Animal Encounters on the PGA Tour

Golf can sometime be boring, lets admit that. But when animals get into action, it is a different ball game. Watch and enjoy this below video compilation (or click here) of the animals/birds that gives a damn to some some of the biggies on green.

For knowledge sake, animals on a golf course are considered “outside agencies” by the Rules of Golf. Here are what the rule books says about these outside agencies.

19-1: If a player’s ball in motion is accidentally deflected or stopped by any outside agency, it is a rub of the green, there is no penalty and the ball must be played as it lies.

18-1: If a ball at rest is moved by an outside agency, there is no penalty and the ball must be replaced.

The Original Rules of Golf

We all know how some of the golf rules are a bit complicated – our Costliest Rulings in Golf series covers some of these instances. But way back in 1744, when the original Rules of Golf issued by the Honorable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, it was much simpler – just 13 rules vs the 182 pages rule we have today.

Here are those 13 golden rules for our Scratchpad members – you’ll be surprised to find how many are still in play today.

1. You must tee your ball within a club’s length of the hole.

2. Your tee must be on the ground. (Note that Tees back in these days, consisted of little pyramids of sand)

3. You are not to change the ball which you strike off the tee.

4. You are not to remove stones, bones or any break club for the sake of playing your ball, except upon the fair green, and that only within a club’s length of the ball.

5. If your ball comes among watter, or any wattery filth, you are at liberty to take out your ball and bringing it behind the hazard and teeing it, you may play it with any club and allow your adversary a stroke for so getting out your ball.

6. If your balls be found anywhere touching one another you are to lift the first ball till you play the last.

7. At holling you are to play your ball honestly at the hole, and not to play upon your adversary’s ball, not lying in your way to the hole.

8. If you should lose your ball, by its being taken up, or any other way, you are to go back to the spot where you struck last and drop another ball and allow your adversary a stroke for the misfortune.

9. No man at holling his ball is to be allowed to mark his way to the hole with his club or anything else.

10. If a ball be stopp’d by any person, horse, dog, or any thing else, the ball so stopp’d must be played where it lyes.

11. If you draw your club in order to strike and proceed so far in the stroke as to be bringing down your club, if then your club should break in any way, it is to be accounted a stroke.

12. He whose ball lyes farthest from the hole is obliged to play first.

13. Neither trench, ditch, or dyke made for the preservation of the links, nor the Scholars’ Holes or the soldiers’ lines shall be accounted a hazard but the ball is to be taken out, teed and play’d with any iron club.

Costliest Rulings in Golf – # 3. Craig Stadler & the Tree: 1987 Andy Williams San Diego Open

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”.

    “That’s an eight-pound ham in a five-pound can”

    Golf Rules Officials
    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

    Who has the Honour?

    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.