The Penalties in Golf are Serious Indeed
Or a basketball player shamefacedly approaching a referee and admitting, Hey, I got him. He missed the shot that would have won the game, and I certainly didnt mean to, but I got him on the arm. Ill take the foul and watch him go to the free-throw line.
A baseball player rounds third and scores on a single to right, but as he crosses home plate with the winning run, he confesses. Oh lordy lordy, I didnt touch third base. I know that means that we lose the game, but I have to be honest. Call me 'out.
Its good for a belly laugh, I guess. If hes a golfer, though, those little scenarios arent funny at all. A golfer is expected to fess up, regardless of the consequence. Thats if he realizes he made a mistake and speaks up immediately. If he unknowingly commits an infraction, the penalty is severe indeed. Disqualification, perhaps?
Just this year, for instance, Greg Norman has faced disqualification twice for violating the same rule. Seems that, after all those years as a professional, he still occasionally misinterprets the rule for dropping a ball after it goes in the water. It happened first at the Honda Classic, which was bad enough. That was close to home in Palm Beach, Fla. The second time it happened, it was really a doozy ' the BMW Asian Open. That was in Shanghai, China, a good 10,000 miles from where he regularly beds down for the night.
Sometimes the penalty is for something you have no idea you are even violating. David Frost was DQd for missing a starting time for a pro-am, for goodness sakes! It was at the Byron Nelson, and Frost swears he didnt even know he was supposed to participate. Oh, well
Last week at the Buick Championship in Hartford, another one was called which tipped the scales of incredulity. This time the guilty party was Dudley Hart. He got the boot in the middle of the second round when his 3-iron turned up with a badly bent shaft. He swears he doesnt remember kicking it, throwing it or tampering with it in any way to cause the kink.
That, of course, is a violation of ol rule 411, the one that states if you start the round with a non-conforming club, youre outta here.
Jon Brendle was the tour official who had the unpleasant lot of informing Hart of the consequences.
Somebody could have kicked the bag in the locker room or something like that, but the USGA takes it that you're responsible for checking your clubs before you play. They take that stand on it, Brendle said.
Brendle, being the gentlemen that he is, gave Hart the chance to come up with a plausible story. Just about anything that Hart said would have been plausible enough. But Hart was stumped. So, Brendle had no choice but administer the old heave-ho.
Had he been able to say he did it in the first four holes - he just can't play with it and there's no disqualification, Brendle said. But in this case, since he couldn't tell us and he was honest enough not to make up a story about it, he got the bad end of that.
Of course, Hart probably has made up excuses a thousand times to tell his wife why he didnt stop at the store on the way home for a quart of milk. But he had to tell one about why the club was bent. And he froze.
The weird thing about it is, said Brendle, if you were out practicing and you went and got a drink and I fell over your bag and didn't say anything to you and you went over to the tee and then you started your round and pulled out a club that was bent, you'd get disqualified for it because at the first tee you're responsible for checking your equipment.
Had he been able to tell us that he tripped over it after play was started or something, then he can't play that club.
Brendle even would have helped him think of an excuse, it seems. If his caddie said after we pulled it out, I threw something over there or I kicked the bag or something like that on the second hole, if he could have come up with any kind of story like that - but nothing like that was there. He couldn't come up with a story.
Hart, incidentally, never saw the 3-iron during the day. He said he hadnt used it during the round, nor had he hit it during his warm-up. His caddy pulled it when he was about to play it on of his fourth hole - the 13th. Hmmm, something doesnt look right, the caddy said. The club was bent like a hockey stick.
Brendle, who hates these disqualification situations, tried everything he knows to keep it from happening this time. He urged Hart to think ' now, what really happened? Think about it, now
But Hart, who is nothing if not brutally honest, couldnt come up with an explanation. Brendle, as befits the rules of golf, had to do his duty. Hart was ejected.
Now, if only Brendle were a line judge and Hart were a lineman. Can you imagine that scenario? Not on your life!
Email your thoughts to George White
Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.
The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.
Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.
There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump
Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.
Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.
None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.
Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.
An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.
In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.
Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.
Playing with the pros
Tiger, DJ and Faxon
President at the Presidents Cup
Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham
Cart on the green
Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open
Trump golf properties
Reportedly fake TIME covers
Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story
Pros comment on the president
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates. And click here for the full collection of articles.
No. 1: Dec. 18
Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo
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.
In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.