Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Rules Of Golf In The News...

I worked a four ball qualifier last week at Foxtail in Rohnert Park, but it was a very quiet day.  About the only excitement was the medalist team shot a better ball 60, twelve under, that included a double bogey on the tenth when both players went in the water.  That's some fine playing!

Otherwise, there have been a couple of notable rules issues in the past few weeks.  First, at the US Amateur, eventual champion Gunn Yang was saved a potential penalty by a rules official.  On the 11th hole in the afternoon round, the match referee, USGA President Tom O'Toole, stopped Yang from putting because he noticed his caddie standing directly behind him, a violation of rule 14-2b.  Those of you who've been following the game for some time might remember that Andy Martinez, Johnny Miller's caddie, used to crouch behind him as he putted to block out any distractions.  A number of LPGA players used the same tactic until it was ruled illegal.  Yang's penalty would have been loss of the hole.

That's a pretty clear example of the role that rules officials play.  We're there to not just help the players out with rulings, but to keep them from committing violations whenever possible.  This was a big one-- the match would have been even, buy Yang was able to save par and maintain a one hole lead.  The story can be found here.

And on a slightly bigger stage, the next week at the PGA Championship, a player disqualified himself five days later.  Cameron Tringale disqualified himself five days after the fact for an action that he had already been cleared for.  On, coincidentally, also the 11th hole, he moved his putter over the ball before tapping it in.  There was originally some question as to whether the ball moved, and if he had taken a swing at it.  Both he and his fellow competitor, Matt Jones, agreed that there was no intent, no movement, no violation.  But after the tournament, Tringale started to think not that he was wrong, but that other people might think he was wrong.  He took the high road and called the PGA to disqualify himself for signing for an incorrect score, rule 6-6d.  His decision cost him a 33rd place finish, $53,000, and eight places on the FedEx Cup standings.  Full story here.

But he gained a lot more than that. 

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