Posts Tagged ‘Rules’
Continuing with our series on the Costliest Rulings in Golf, here is yet an another event that can be tagged “a misfortune” in golfing history. In case if you missed our previous post on this series click here.
# 3. Craig Stadler:1987 San Diego Open
It was 1987 and Craig Stadler (nicknamed “The Walrus”), who was among the third-round leaders, hit his tee shot on the par-4 384 yard 14th hole at the San Diego Open at Torrey Pines. Unfortunately, the ball landed under a low-hanging branch of a large Leyland Cypress tree.
To make his swing easier, Statdler decided to hit his next shot from his knees. In order to do that without staining his expensive pants from the wet grass, he placed a towel under his knees and chipped the shot into the fairway. Little did he knew about the consequences of that.
When the 3rd round highlights were televised in NBC before the Sunday’s final round, the scenes of Stadler kneeling to his shot caught the attention of many viewers. Viewers then flooded the tournament press with phone calls saying it was a violation of PGA rule.
He finished his rounds 4 shots behind George Burns but was later informed by the officials that use of the towel was considered “building” a stance, which is a rules violation. And because he had signed the scorecard for less than the correct score (i.e without two-stroke penalty) on Saturday, he was disqualified from the tournament.
It costed him $37,000 prize money and second place.
Here is what the rule of Golf (13-2) says,
A player must not improve or allow to be improved:
the position or lie of his ball, the area of his intended Stance or swing, his Line Of Play or a reasonable extension of that line beyond the Hole, or the area in which he is to drop or place a ball,
by any of the following actions:
pressing a club on the ground, moving, bending or breaking anything growing or fixed (including immovable Obstructions and objects defining Out Of Bounds), creating or eliminating irregularities of surface, removing or pressing down sand, loose soil, replaced divots or other cut turf placed in position, or removing dew, frost or water.
8 years later when Tom Wilson, a member of the tournament organizing committee, heard the tree was dying by fungus, invited Statdler to do the honours and help cut down. Statdler readily accepted and said ”It’s been eight years. It’s time to put it rest”.
Earlier this year, the NY Times has posted an interesting article on PGA Tour rules officials. It discusses some interesting aspects of a largely thankless job, including the hot button issue of slow play:
“When we’re trying to get 156 players this week, which means there is going to be 26 groups on 18 holes,” White said. “You’re going to wait. Play is going to be slow. Those are the facts. People say we aren’t doing our job?”
Cracked Mickey Bradley, who was riding in White’s cart: “Twenty-six groups on 18 holes? That’s an eight-pound ham in a five-pound can.
I guess these guys don’t ever play at public golf courses. 26 groups on 18 holes? I think I hear the worlds tiniest violin. Try 36+ groups at any public course around the country on Saturday morning and see if you still think 5+ hours for 2-3 professionals to play 18 holes is an acceptable pace of play.
Of course, tour officials do walk away with some great stories:
One rules official described an exchange several years ago between another official, since retired, who was asked by a player who had just been fined for uttering an obscenity, “Can I be fined for what I’m thinking?” The official said no. The player quickly replied, “Good, then I think you are a no-good” and he finished his sentence with an obscenity. He was fined again.
Derek Franks is a guest blogger at the Scratch Pad. For more posts visit his blog 72strokes.com.
Who has the Honour? That seems like a simple question: We all know that it’s the lowest score – but when you’re playing with handicaps, is it the lowest gross score, or lowest net score?
We were just asked that question, and thought it was good enough to share the answer with everyone.
The answer can be found in the Rules of Golf – Rule 10, specifically:
In Match Play the honour goes to whomever won the hole. If you’re playing with handicaps, then it’s based on net score. If you’re playing without, then it’s based on gross score.
In Stroke/Medal Play the honor always goes to the lowest gross score, even when you’re playing with handicaps.