Golf roundup: Glover's drop questioned by fans at Honda Classic

The SportsXchange

--Golfers on the major tours have been penalized in recent years by zealous fans calling in rules violations seen on television, where the camera seemingly never lies, especially with slo-mo and a zoom lens.

Lucas Glover almost had it happen to him after fans on the course at the Honda Classic thought they saw something.

Glover, who won the 2009 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black but is battling back from a slump caused in part by injuries, felt pretty good about himself after shooting 4-under-par 66 to finish round two only four shots off the lead.

Then rules official Tony Wallin visited him in the scorer's tent.

Two fans had questioned a drop that Glover took near the 10th green, where they saw him pick up his ball on a day that was not played under lift, clean and place rules.

Glover said the ball was embedded, allowing him to make the drop, and his playing partners told Wallin the same thing.

"(The two fans) didn't think the ball was embedded, but it was," said Glover, who made the cut only six times in 16 events last season after sustaining a knee injury before the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions, which he missed.

"Maybe they should cut the beer (sales) off at 4 (p.m.) at the Honda Classic."

Glover 72-70 on the weekend at PGA National and tied for fourth, his best finish since winning the 2011 Wells Fargo Championship.

--Heading into the Masters next month, Tiger Woods is 37 years old and has won 14 majors in 60 starts in the Grand Slam events during his career, which has been a pursuit of Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 major titles.

When Nicklaus teed off at the 1977 Masters, he was 37 years old and had won 14 majors in 60 attempts.

There are those who believe Woods must win a major this year if he is going to catch or pass the Golden Bear.

Nicklaus isn't necessarily one of them.

"I still think he'll break my record," Nicklaus said recently. "Tiger's talent, at 37, it's not that old. I won four after that. They were spread out. It wasn't that difficult. I don't think for Tiger to get four or five more, or six or seven, is that big a stretch.

"I still think he can do it. But that said, he has still got to do it. He hasn't won one in five years. He had better get with it if he's going to."

Nicklaus didn't win the Masters in 1977, but he captured the 1978 Open Championship, the 1980 U.S. Open, the 1980 PGA Championship and the 1986 Masters.

Woods has been stuck on 14 since winning the U.S. Open in an epic playoff with Rocco Mediate at Torrey Pines in 2008, while playing on a left leg that would require surgery.

During his 0-for-14 streak, he gave up a two-stroke lead to Y.E. Yang at the 2009 PGA Championship, and failed to get the job when he was tied for the lead at the turn in the final round of the Masters two years ago.

Tiger also came up short when he played in the next-to-last group at Pebble Beach in the 2010 U.S. Open, and again in the Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes last summer.

As Nicklaus says, there is time, but Woods needs to win one soon because they longer he goes without a major title, the more the pressure will mount.

--The Champions Tour has announced that Shaw Communications will be the title sponsor of what previously was being called the Calgary Golf Classic, a new event this season that will be played at Canyons Meadow Golf and Country Club in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

The Shaw Charity Classic will be played from Aug. 29-Sept. 1.

"We are excited to be part of this international event in our hometown and help create a platform that celebrates our community and makes our charities even better," said Brad Shaw, chief executive officer of Shaw Communications.

"We have grown from our roots as a small cable company here in Alberta, and giving back and supporting the communities we live in has always been part of who we are as a family and as an organization."

The 54-hole stroke-play tournament will have a purse of $2 million and will be contested by a field of 81 Champions Tour professionals. The winner will receive $300,000 and 300 Charles Schwab Cup points.

The Shaw Charity Classic will be the 16th Champions Tour event to be played in Canada, but the first in Calgary since Brian Barnes captured the 1998 AT&T Canada Senior Open at Glencoe Golf and Country Club.

"We knew when we announced that the Champions Tour was coming to Calgary that all the elements were in place to create a spectacular event through the tremendous community support the market so often delivers," said President Mike Stevens of the Champions Tour.

"Having Shaw Communications, a true community leader, agree to become title sponsor of the event further solidifies our belief that through their support and leadership this event could become the best on the Champions Tour.

"It's been a long time since a golf tournament of this caliber visited Calgary, but now, the Shaw Charity Classic will deliver exactly what this market deserves -- an exciting event for the fans featuring the best players who have ever played the game of golf."

The tournament will be followed on the schedule by another Canadian event, the Montreal Championship, which is in its fourth year.

--In a development that might indicate that PGA Tour players expect anchored putters to be banned by the United States Golf Association and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, use of long putters was down early this season, according to the Darrel Survey. reported that data obtained from the Darrell Survey, which tracks equipment use at every PGA Tour event, showed that long putters were in use 94 times on the seven events of West Coast Swing, down from 175 during those tournaments last year. That's a decrease of 46 percent.

The data only allows for "belly/mid-size" or "long" putters rather than showing exactly how competitors are using the clubs in questions, not showing if they are being anchored to a player's body.

In the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, the use of long putters was down from seven to five, at the Sony Open in Hawaii from 24 to 21, in the Humana Challenge from 30 to 18, in the Farmers Insurance Open from 31 to 13, at the Waste Management Phoenix Open from 25 to 11, at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am from 25 to 10), and at the Northern Trust Open from 33 to 16.

It's interesting that the number declined significantly when the PGA Tour moved from Hawaii to California.

Among those who have switched back to conventional putters are Michael Bradley, Mark Anderson and Kyle Reifers. Still using them are Ernie Els, Webb Simpson and Keegan Bradley, winners of three of the last five majors, plus Tim Clark, Carl Petterson and Adam Scott.

"What we have here is a different method of putting," Clark told Golfweek last week. "It's not wrong. It's not against the values of the game. It's still a stroke.

"People who come out and say, 'It's not a stroke, you don't get nervous,' I can't believe that. I've been using it for 15 years. I get nervous. I miss putts under pressure. Putting essentially will always come down to 99 percent brain and mindset and confidence.

"If I felt I was cheating, I wouldn't be using it."

According to the Darrell Survey, the only two players in the top 20 early this season in the PGA Tour's strokes gained -- putting category were Brian Stuard, who anchors his belly putter, and Matt Kuchar, who places the grip along his forearm and would not be affected if the anchoring ban is implemented.

--Justin Harding of South Africa earned his first berth in a major championship when he led International Final Qualifying -- Africa for the 142nd Open Championship by three strokes at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington's East Course in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Harding, a three-time winner on the Sunshine Tour, shot 66-64--130, 14-under-par, to lead three players who qualified for the Open in July at Muirfield, Scotland.

"I'm so happy to get through," the 27-year-old Harding said. "There are about 70 players here and a lot of them have won tournaments, both on the European and Sunshine Tours, and to get one of only three spots is incredible.

"All of us as youngsters avidly watched the Open over the years and I'm really looking forward to my first major. With Ernie Els defending it will be a special one, and I've heard that Muirfield is a phenomenal place, so everything feels perfect right now."

Eduardo De La Riva of Spain finished second at 67-66--133, and Darryn Lloyd of South Africa earned the final spot available with a score of 66-69--135.

Barely missing were two more South Africans, Garth Mulroy at 69-67--136 and Jake Roos, who came in at 66-70--136.

Ross McGowan of England, who played in the 2010 Open Championship at St. Andrews, missed out at 69-68--137.

--Greg Norman has never been part of the Olympics, so when the opportunity presented it, he took it.

Surprisingly, the Great White Shark won't be working with his native Australia or his adopted country, the United States, but has been appointed as an advisory coach of the Chinese national team for the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

"I'm extremely proud of it," Norman said in an interview on the "Morning Drive" show on the Golf Channel. "I've never been asked by Australia, never been asked by the United States or anybody else to help guide a group of golfers to an ultimate goal of being in the Olympics. So I seized the moment.

" ... China's very much in its infancy in the development program, all the way from the grassroots up to the professionals. There's a lot for them to learn. I think I can hone their skills and give them a lot of important factors about how to develop their skills to become world champions.

"It's going to be a daunting task, but it's a challenge that I'm really looking forward to. It's going to be an incredible journey."

Norman said the specifics of his assignment are still being worked out, but he indicated that he will be working with the Chinese team on everything from individual training and fitness to the overall qualification process.

The biggest challenge is that the program is being created from scratch.
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