Different Strokes: Stacy Lewis takes aim at slow play

Silent courses to continue; by the numbers; word of mouth; on this day and more

Stacy Lewis did more than simply win a golf tournament when her birdie at the first hole of sudden death saw her lift the Women's Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club . . . the 35-year-old American also championed the cause for faster player, having been caught in a snail's pace en route to her win.

"It shouldn't take that long to play," said Lewis after getting locked in a three-ball with Jennifer Song and Azahara Munoz that took over five hours to negotiate the final round. "I knew it was going to (be slow); that's the sad part, you know it's going to take that long. I do think an effort needs to be made across the board to play faster, because obviously I wasn't watching it on TV but I'm sure it couldn't have been fun to watch on TV."

Lewis, certainly, couldn’t be accused of slow play. But she got trapped in a group where her fellow players routinely weren’t ready to play their shots. The group were put on the clock at the 11th and remained so for four holes.

Under the current LPGA Tour guidelines, players get a warning if they are out of position and, after a second hole, are put on the clock. Lewis, for one, would like the authorities to get tougher to force speedier play: “I think if you’re out of position, you should be timed. But I also think there should be spot timing in that, an official can, if an official can plainly see who is slow in the group, they should time those people. I think (the penalty) needs to be aggressive. I think it needs to change because we’re going in the wrong direction.”


It'll be interesting to see the stance taken by the R&A for this week's AIG Women's Open at Royal Troon, and if it differs from the LPGA Tour in any way?

No sign of fans returning

The sound of silence has become all too common on the PGA European Tour through its UK Swing and the behind-closed-doors policy will be extended when the circuit switches to the Iberian Swing next month.

The tour has confirmed that the Andalucian Masters in Valderrama along with the Portugal Masters and the Portugal Open, which will be a dual-badge event on the main and Challenge Tour, will be played without any fans.

This week's Wales Open – again at Celtic Manor – where Sam Horsfield will aim for a third win in four weeks has a secondary factor in that it will also determine the 10 players off the mini-order of merit who will secure exemptions into next month's US Open at Winged Foot.

Paul Dunne returns to action having missed the Celtic Classic while Cormac Sharvin and Jonathan Caldwell are also in the field. Niall Kearney is third reserve and will need a number of defections if he is tee up.

By the numbers

3/144: There are three Irish players in the field for this week's AIG Women's British Open at Royal Troon: Leona Maguire, Stephanie Meadow and amateur Olivia Mehaffey, who has been drawn in the first group off – tee time 6.30am – along with Alena Sharp and Laura Davis, who will have the distinction of hitting the opening tee shot of the championship.

Word of Mouth

"Just to have a major out there is huge for me, (after) not even getting that close on the regular tour" - Jerry Kelly, with the help of a hole-in-one in his final round, on being the last man standing to win the Bridgestone Seniors Player Championship on the Champions Tour, his first senior career major.

On this day: 18th August 2002

Rich Beem – one of the more colourful characters on tour – faced down Tiger Woods in his prime to win the 2002 US PGA Championship. Beem, who once took a break to sell car stereos and mobile phones as he struggled in his early career, was invigorated heading into the championship at Hazeltine by a second career PGA Tour win in the International a fortnight previously but was still considered an underdog heading into the final round.

Justin Leonard held a three stroke lead through 54 holes with Beem alone in second, but the man lurking with intent was Woods, two shots further back. Leonard struggled badly in the final round and, ultimately, it came down to a showdown between Beem and Woods. Indeed, Woods would birdie each of the last four holes to post a clubhouse mark of nine-under-par 279 only for Beem to hold his nerve for a closing round of 68 for 278 to claim his only Major title.

“I was too concerned with myself than I was about Tiger. I don’t want that to sound pompous, but I was trying to control what I was doing and not control what he was doing,” said Beem.

In the Bag

Jim Herman, Wyndham Championship

Driver - TaylorMade SIM (10.5 degrees)

3-wood - TaylorMade M6 (15 degrees)

5-wood - TaylorMade M4 HL (20.5 degrees)

Irons - Mizuno JPX 919 Hot Metal Pro (4 iron) Mizuno JPX 919 Tour (5-PW)

Wedges - Cleveland 588 RTX (52 and 56 degrees), Titleist Vokey Design SM^ (60 degrees)

Putter - Bettinardi Inocai 5.0 Tour

Ball - Titleist Pro V1

Twitter Twaddle

This win means so much to me as a #LPGAMom You don’t have to chose between starting a family and chasing your dreams #DriveOn – Stacy Lewis, after claiming the Scottish Open, her first win since giving birth to her daughter Chesnee.

I have looked up to @Stacy_Lewis for as long as I can remember. Playing head to head was nothing short of amawzing. Congrats on the win Stacy! First win since becoming a mom - so inspirational. #DriveOn – Cheyenne Knight, in her rookie season on the LPGA Tour, tips the cap.

Anybody do anything fun this weekend? – Jim Herman, ranked 318th in the world before the tournament, on lifting the Wyndham Championship.

Know the Rules

Q: On arriving to her ball in the rough, Player A discovers it is located on a sprinkler head from which she is entitled to take free relief. She notices that such relief would allow her to drop the ball on the fairway? Is she allowed to do this?

A: Yes. If a player receives a better lie in taking relief under Rule 16.1, this is the player's good fortune. There is nothing that requires her to maintain identical conditions after relief is taken. In this situation, taking relief from a sprinkler head (immovable obstruction) in the rough, the player's nearest point of complete relief may be located in the fairway. If this results in the player being able to drop the ball in the fairway, this is allowed. In some situations, the conditions may be less advantageous to the player after relief is taken as compared with the conditions before relief is taken, such as when the nearest point of complete relief or relief area is in an area of rocks.