Rules Enforced by TV

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 16, 2007, 5:00 pm
Editor's note: Ray Herzog, a rules expert from the San Diego Golf Academy in Orlando, Fla., will be presiding over cases presented by you the reader. Please submit your on-course dispute and let Rules Judge Ray settle it.
 
Case presented by Jerry Pentin:
 
Dear Judge,
 
In a High School match last year, during the NCS championships, one of our young lady competitors asked her opponent to 'tend the flag'. The opponent agreed. Our golfer hit her putt but the opponent failed to pull the flag. Our golfer was accessed a two stroke penalty. Ultimately this penalty, when added to our team score, pushed us from third to fourth and the team missed out on a chance to advance to the NorCal championships. So my question is, (I do know the USGA rules on this now...) how can you be penalized when you have a oral agreement with the opponent to 'tend the flag.' Once agreed you have no defense to being penalized. Proving intent on the opponent's action is fairly unreasonable. Seems to me being penalized for an opponent's lack of sportsmanship is really unfair.

 
Jerry,
 
I cant agree with you more. For a player to receive a penalty because of a lack of sportsmanship is really unfair. One of the factors a rules official will use in determining a ruling is the intent of the player. In this case, if the player purposely left the flagstick in the hole, I dont think they will admit doing it on purpose. They have no morals so I am sure they will keep on lying. I would ask the player two questions to try to prove her intent:
 
1. Were you paying attention, did you see the putt heading for the hole?
2. Did the flagstick get stuck in the hole?
 
If they were not paying attention, or the flagstick got stuck, it is still a penalty on the player putting. Decision 17-3/2 covers this exact situation. If I could somehow prove the player attending the flagstick did not remove it on purpose, I could DQ the player for a serious breach of Rule 1-2. But you are absolutely correct, proving intent is fairly unreasonable in certain situations. Sorry your team had to lose out because of someone purposely breaking the rules.
-- Ray
 
Bonus question from Robert
 
Suzann Pettersen is the latest victim of TV. She was penalized two strokes when her ball was deemed to have moved before playing a shot in the second round of the LPGA event. She didnt see it move. Her caddie didnt see it move. Even a rules official standing there didnt see it move. Yet you could see it move slightly on TV. Whats your take on this? Should TV affect/enforce the rules?
 
Robert,
 
Something like this happens every couple months to get everyone in a tizzy. First it was Craig Stadler kneeling on the towel; last year it was Michelle Wie dropping closer to the hole; and this past week it was Suzann Pettersens ball moving. The good thing for Suzann was the broadcasters could see it right away. The ball clearly moved. The officials had an opportunity to review the incident with her before she signed an incorrect scorecard. She received a two-stroke penalty rather than getting disqualified like Stadler and Wie. Having millions of people watching the broadcasts is basically golfs version of the instant replay. The only problem is not every shot is broadcasted and that is unfair to leaders who have every shot aired.
 
But the real problem is, if the three people standing right there did not see the ball move why should the players get penalized because of someone calling in a penalty. The easy answer is found under the definition of referee. The book states, a referee is one who is appointed by the Committee to accompany players to decide questions of fact and apply the Rules. He must act on any breach of a Rule that he observes or is reported to him. The key words in the definition are must act and is reported to him. The rule book does not state who is reporting the infraction. So when they hear about or see an infraction they must act on it.
 
It might not be the best system, but they are abiding by the rule book. Is a rules infraction going to be televised during your Club Championship, probably not. But what is the difference between seeing it on TV and applying the penalty or having three fellow competitors describing the incident and applying the penalty. At least the infraction on TV is on tape.
-- Ray
 
Email your on-course rules dispute to Rules Judge Ray
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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


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Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

@tommyfleetwood_1

A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.