(Reuters) – A guidelines violation prompted an overhaul of the controversial trial-by-tv rule in 2017, and the ascendancy of youth continued unabated, all of the whereas performed towards a backdrop of a sure 14-occasions main champion whose occasional well being updates stored his followers hopeful that a comeback awaits.
The California desert was the place Lexi Thompson took an inch and altered the sport a mile when she changed her ball within the mistaken spot after marking it on a inexperienced in the course of the third spherical of the ANA Inspiration ladies’s main on April Fools’ Day.
The ultimate spherical was already properly underway when guidelines officers have been knowledgeable by a viewer, who nonetheless has not been publicly recognized, of the infraction, which meant Thompson incurred a two stroke penalty for the violation itself, and one other two photographs for having signed an incorrect scorecard after the earlier spherical.
That led to the weird state of affairs of an official informing Thompson of the penalty as she walked from the twelfth inexperienced to the thirteenth tee.
“Is that this a joke?” an incredulous Thompson requested, her lead abruptly gone in a single fell swoop. She subsequently misplaced a playoff to Ryu So-yeon however the greater upshot was that the sport’s rulers acted to stop a repeat.
Beginning on Jan. 1, armchair referees will principally be a factor of the previous, as will retrospective penalties for a participant having signed an incorrect scorecard when she or he was unaware of a violation.
As an alternative, on the key excursions a guidelines official will monitor telecasts for infractions.
The modifications are a forerunner to Jan. 1 of 2019, when a serious overhaul of the principles will go into impact in an effort to make them easier, fairer and extra sensible.
On the course, 2017 noticed three of the 4 males’s majors gained by gamers of their 20s – 27-yr-previous Brooks Koepka (U.S. Open), 23-yr-previous Jordan Spieth (British Open) and 24-yr-previous Justin Thomas (PGA Championship).
Solely 37-yr-previous Sergio Garcia, who lastly gained a serious when he beat Justin Rose in a playoff on the Masters, was the exception to the development, however how totally different your complete main season may need been if not for a stair mishap by Dustin Johnson.
Johnson arrived at Augusta the type of prohibitive favorite not seen because the halcyon days of Tiger Woods, coming off three consecutive victories and an ascent to the world primary rating.
However when he slipped down some stairs on event eve and badly bruised his again it not solely knocked him out of the Masters, but in addition modified the whole complexion of the majors, as a result of he didn’t regain his erstwhile type till the majors have been finished and dusted.
Lurking within the background in the meantime, Tiger Woods issued occasional updates on the situation of his surgically repaired again, and eventually returned to motion in December on the Hero World Problem within the Bahamas, the place he swung with obvious freedom and performed competently, suggesting 2018 may be the primary yr since 2013 that he’ll have the ability to play a full schedule.
Woods turns forty two on Friday, however with apologies to the youth motion he’s nonetheless the person, at the very least in terms of tv scores and fan curiosity.
SHOT OF THE YEAR: Jordan Spieth’s three-iron from the follow vary at Royal Birkdale on the thirteenth gap in the course of the ultimate spherical of the British Open, which allowed him to save lots of bogey and buoyed his spirits en path to a scorching cost to victory. Simply as spectacular was his cool choice-making beneath strain, realizing that the vary was one of the best place to drop after he had taken a penalty from an unplayable lie, although he needed to transfer almost one hundred yards additional away from the pin.
ROUND OF THE YEAR: Branden Grace, in third spherical of British Open, turns into first participant to shoot sixty two in a serious.
QUOTE OF THE YEAR: “Nobody actually requested me if I used to be married, so I didn’t need to reply that query,” Hideki Matsuyama, revealing that he was married, in a press launch to Japanese media, who interview him interminably after each spherical, however seemingly by no means ask him about his off-course life.
LEST WE FORGET: Former Masters chairman Hootie Johnson, aged 86; 1967 British Open champion Roberto de Vicenzo, aged ninety four; 1994 U.S. Senior Open champion Simon Hobday, aged seventy six.
(This model of the story corrects literal in opening paragraph)
Reporting by Andrew Each in Cary, North Carolina; Modifying by Rex Gowar