New Zealand pro Nick Gillespie assured himself of a spot on our annual poultry parade when he neglected to sign his scorecard after the first round of the Victorian Open in Australia back in February. Did we mention that Gillespie was LEADING THE TOURNAMENT after a course-record-tying 65? Nice round, Nick. BTW, you're DQ'd. He does get props for having a sense of humor about the whole thing, later saying "I've been practicing my signature this afternoon in preparation for next week".
When it comes to U.S. Opens, 2013 wasn't Lee Janzen's first rodeo. He's won two of the things, after all, in 1993 and 1998. But that was a long time ago, and he had to go through qualifying this year. He shot a 75 in the first round of the sectional qualifier in Rockville, Md., so he wasn't going to make the Open field anyway. But wearing metal spikes, when they had been specifically prohibited in an email sent to competitors, sealed the deal with a DQ. Afterward, Janzen manned up, confirming on Twitter that he had been properly warned.
Who among us hasn't laid the sod over an iron shot or two? Yup, guilty as charged. But who among us has watched our PRACTICE-SWING DIVOT strike our ball, costing us not only a penalty, but acute embarrassment? Justin Rose, we're looking at you. It happened in the third round of the BMW Championship in September, and Rose immediately dropped his club as if to say "What a stupid I am."
The veteran Australian pro has never been shy about expressing opinions. This tweet he posted during the Senior British Open at Royal Birkdale landed him in the cyberspace version of hot water. "Couple caddies got rolled by some Pakkis (Pakistanis), bad night for them" After angry responses began surfacing, Elkington apologized in a statement, saying he was unaware that in Britain, "Pakki" is considered a derogatory term.
When Mickelson said he was going to have to make "drastic changes" because of changes in California's tax laws that would take a significantly bigger bite out of his wallet, he violated a basic rule - not of golf but of life: It doesn't matter how justified your complaint might be; nobody's going to feel sorry for a celebrity who makes 10 figures a year. Mickelson got the message - the next week he said he made a "big mistake" talking about his finances publicly.
Dyson was disqualified from the BMW Masters after European Tour officials were made aware of a video showing him illegally tamping down a spike mark on his putting line. He was docked two strokes and then DQ'd for signing an incorrect scorecard, but his troubles didn't end there. Amid reports that this was not his first brush with a rules violation, the tour launched an investigation and scheduled a Dec. 5 hearing at which Dyson's fate - which could involve banishment - is to be decided.
Solheim Cup rules officials
In a Friday afternoon fourball match, rules officials took an estimated half-hour to give Europe's Carlota Ciganda a ruling on a drop. Ciganda saved par and she and Suzann Pettersen went on to defeat Stacy Lewis and Lexi Thompson. The LPGA later announced that the ruling had been incorrect. On Saturday the Americans were miffed after European vice captain Annika Sorenstam improperly told one of the team's caddies to concede a Paula Creamer putt so Thompson couldn't go to school on the line. All in all, not a great Solheim Cup for the rules officials.
U.S. Solheim Cup team
If painted nails and faces and elaborately choreographed celebratory hand gestures had anything to do with winning a golf match, the Solheim Cup would be in U.S. hands. But they don't. And it isn't.
The most shocking thing about Singh telling a reporter he had used deer antler spray wasn't that Singh admitted using the stuff. After all, he claimed he didn't know the active ingredient was on the PGA Tour's list of banned substances. No, the most shocking thing was that Singh TALKED TO A REPORTER.
Finchem worked in the Jimmy Carter White House before coming to the PGA Tour, but when it comes to secrecy, his style is more CIA. The Tour doesn't reveal sanctions against players. Only through Singh's subsequent lawsuit against the Tour did we learn that Camp Ponte Vedra Beach suspended him for 90 days. He appealed and thus continued to play, with his earnings being held in escrow until his case was decided (he got to keep them when the Tour dropped its PED case against him after the World Anti Doping Agency changed its stance on deer antler spray, saying it contained an insignificant amount of the banned active ingredient). Ya follow?
Rules. It's always rules. Overton was DQ'd from the Crowne Plaza Invitational for using a putting alignment aid while practicing during a backup as he made the turn during the third round. "If ur gonna inform someone on a rule of something a person can do, make sure u remind them of the small things they can't do" Overton tweeted afterward. To which we respond, "If ur gonna play the PGA Tour, it's ur responsibility to know the rules."
Where to begin? With the decision to ban anchoring, but not until 2016, leaving a dark cloud of "cheater" accusations hanging over those who legally use the technique in the interim? Or the just-plain-rude timing of the new TV deal with Fox, announced during the PGA Championship? Or the U.S. Open setup at Merion, criticized by many as over the top? Whatever, Glen Nager, Mike Davis and their Far Hills friends may be longing for a return to simpler days, when the biggest problem was trying to keep avian-imitating interlopers from hijacking awards ceremonies.
No doubt the equipment giant was looking for a big return on its investment when it announced it had signed Rory McIlroy to a megadeal. But McIlroy's season-long slump instead shone an unflattering spotlight on his new company, the kind it hadn't been subjected to since Phil Mickelson's infamous "inferior equipment" line about swoosh supporter Tiger Woods. Going forward, if McIlroy doesn't "just do it" and patch his game back together, Nike will forever be regarded as "just blew it."
McIlroy started the season having trouble getting used to his new Nike sticks, but most were still inclined to give him a pass. However, when he withdrew from the Honda Classic (where he was defending champion) in mid-round, offering contradictory stories about a toothache and being "in a bad place mentally," he cost himself a Turkey Day-sized helping of goodwill.
She put the "Woz" in "WozilRoy," but apparently strayed a little too far from the couple's baseline for McIlroy's taste. They had tweeted up a storm about their relationship, but after Wozniacki posted this unflattering twitpic of a snore-y Rory, suddenly there was radio silence. "My private life is private," each maintained in separate interviews, conveniently ignoring the fact that they were the ones who had made their relationship public. Since then, they appear to have defrosted, with Wozniacki in the gallery when McIlroy played in Dubai.
We never cease to marvel at the things that come out of El Nino's mouth. We listen to some of them - his "I'm not good enough to win a major" remark at the 2012 Masters comes to mind - and marvel at the soul-baring candor. But others, including last May's "we will serve fried chicken (to Tiger Woods)," just make us cringe. We know Sergio and Tiger aren't BFFs. But cliched racial-stereotype putdowns? Sergio, we kinda agree with your assessment of your (mental) golf game. But we know you're smarter than to make incendiary remarks like this.
We know George meant well. We know he was just trying to show that Sergio Garcia isn't a bad guy, just one who didn't do a very good job picking his words when he offered a not-so-subtle putdown of Tiger Woods at the European Tour awards dinner. Hmm, doesn't pick his words well - who else might that describe? There's not much question after Euro Tour chief O'Grady said "Most of Sergio's friends in the States happen to be colored athletes." Was O'Grady's use of "colored" offensive? Yes, to some. To others, his use of a term that went out of vogue several decades ago only demonstrated how out of touch he is with the modern, multiracial world. Sadly, in white-male-dominated golf, he isn't alone.
For the list-makers among us, Tiger Woods was heaven-sent. We compile lists of his major wins, his most-won tournaments, his greatest shots, even, in good humor, his favorite interview cliches. Those are all good things. But when you can also compile a list of his 2013 dust-ups with the rules, that's a bad thing. Still, there they are - the illegal drop in Abu Dhabi, the illegal drop at the Masters, the questionable drop at The Players and Oscillategate at the BMW Championship. When arguably the greatest player in the game's history wins five times and regains the No. 1 ranking, yet much of the conversation about him centers on rules controversies, that makes him a Top Turkey of 2013.