Time for a Change of Rules?

January 22, 2011 mygolfsociety.ie

Markergate or maybe Dimplegate has provoked some differing opinions on whether Padraig Harrington should have been disqualified and whether a television viewer should be permitted to call a ruling on a player. What are your thoughts on this? Modernise the rule, bring in a TMO for golf?!?! It’s all gone a bit crazy!

2010 and the start fo 2011 has seen some of the stupidest, craziest and harshest rulings and here are just some of them:

Verizon Heritage, Brian Davis – Davis, in a playoff with Jim Furyk, touched a weed in his backswing and called the penalty on himself. The television cameras hardly caught it but David earned acclaim around the golfing world for his honesty. Furyk won the playoff, tough break!

Michelle Wie, Kial Classic – Wie was very much in the hunt at the Kia Classic. In the final round Wie hit a shot into a hazard on the 11th hole. In trying to hack the ball out of the hazard she only moved it a yard or so and hit the ground with frustration, in the hazard though! Then came the final round, when Michelle hit a shot in a hazard on the 11th hole. This error cost her a two-shot penalty and a resulting $110,000 for her fall down the leaderboard.

Juli Inkster, Safeway Classic – Anothe trial by televison. In contention, Inkster was seen on live television using a swing-weight during a round and was promptly disqualified.

Shi Hyun Ahn and Ilmi Chung, CN Canadian Women’s Open – Bit of a strange one here. These two players were disqualified after the first round for playing the wrong ball yet signing the scorecard as if nothing happened. Reports were flying around about this from all sides, but nobody really admitted anything.

Jim Furyk, The Barclays – The eventual FedEx winner Furyk missed out on the first tournament of the Playoffs for missing the Pro-Am due to oversleeping! That particular rule was eventually changed after the Furyk disqualification.

Ryuji Imada and Nick Faldo, Mission Hills Star Trophy – Local rules are just that and Imada fell foul of them this time around. Imada was leading the tournament when a playing partner noticed he was actually following the clean and place rule incorrectly. The local rules were to clean and place within a scorecard length, not the normal club length used on the PGA Tour. He ended up being penalised 26 shots for his error and called himself “an idiot” for his mistake! Sir Nick, in a move unlike him ever before picked up his ball on the eighth green before holing out, forgetting it was a stroke-play event. He was swiftly disqualified.

Ian Poulter, Dubai World Championships – The last big rules violation of 2010 came when Ian Poulter dropped his ball on his marker on the first hole of the playoff with Robert Karlsson, causing it to move. That resulted in a one shot penalty and Poulter lost the playoff on that hole, it may not have made too much of a difference as Karlsson was quite close for birdie on the first playoff hole.

Dustin Johnson, PGA Championship – One of the most bizarre and now well known rules violations of them all. Johnson in the hunt for the last Major of 2011, and his first Major title, with only one hole to play drove his ball right into a sandy area that the crowd had seemingly trodden down. Johnson hit a very ambitious shot from what seemed like a sandy waste area which ended up left of the green. A phenomenal pitch to 7 feet seemed to give DJ a putt for his first Major title. Johnson missed and, in the aftermath of Bunkergate, was eventually told he would also miss out on the playoff as well for grounding his club in one of the many many bunkers at Whistling Straits (LOCAL RULE)!!

And in the two main events on either side of the Atlantic since the start of the 2011 season, Camillo Villegas was penalised and eventually disqualified for moving a loose divot from out of the way of his ball when rolling back down a green in round 1 at Kapalua. This penalty shot was not incorporated on his scorecard so he was technically disqualified for signing for the wrong score. This was followed by Padraig Harrington at Abu Dhabi on Thursday for also signing for a wrong score due to not penalising himself for moving his ball after replacing it on a green in round 1. Both these infringements were broughts to officials attenton by television viewers, not on-course officials, officials monitoring the coverage or the players’ playing partners.

Surely something needs to be done here, rules need reviewing! Regulations for golf clubs have changed to keep up with technology, surely the some of the now archaic Rules of Golf needs looking at as well.

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