Wednesday, April 21, 2010

This Week in Golf

PGA Tour - This week's edition of the best golf in the world takes place in the Big Easy. New Orleans, Louisiana attracts players with their unique bayou hospitality. Jerry Kelly is the defending champion, but I expect David Toms to take the trophy in his home state. This LSU Tiger has the rowdiest followings when the Zurich Classic comes to town. He has been battling an injured shoulder all season, but a T14 at Augusta two weeks ago shows that he can still play. This tournament is his fifth major, and as a past champion already, Toms has the confidence and desire to win here again. Boo Weekley will serve as my sleeper pick this week. Boo had a great first three rounds at Harbour Town, and I predict his fair play will continue in culturally familiar surroundings to his home in the Florida panhandle. CBS will air the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

Last Week's Recap - Jim Furyk came away with another victory in 2010 as he won on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff over Brian Davis at the Verizon Heritage Classic. Davis made clutch plays on 18 to get into overtime. However, the event, I believe, was marred by Davis's self-imposed rules violation on his third shot of the first playoff hole. Davis hit a 7-iron on his approach to the 18th green that bounded off the putting surface into a waste bunker along Calibogue Sound to the left of the green. Rule 13.4 states that a player may not move a loose impediment during the takeaway while in a hazard. Davis just brushed a loose stalk sticking out from a nearby pile of reeds on the beach during his backswing. Davis immediately called over the rules official and told him of the incident. Only slow motion instant replay could prove his error, and a two stroke penalty was assessed for his transgression. Here, I would like to invite Josh's Dad, our resident rules official and high school golf coach to weigh in. As a rules official, does your heart break or smile to see a winless journeyman like Brian Davis call this kind of unintentional and virtually meaningless (in this specific case) penalty on himself in such a situation? As a coach (try to separate yourself from your rules official role), did you instruct your players to call these kinds of violations on themselves? Obviously, Brian Davis did the right and honorable thing. Professionals must play by the rules, especially during televised events when rules experts do call in to report violations. Golf purists and myself would have it no other way. The only issue that really gets me in this case is that coming into contact with that reed on his backswing had no impact whatsoever on his shot. Furyk most likely would have won anyway, but it does bring up an interesting debate.

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