Wies Post-Round Transcript with Officials

By Lpga Tour MediaOctober 17, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 Samsung World ChampionshipWie talks about her DQ in her post-round interview with and Rules Officials:
PAUL ROVNAK: Michelle, we certainly appreciate you coming in. We'll take a couple of questions.
Q. Do you agree with this decision? Do you agree with what they told you that you did, indeed, play a ball too close to the hole?
MICHELLE WIE: Yes, I mean, you know, I respect the rules. I was three inches ahead. I mean it looked fine to me. You know, I learned a great lesson today. You know from now on, I'm going to call a rule official no matter what it is. And, you know, I'm really sad that this happened but you know, the rules are the rules. Three inches or 100 yards, is the same thing. I respect that.
Q. Michelle, did you have any idea yesterday, I know there was a discussion here about it, and we all kind of laughed it off because you really felt you were behind the line. Any question in your mind yesterday when you left yesterday?
MICHELLE WIE: No, none at all. I mean me and Greg were talking when we were up at the shot. He told me like watch out, that you're not closer. I made sure that I was farther. Well, I thought I was farther behind. But it looked fine to me. And it was far away. You know, it looked fine to me. I didn't have any question in my mind that I was ahead of the line.
Q. When did you find out there might be a problem, when were you first told?
MICHELLE WIE: Like 10 minutes after I signed my scorecard today.
Q. Michelle, was there ever a point when you were out there this evening on the 7th hole when they were going through the discussion that you knew that there might be a big problem, and can you just talk about whatever emotions you felt?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, you know, they did the line and they paced it off. You know, it was like that much in front. You know, obviously, I was really disappointed with my first event. But, you know, at least I got it out of the way.
Q. How far ahead was the ball?
MICHELLE WIE: Like three inches. It was yesterday, it's not like it was from today. 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. So it was basically all guesswork. I mean it was only three inches.
Q. Did you protest?
MICHELLE WIE: I mean I tried to see what would happen. But, you know, the rules are the rules and that's what happened.
Q. Michelle, can you just describe your emotions right now?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, you know, I'm pretty sad but, you know, I think I'm going to get over it. I learned a lot from it. It's obviously not the way I wanted to begin it but, you know, it's all right.
Q. I'm just curious, Michelle, you took probably three or so unplayables this week without the help of rules officials and you did it quite confidently, do you consider yourself a pretty good statement of knowing when to drop from red to yellow and unplayables and things like that?
MICHELLE WIE: I mean I've been through so many unplayables. I've been in a lot of water hazards before so you know, I know. I know what to do. I don't feel like I cheated or anything. I felt like, you know, I was honest out there. And, you know, it's what I felt like I did right. I was pretty happy out there with what I did. If I did it again I would still do that because it looked right to me. But I learned my lesson, I'm going to call a rule official every single time.
PAUL ROVNAK: As can you see we are joined by LPGA rules' officials Robert O. Smith and Jim Haley. Unfortunately, Michelle Wie has been disqualified from the tournament, and I will now turn it over to Robert O. Smith to explain the ruling and situation.
ROBERT O. SMITH (LPGA Tournament Official and Manager of Rules): Well, I was sitting on the golf course, and a spectator came to me and told me of an incident which occurred yesterday on the 7th hole, when Michelle had taken relief from an unplayable lie to the left of the green.
The spectator told me that he felt that the player had dropped the ball and played the ball closer to the hole than where the ball originally lay unplayable.
Well, rules of golf provide that if you take when taking relief from an unplayable lie measuring two club lengths, you can't go closer to the hole.
Well, unfortunately, this ball was about ended up being played about 12 to 15, 18 inches closer to the hole than where the ball originally lay.
Because of that, because she had played that ball from that position yesterday she played from a wrong place and violated Rule 20 7 which is: Playing the ball from a wrong place.
The penalty for that is two strokes. She didn't put that on her scorecard for the 7th hole, so therefore she had a scorecard of two strokes less on that hole.
The rules of golf provide also under Rule 6, that if you sign your scorecard with a score lower than you actually made on the hole, you're disqualified.
Unfortunately, that's what happened and that's it in a nutshell.
Q. I take it you brought her out to the spot and she showed you?
ROBERT O. SMITH: Yes, sir, we had Michelle and her caddy, Greg, come to the 7th hole, and I said what I need to know is what happened yesterday when you took your unplayable lie. Where was the ball?
I want to tell you something right now, and I told them, the rules of golf, ladies and gentlemen, are based on facts. Where was the ball? It's a fact where that ball was. They had to tell us where it was. From there I can tell. Then I have to find out where did you play your shot from after you dropped the ball. That's also a fact.
And the fact was, the ball was closer to the hole by about 12 to 18 inches unfortunately.
Q. That being the case what took so long?
ROBERT O. SMITH: Took so long today? There was quite a discussion with everyone involved with that after the round was over. She came out there I guess, immediately Jim brought her out after the round was over and unfortunately what they showed us.
Q. I'm saying this has been well over an hour?
ROBERT O. SMITH: I know that. There was a lot of discussion with all parties involved with this. Jim and I have a philosophy that we try to let them say their piece and make sure is this where that ball was? Tell us that.
And, unfortunately, when the ball was in that bush, no matter where it was in that bush, that ball was closer to the hole when they played it. I looked at the videotape which was inconclusive, I might add, so at that point I want to make sure we were making the right decision, because this is important to Jim and I and all of the officials on our tour.
Q. When did the spectator bring this up?
ROBERT O. SMITH: I was sitting on the 15th hole. The final group was on, what, Jim, 14.
JIM HALEY(LPGA Tournament Official and Manager of Golf Course and Site Development): Yes, somebody else asked me the same thing. I think it was about 40 minutes before the tournament was over approximately.
Q. What was her emotional state?
ROBERT O. SMITH: Obviously, I know when I played as a youngster, and when I was a 16 year old, if this would have happened to me, I would have been pretty broken up. She was a little bit emotional about it unfortunately. But you know what, good things come from things like this. That's what I believe.
Q. Were any calls put into the folks at Daytona, the LPGA headquarters or was this the decision here?
ROBERT O. SMITH: No, sir, we feel confident what we did was the right thing. Unfortunately we have had to do this before. Believe me, ladies and gentlemen, this is not fun.
Q. Are you saying that no matter where she would have dropped the ball out of that bush, unless she had gone across the cart path there, the ball was going to be closer to the hole?
ROBERT O. SMITH: If that ball, if you had to see this situation, she would have probably been dropping in a dirt area, not on the grass area. And that's the bad part of it. We measured this three or four times. Jim and I wanted to be perfectly sure that what we were doing was right. Unfortunately it turned out that way.
Q. Was it some sort of a device?
ROBERT O. SMITH: We use string, like plumber's string.
Q. She was emotional, what did she say? Did she dispute the ruling during your discussion?
JIM HALEY: Once we pointed out, you know, went through the whole procedure, and they realized that they did play, or Michelle did play from a closer spot, I mean it was fairly conclusive then after we used the string. And it was conclusive. There wasn't much they could say unfortunately.
Q. Who all was out there, the two of you and the two of them? Was it you two, Michelle and Greg and that was it?
ROBERT O. SMITH: Initially. Who else?
JIM HALEY: There was one individual from the tournament, tournament management staff that came along with us just to be there. That was essentially it. I have to admit we did come back to the office and Michelle's parents were there. Obviously they were quite concerned. We did have some discussions with her parents.
Q. Just for clarification sake when she put the ball in the bushes was she able to definitively say where she dropped her ball. Was there still a divot there? Or are you saying, Robert, it didn't matter, anywhere on the grass would have been too close?
ROBERT O. SMITH: Yes, sir, that's what I'm saying. When I went out there, I looked for a scuffed up area where that ball might have been hit yesterday. I could not find it. I could not see it. That's 24 hours, so the grass tends to rebound.
Q. She had to estimate where the ball was?
ROBERT O. SMITH: The videotape will probably tell you where the ball was after when she played it. But we couldn't tell where the ball lay in the bush on the video tape. That's why we had to have them tell us. What they told us, that becomes a fact.
Q. Was the spectator here yesterday or did he see it on TV and did either of you know the spectator?
ROBERT O. SMITH: I don't know who it was. They were here yesterday and they told us about it today. Unfortunately, what we like to do, if a spectator sees something like, they need to tell us because if they can tell us right away, if she could have played that, and we could have caught her in the tent at 18, it would have been a two-stroke penalty. Play golf today. But once that scorecard is signed, it's history. That's the unfortunate part of it. That's the sad part of this whole thing.
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