Woods Others Weigh in on Wie Incident

By Mercer BaggsOctober 18, 2005, 4:00 pm
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Golf is a sport where players police themselves. Tiger Woods would like it remain that way. Or at least hed like to keep the handcuffs out of public hands.
Two days after Michelle Wie was disqualified from her professional debut because a member of the media informed LPGA Tour officials about a rules violation, Woods weighed in with his opinion on the matter.
Ive never been a big fan of that, Woods said Tuesday when asked about people outside of the ropes calling violations. But unfortunately its part of the game. And the problem I thought, it was a day late with Michelle.
Michelle Wie
PGA Tour players differ in their opinions of who should be able to report a rules violation.
A Sports Illustrated reporter witnessed what he thought was a bad drop by Wie in her third round Saturday at the Samsung World Championship. After some internal debating, some reenacting, and a discussion with his editor, he decided to inform officials on Sunday of what he believed to be a rules violation.
Officials eventually concurred with the reporter, and Wie, who would have finished fourth, was disqualified after the tournament was over for signing an incorrect scorecard the day before.
Outside agencies calling out rules violations ' or suspected rules violations ' is becoming more and more frequent on every tour ' particularly on the PGA Tour, which receives far greater attendance and much more viewership than any of its rivals.
This week, the tour is at the Walt Disney World Resort for the Funai Classic. All four rounds will be televised nationally and its likely that officials from the tour, or from ESPN or ABC (the two televising networks this week), will receive at least a few calls from viewers about possible rules infractions.
Some players are in Tigers corner, like former Stanford teammate and good friend Notah Begay III, who said, I think that as we move into broader media ' and we have more coverage than weve ever had, there has to be a firm line drawn. I just dont think that we really need outside intervention. We need to govern our own play.
But many of the players asked Tuesday didnt seem to mind the external eyes.
The interesting thing that most people dont realize is that this kind of thing comes up every year in players meetings behind closed doors, Stewart Cink said. And year after year, the players ' the majority of the players ' support call-ins and people from the galleries calling rules (violations).
I think it was really fair of the guy who did it. It (just) should have been handled differently; he should have called it before she signed her scorecard, said world No. 2 Vijay Singh.
The reporters timing seemed to bother players more so than his calling a violation.
I think the way it was handled was wrong in my opinion, tour rookie Sean OHair said. I think it could have been brought to her attention during the round. If that would have been the case, then she wouldnt have been disqualified.
OHair said that at the WGC-American Express Championship two weeks ago, his playing companions, Singh and David Toms, brought to his attention a bad drop he made on the 15th hole in the final round. They did so during the round, allowing him to call a penalty on himself, and thus avoiding disqualification for signing an incorrect scorecard.
Because that threesome was so far behind the leaders at the time, the incident wasnt seen on television. Had Singh and Toms not been paying attention, OHair might have unintentionally broken a rule and not been penalized.
That leads to the debate of whether or not public policing is fair to everyone. Certain players ' like Woods and Wie ' receive far more exposure than their peers. That means more cameras, more sets of eyes and much more scrutiny.
Its not equitable for the entire tour, but you have to understand that ' you accept it, Woods said. Were going to have more camera time, so hence things like that can happen.
Singh receives his fair share of exposure. And he said he has no problem with someone outside of the ropes calling a rules infraction on him or anyone else.
The rules are the rules, said Singh, regardless of who calls it.
The difference between our sport and other sports that are televised is that the referees govern them and the rules govern us, Cink said. Whether theres somebody there to call a rules violation or not, the rules are still in effect.
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