Different Strokes


A golf miscellany by PHILIP REID

Gerrymandering? But no one can begrudge winner

I’ve absolutely nothing against Brandt Snedeker. Far from it, in fact.

After giving a profitable tip to an acquaintance to get on Bubba Watson for the Masters earlier this season, I was pushed to give a follow-up tip and advised that Mr Brandt Snedeker was worth keeping any eye on. It might have taken a while, although time out due to a rib injury contributed to the procrastination, but the quick-playing golfer from Tennessee finally delivered in some style in Atlanta on Sunday.

Except, the additional $10 million bonus payout didn’t seem quite right. Did it? Okay, he delivered in the tournament (the Tour Championship) that mattered most (to the FedEx Cup) but the reality is that the restructuring, or could we deem it gerrymandering, of the process following on from the first three of four play-offs were very much in Snedeker’s favour and very much against Rory McIlroy.

McIlroy, unquestionably, was the player of the series and, as much as anyone can actually deserve to have $10 million plopped into their bank account for hitting a white ball around a golf course, was the one who delivered most over the four play-off tournaments.

The proof of the pudding so to speak is that McIlroy won back-to-back events – the Deutsche Bank and the BMW – and would have been out of sight of everyone but for the contrived shenanigans of moving the goal posts with the final whistle set to be blown.

It is worth nothing that, over the four play-off events, McIlroy was an accumulated total of 52-under par while Snedeker was next best on 40-under par. Dustin Johnson (32-under), Tiger Woods (36 under) and Phil Mickelson (30 under) followed in that order.

In strokeplay events, it is the scores on the card that matter – or should – in determining an outright winner. It didn’t on this occasion. Still, nobody can truly begrudge Snedeker his windfall. He used the system to his advantage and did what he had to do, which was take all other scenarios in the complicated process out of the equation by going out at East Lake and winning the tournament itself.

In the bag:  Snedeker

Ball: Bridgestone Tour B330

Driver: TaylorMade Burner SuperFast (8.5-degree)

Fairway woods: 3-wood – Tour Edge Exotics CB4 (13-degree), Hybrid – Ping Anser (20-degree)

Irons: Bridgestone J40 Cavity Back (4-iron to pitching wedge)

Lob wedges: Bridgestone J40 (52-degree, 56-degree), Vokey Spin Milled (60-degree)

Putter: Odyssey White Hot XG Rossie

Phil out on his own: And is poised to surpass Casper

With his ninth consecutive appearance in the Ryder Cup, Phil Mickelson (left) now holds the record for most Ryder Cup appearances by an American. Jim Furyk is now tied with Billy Casper, Raymond Floyd and Lanny Wadkins, with eight appearances on the US team.

Nick Faldo (Europe) holds the all-time Ryder Cup mark for most appearances, with 11 straight from 1977 to 1997.

At Medinah, Mickelson is likely to surpass Casper for most matches played among Americans. Mickelson has competed in 34 matches; Casper competed in 37.

Faldo holds the record for most all-time matches played, with 46. Mickelson also holds the US mark for most fourball matches played, 15.

Redrop rules: unplayable ball

Q: A player deems his ball unplayable and, under Rule 28c, drops his ball within two club-lengths of the spot where it lay. The ball then comes to rest in the original position, or another position in which the ball is unplayable. What is the ruling?

A: The ball is in play when it is dropped – Rule 20-4. Thus, if the ball comes to rest in the original position, the player must again invoke the unplayable ball rule, incurring an additional penalty stroke, unless he decides to play the ball as it lies.

The same applies if the ball comes to rest in another position in which it is unplayable, assuming that the ball does not roll into a position covered by Rule 20-2c, in which case redropping without penalty would be required.

Rule 20-2c allows a re-drop without penalty in circumstances that include: if it: (i) rolls into and comes to rest in a hazard; (ii) rolls out of and comes to rest outside a hazard; (iii) rolls onto and comes to rest on a putting green; (iv) rolls and comes to rest out of bounds; (v) rolls to and comes to rest in a position where there is interference by the condition from which relief was taken under Rule 24-2b (immovable obstruction), Rule 25-1 (abnormal ground conditions), Rule 25-3 (wrong putting green) or a Local Rule (Rule 33-8a), or rolls back into the pitch-mark from which it was lifted under Rule 25-2 (embedded ball).

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