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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Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

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Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

 There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.



It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.



Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.



Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.



Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.



After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.



Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

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Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.


Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters


Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.