Making Sense of the DQ Rules

By George WhiteOctober 18, 2005, 4:00 pm
Once again, we are faced with one of golfs interesting conundrums: should, or should not, have Michelle Wie been disqualified?
 
By now we all know the particulars: reporter Michael Bamberger was on the scene when Wie took a drop in mid-round Saturday. Bamberger suspected something might have been amiss, agonized over whether to report it and finally spoke up on Sunday evening. Tour officials determined that Wie had dropped closer to the hole by a foot, and since she had already signed her scorecard for Saturdays round, DQd her after the tournament had been completed.
 
Michelle Wie
Would Michelle Wie's improper drop have been noticed if she wasn't such a high profile player?
There are four or five interesting facets to this case, but only one stands out to me as glaringly wrong ' once again, an observer makes the tour officials aware of a miscue long after the fact; the officials take the complaint and make a determination (this time a day after said infraction happened); and then the guilty party is slapped with a disqualification.
 
Imagine that scenario being played out in football. On Monday, a chap calls the league office and reveals that he has put a laser on a running back and determined that the ball was three inches from being in the end zone. It had been called a touchdown on Sunday, of course, in a 20-17 win. But the caller was found to be correct, and the team is now given a defeat instead of a win.
 
Its much more so with the leaders in a golf tournament. Lets say Tiger Woods is shown hitting a shot 60 times during a round on television. He has maybe 20 members of the media following him on the golf course. If he makes a mistake, it is immediately beamed around the world or spotted by one of the entourage following him.
 
But Joe X doesnt have to worry about any of this. He tours the course in front of his wife and five curious spectators. There are no television cameras following his every move. He plays completely by the rules, he firmly believes, but during the afternoon he unknowingly breaks a rule. He signs his card, walks off into the sunset, and sleeps soundly, free from the worry that an untoward ball drop, for example, will bring a disqualification tomorrow.
 
This hardly seems fair, does it? But all the pro tours abide by the same rules. They have rules officials on hand to protect any of the players, but who knows how many rules violations have been committed ' inadvertently ' by the lesser-known players? The rulebook is so thick, and players are notorious in their ignorance of it. And even if they do know a rule, they make a mistake a la Wie in, for example, dropping a ball.
 
This is not a slap at Bamberger ' he told our Brian Hewitt that he agonized over what to do until he spoke to an editor at his publication. The editor said to tell an official what he (Bamberger) saw, and the resulting flap caused Wie to be DQd.
 
Why should Bamberger be put in this situation in the first place? If Wie weren't such a newsworthy name, he certainly wouldnt have been following her. And if the LPGA had a policy in place that said once a shot is played, its played ' this never would have happened.
 
Bamberger was only doing what he certainly should have under the circumstances. But the fact is, if it had been, for example Wendy Ward, the infraction would never have been spotted.
 
Pro golf tours state, with a lot of conviction, that an infraction is an infraction is an infraction. And they are correct. But instead of having the desired effect of making certain that all the rules are adhered to, they sometimes cause a very uneven playing field. And in this situation, reputation means everything ' a high-profile player is at a great disadvantage. And, like her reputation or loathe her reputation, Wie is certainly high-profile.
 
Wie left the tournament at peace with herself. She didn't fault the officials. But at the same time, there has to be some doubt that there really WAS an infraction.
 
'It was yesterday, it's not like it was from today,' Wie said afterwards Sunday night. 'It's from yesterday. It was all guesswork where the ball was, where the ball was yesterday, where the ball was originally in the bushes.'
 
She abided completely by the rules, however, saying the arbiters were doing the best they could with the facts as they could be determined. Everyone, it seems, was left with a foggy definition of what really transpired.
 
Rules are meant to be followed ' absolutely. But should there not be an end-of-day statute of limitations, a time beyond which all play is considered final? Again, the rules officials are only doing their job ' the real beef here is with the tour itself. But an infraction which does not come to light until after the round is already completed and the scorecard signed ought to not be held against the performer; at the very least, a round should be declared in the books and valid by the time a competitor tees it for his/her next round.
 
Something should done whereby the entire field plays by the same standards. And if it cant be done ' and believe me, it cant - then it seems unfair to judge the high-profile players by a much harsher measuring stick.
 
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Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.


Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

“I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

“The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

He's making his first start in the event.

''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

How rare is his missing the cut there?

The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.