oakmont Country Club. After the walking rules official declared Johnson didn’t cause the ball to move, USGA officials kept looking at the footage. As Johnson was making his back-nine run toward his first major, the USGA informed Johnson that he might — might — be penalized for the ball moving.

    Johnson played on, winning the title anyhow, even with the post-round protestations of the USGA that they would award the in-limbo penalty stroke. Widely panned for how they handled the situation, the USGA acknowledged the fault but blamed the language of the Rules of Golf that left them in what they felt was an almost impossible situation to ignore.

    Now, the USGA and R&A have introduced a change to the Rules of Golf that should prevent this kind of situation in the future.

    Rules 18-2, 18-3 and 20-1 are modified as follows:

    The moved ball or ball-marker must be replaced as provided in Rules 18-2, 18-3 and 20-1.

  • Lydia Ko, teacher David Leadbetter split after 3 years

    Ryan Ballengee at Devil Ball Golf 1 day ago

    The changes in Lydia Ko’s professional life have been coming in rapid succession in recent months, with another revealed on Wednesday. Ko has fired instructor David Leadbetter after 3 years, looking for a new instructor after working at his Leadbetter Academy since turning pro.

    Leadbetter made the announcement on Twitter, saying, in part, “Lydia is not only an exceptional player, but also an exceptional person. She is a perfect role model for any young golfer to follow on how to conduct oneself on the golf course, interact with the public, and give back to the game. Lydia has been an absolute pleasure to coach and she felt the staff at the Leadbetter Golf Academy Headquarters at Champions Gate has been like an extended family to her.”

    The Florida-based golf teacher, who began working with Ko in November 2013 after the 19-year-old left long-time teacher Guy Wilson, told Golf Channel he believes the change was influenced by Ko’s parents.

  • Lexi Thompson playing with the men at the Franklin Templeton Shootout

    Ryan Ballengee at Devil Ball Golf 1 day ago

    Lexi Thompson is one of the boys this week at the Franklin Templeton Shootout. She’s teaming with fellow Cobra Puma Golf staff Bryson DeChambeau in the two-person team event hosted by Greg Norman, matching 24 players into duos over a three-round tournament featuring a different format each day.

    “It’s going to be fun paired up with Bryson,” Thompson said Tuesday to the Naples Daily News. “I love team events and to get an invite from Greg Norman, you don’t get that very often. I’m going to have a good time and see how I do.”

    DeChambeau, who earned his full PGA Tour card during the Web.com Tour Finals, sees Thompson’s participation as nothing but a benefit to the event and, more broadly, the sport.

    “Anytime that you can have somebody from the other gender playing in the same field, I think that’s not an issue at all,” he said. “I love it. I think that’s going to be great for the game.”

    Thompson said the idea for her to play came, in part, from Cobra Puma Golf CEO Bob Philion, who has a long-standing relationship with Norman, who has been affiliated with Cobra Golf going back decades.

    For his part, Norman, on Wednesday, didn’t seem concerned.

  • Ladies European Tour event suspended after on-course caddie death

    Ryan Ballengee at Devil Ball Golf 2 days ago

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    The Omega Dubai Ladies Masters on the Ladies European Tour was suspended during the first round on Wednesday following the on-course death of a caddie.

    At approximately 10:30 a.m. local time, a caddie collapsed on the 13th fairway. After the on-site medical staffers attended to the situation, the caddie was transported to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. The caddie’s name was not released, but Dubai media reported the caddie was carrying for Anne-Lise Caudal.

    The tournament was suspended for the day, with Round 1 resuming on Thursday. The event has been reduced to a 54-hole tournament.

    “Everyone at the Ladies European Tour is extremely shocked and saddened today by this sudden death and therefore we have taken the decision to suspend first round play as a mark of respect,” said Ladies European Tour CEO Ivan Khodabakhsh. “On behalf of our membership, we offer heartfelt condolences to the individual’s family and loved ones.”

  • Thomas Bjorn named 2018 European Ryder Cup captain

    Ryan Ballengee at Devil Ball Golf 3 days ago

    Europe has found its man to lead them back to the Ryder Cup in 2018.

    Thomas Bjorn is the new European Ryder Cup captain, landing the job for the next matches in the biennial series in Paris. Bjorn earned the vote of a five-person panel to get the captaincy, succeeding Darren Clarke, whose team lost 17-11 at Hazeltine National in October. The defeat marked the first time the Europeans had lost since 2008 in Kentucky. However, the Europeans haven’t lost a home game since 1993, when Tom Watson led the U.S. side for the first time in Ireland.

    “It’s a huge honor for me to be named European captain for the 2018 Ryder Cup in Paris,” Bjorn said. “This is one of the greatest days in my career.”

    Bjorn is the first Scandinavian golfer to lead the European Ryder Cup team, taking the position after a Ryder Cup career that began in 1997 at Valderrama. The Dane was also on winning European teams in 2002 and 2014, totaling a 3-4-2 record. He’s also been a vice-captain, doing so in 2004, ’10, ’12 and ’16.

    Bjorn has been chairman of the European Tour’s three-player Tournament Committee since 2007, a post which he’ll relinquish now that he’s European captain.

  • Jaye Marie Green wins LPGA Tour Q-school for the second time

    Ryan Ballengee at Devil Ball Golf 4 days ago

    You might call it a dubious distinction, but Jaye Marie Green would probably tell you that it proves she can handle pressure.

    Green won the final stage of LPGA Tour Q-school on Sunday, taking a one-stroke win at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla., in the 90-hole event to earn one of 20 LPGA Tour cards for 2017 offered through the top available priority group, Category 17. Green finished at 13 under par, beating Olafia Kristinsdottir of Iceland.

    So, the dubious distinction for Green, who is just 22 years old, is that this is her second-career final-stage win. Back in 2013, Green won the qualifying tournament at a record 29 under par. That makes her the first person to win the final stage twice since the event moved to Daytona Beach in 1991. The experience of winning in the past was more of a help for her than finishing 112th on the money list to land herself in this position.

    “I knew I had to play well to get my card and now I know that I can make a putt to win so there are a lot of positives to take away,” she said. “Now I know I can play well under the gun. Going into next year, I have this experience to draw on.”

  • Hideki Matsuyama hurtling toward world No. 1 after torrid run

    Ryan Ballengee at Devil Ball Golf 4 days ago

    Hideki Matsuyama has finished no worse than second in his last five starts. He’s won four times, including on Sunday at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas. That bookends a stretch in which Matsuyama also won the WGC-HSBC Champions for his second official PGA Tour win and his national Open in Japan.

    Suddenly, Matsuyama is on the precipice of breaking through into the top five in the Official World Golf Ranking. Look out, Jordan Spieth.

    Always recognized as a great ball-striker — one of the best on the planet, in fact — the 24-year-old has struggled with putting. In this run, however, his putting has, at a minimum, not hurt him. For the developing sensation, that has led to more confidence on the greens that can lead to somewhat self-fulfilling results.

    “When I putt well, I can contend,” he said after finishing at 18-under 270 to beat Henrik Stenson by two shots at Albany Golf Club.

    “But these last five weeks I’ve been able to make some putts, and the more putts you make, the bigger the hole gets and the confidence grows and that’s played a big part in it.”

  • Hideki Matsuyama wins Hero World Challenge, extends run of domination

    Jay Busbee at Devil Ball Golf 4 days ago

    NEW PROVIDENCE ISLAND, Bahamas—Tiger Woods was never a serious threat to win the Hero World Challenge, and thanks to Hideki Matsuyama, neither was anyone else.

    Matsuyama lit the Albany Golf Club course on fire with an 18-under performance and a two-stroke victory over Henrik Stenson that wasn’t nearly that close. Matsuyama was in control all weekend long, passing J.B. Holmes and shedding Dustin Johnson en route to the victory. Matters got a bit rocky toward the end; nerves may have sabotaged Matsuyama, whose Sunday 73 was his worst score by six strokes. His seven-stroke cushion over Stenson dwindled to two, but he was able to keep the relentless Stenson at bay long enough to hold on for the trophy.

    “I can’t say that I played well today,” Matsuyama said afterward, “but I did win Tiger’s tournament, and what a great honor that is.”

    “I was miles away,” Stenson said. “It reminded me of the final round at [the U.S. Open at] Pinehurst in 2014, when [Martin] Kaymer was miles ahead and you were just kind of walking in a bit of a vacuum.”

  • Where will Tiger Woods play next?

    Jay Busbee at Devil Ball Golf 5 days ago

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    NEW PROVIDENCE ISLAND, Bahamas — Now that Tiger Woods is back in the mix, playing well enough not to embarrass himself, if not necessarily win tournaments, the next question is: where will we see Woods next?

    “I would like, in my heart of hearts, to play a full schedule next year,” Woods said after Sunday’s final round at the Hero World Challenge. “I really want to play.” A full schedule for Woods likely means 15 to 20 events, plus non-Tour events and exhibitions; he played 16 Tour events in 2013 and 19 in 2012.

    Given that Woods will play Augusta any time he’s not actually on fire, we can start at the Masters and work backward. There are 15 tournaments on the PGA Tour slate between now and that first full week in April. So let’s strike a few right off the tee:

    So what does that leave?

    • The Tiger Woods Foundation now operates the Genesis Open (the new name for the former L.A. Open/Northern Trust Open) at Riviera in February, so it’s an all-but-certain lock he’ll be in the field there.

  • Tiger Woods' return a success, even if victory's a long way off

    Jay Busbee at Devil Ball Golf 5 days ago

    NEW PROVIDENCE ISLAND, Bahamas — Let’s call this what it is, before the moment cools: the single greatest performance in the history of Tiger Woods’ career.

    Nah, not really. Woods’ 15th-place finish (in a 17-player field) in the Hero World Challenge was a milestone, perhaps even a triumph, since Woods was about 50-50 odds to even finish the tournament at all. But we’re in an era of expectations diminished to the point of invisibility for Woods; if he’s able to swing a club without his back igniting, that counts as a success.

    “It feels good to be back out here playing again, trying to beat the best players in the world,” Woods said shortly after the round. “I missed it. I love it.”

    Woods played four straight rounds of respectable, often impressive golf, showing flashes of the spectacular play that was once routine. But he also showed the effects of 16 months away from the course, fading hard at the end of every round, concluding with a double bogey on his 72nd hole.

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