Almanac Golf: Golf Capital – Tiger’s done, Lexi’s law and team golf time!


A collection of golf news, notes and thoughts from the week across the globe covering Tiger Woods’ fitness issues, a format revamp for the PGA Tour’s event this weekend plus the ‘Lexi Thompson rule’.


Opening drive:

For the second weekend running an American broke through for a first PGA Tour victory with Kevin Chappell victorious at the Texas Open. Chappell, who hadn’t won in 179 starts on tour, needed to birdie the last hold after Brooks Kopeka fired a final round 65 before finishing second. Chappell took somewhat longer then last week’s winner, Wesley Bryan, who only elevated from the second tier last year which Chappell won on back in 2010. The PGA Tour heads to New Orleans this weekend.


Austria’s Bernd Weisberger needed a playoff to win in China before he eventually prevailed over England’s Tommy Fleetwood in the Shenzen International. Weisberger, now a four time winner on the European Tour, owned a three-stroke lead with Fleetwood roaring into contention from eight strokes behind his playoff contender after 54 holes. Fleetwood was undone by Weisberger’s birdie on the first playoff hole. Heading to a venue an hour north of central Beijing the Volvo China Open on the European Tour takes place at the Topwin Golf and Country Club – located near the Great Wall.


South Korea’s Jenny Shin won this weekend’s LPGA event the Volunteers of America Texas Shootout in 2016 but it’s a strong tournament this year with everyone in the top 20 playing the event in Irving so Shin faces a tough task to defend the crown. The ‘shootout’ in the tournament title is due to the fact there are two cuts, after 36 and 54 holes, with 50 players playing the final round so a good start is critical.


Player performance notes:
Players I’m interested in to see how they go with notes that interest me related to capital investment if that’s your thing. This week the Zurich Classic of New Orleans flips to a two-player team event with 80-teams to play and the top 35 making the cut after two rounds. Forged via an array of connections including college relationships, coaching collaborations or national pride the stories behind the pairings is worth a look. Across the four rounds it will feature the following formats: foursomes (alternate shot) during the first and third rounds with four-ball (best ball) during the second and fourth rounds.


20 to 50: Justin Rose/Henrik Stenson: The Olympic champ and the Open winner team up. Stenson has missed his last three cuts but was second in Dubai earlier this year behind Sergio Garic who Rose finished behind at Augusta. Sometimes you have to look at an obvious option and these two, ranked six (Stenson) and eight (Rose) are the highest-ranked combination.

20 to 50: Patrick Cantlay/Patrick Reed. Reed grabbed 3.5 points in te USA’s Ryder Cup win last year so takes well to team golf and in his last three starts in 2017 Cantlay has two top three finishes.

50 to 100: Brooks and Chase Koepka. The brothers playing together will now each other intricacies and strengths more than other pairs. Elder bother Brooks, 26, finished with a seven under for the best closing round in San Antonio. Hopefully Chase, a regular on the European second tier Challenge Tour rises to the occasion.

100 to 200: Alex Cejka/Soren Kjeldsen. Czech-born Cejka (46) and Dane Kjeldsen (41) are one of the more experienced pairs in this event but go well in varied formats. Kjeldsen in particular has performed of late winning the World Cup of Golf in Melbourne last year and making the recent match play quarter finals. Cejka only has one top 20 this year but a change of forrmat could help with a form turnaround.


Greens in regulation:
The calamity around Lexi Thompson’s penalty at the ANA Inspiration has finally brought to a head the issues around viewers ‘calling in’ rule violations with changes made this week by the Royal and Ancient and United States Golf Association (the games rule-makers.) However the changes are more about the technology than the calling in, with the latter still allowed.


Unless something can be picked up with the naked eye a breach cannot be deemed to have occurred. The wrinkle with this rule (Decision 34 – 3/10) is that it’s more linked to a replay of an event (eg slo mo of an incident). So a phone call/email/carrier pigeon message of a possible rule infraction which happened ‘live’ could possibly still occur under the adjusted standard.


My primary issue when the Thompson incident occurred, and an issue which still remains, is the timing of the ‘call in’. When a player has almost finished their next round it’s baffling they can possibly be docked a stroke (or four in the case of Thompson) for something that happened the day before. This was the aspect that really annoyed me in the case of the Thompson and hasn’t been resolved.


The fact the human eye and not a ‘sophisticated camera’, as Josh Sens on put it, is now the new standard is better – especially given the history of golf. But, as ever, a committee is to be convened to consider the further use of video technology. Changes made be updated when new rules of the game are implemented in 2019.


Tap in:
News of Tiger Woods’ fourth back surgery makes the return to top-level golf for the 41 year-old all the more unlikely. The withdrawal in Dubai, which came in the midst of a travel-heavy return to golf, did not bode well after some positive signs upon his tournament return in the Bahamas in late 2016 it’s been downhill. Woods is currently ranked 808 and to put that into perspective he is one place behind Julien Brun, a French golfer who won on the Alps Tour (essentially a third-tier satellite level in Europe) earlier this year. Woods last won in 2013 with the first of his back surgeries in March of 2014 and he is now prioritising a ‘normal life’ plus playing with his children over a professional return. I’ve thought for a while it’s over. Tiger, stop teasing me. Come out and say it. As astutely pointed out by the @GCTigerTracker account on Twitter, Woods exiting the game “amid a whirlwind of depressing news releases and medical jargon. It was never supposed to be like this.” Someone hold me.


This golfing wrap first appeared on From the sideline of sport


About Hamish Neal

Born in Lower Hutt New Zealand Hamish is forever wedded to all things All Black, All Whites, Tall Blacks and more. Writing more nowadays in his 'spare time' (what is that anyway?) but still with a passion for broadcasting. Has worked in various sports development roles in England, Northern Ireland and Australia.


  1. Excellent wrap up Hamish. I suppose the absurdity of that delayed ruling concerning Lexi Thompson was the 4 shot penalty. I for one do not agree withe the concept of a viewer phone in of these things – that should be up t their playing partners and tournament officials. However, such is the panic over keeping viewers engaged in golf. Had she received a 2 shot penalty then, even though I would still have been unsatisfied, I could have lived with it.

    But to then dock her for a further 2 shot penalty for an incorrect card, 24 hours later, when there was absolutely no indication that she deliberately cheated, was breathtakingly persnickety. In fact I would go so far as to say that the ruling itself was destructive to the game and certainly would not have encouraged anyone looking to take it up for a bit of fun. Goodness knows, the sport needs more players… desperately!

    However, the way that Lexi handled herself and the incident was total class.

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