Monty Defends Self Against Rules Violation

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NEWPORT, Wales -- Colin Montgomerie defended himself Wednesday against charges he broke the rules more than two months ago in the Indonesian Open.
 
When play was suspended by lightning in March, Montgomerie failed to mark his ball in a bunker, and it wasn't there when the round resumed. He replaced his ball, although video later showed he put it in the wrong spot. Montgomerie wound up in a tie for fourth.
 
Without that result, he would not have been No. 50 on Monday, the cutoff for being exempt for the U.S. Open.
 
The European tour declined to penalize him, although when Montgomerie had a chance to review the tape, he felt it was an incorrect drop and donated his prize money to a tsunami relief fund.
 
'There was no admission of guilt in making a gesture of that kind,' Montgomerie said Wednesday, on the eve of the Wales Open. 'That was a gesture on my behalf because I wasn't happy with what I saw. That was my personal gesture and no admission of guilt.'
 
The tour's tournament committee, composed of players, said two weeks ago it wasn't satisfied with Montgomerie's failure to mark his ball. But committee chairman Jamie Spence said there was no mechanism in place for forfeiting ranking points.
 
Montgomerie said he wasn't penalized for the infraction at the time because referee Jose Maria Zamora didn't think the mistake was serious enough to warrant a penalty.

The European tour's chief referee, John Paramor, said Wednesday that if he had been in charge, Montgomerie would have been penalized two strokes.
 
But he acknowledged it was a judgment call whether the distance Montgomerie had replaced his ball away from the correct spot warranted a penalty.
 
Officials of the European PGA Tour have tried to close the matter. But over the weekend, English golfer Gary Evans said 98 percent of players were concerned about the ruling, and that 'there has been smoke around Monty before.'
 
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