RIO DE JANEIRO – Two months removed from the controversial ruling at this year’s U.S. Open that cost Dustin Johnson a stroke penalty when his ball moved on the fifth green at Oakmont during the final round, Marianne Skarpnord found herself in a similar situation at the Olympics.
Skarpnord had just missed her birdie putt on the 10th hole on Saturday and was settling in for her par attempt when her ball moved. She called an official over for a ruling and he suggested she play on and review the incident after her round.
That wasn’t good enough for Skarpnord.
“I wanted him to decide. It’s his decision if I get a penalty or not. I think it’s the most stupid rule in golf that you can potentially be penalized for a ball that is moving on the green when it’s not your fault,” Skarpnord said.
The Norwegian went on to explain that the grass on Olympic Golf Course is “stiff” and that when you mark your golf ball it tends to oscillate when you replace it on the green.
“When I put it down as I moved away from the ball it was kind of vibrating a little bit and then when I was standing over it I saw it was going to move,” said Skarpnord, who struggled to a 75 on Friday. “I never put my putter down because I was 99 percent sure it was going to move.”
Skarpnord said she did nothing to make the ball move, pointing out that the winds were gusting to 35 mph on Day 3 in Rio, and the official agreed and there was no penalty assessed.
Two holes later, Skarpnord had to get another ruling after hitting a shot under a TV tower. After dropping away from the tower, she attempted to chip into an adjacent fairway and ended up needing to take a second drop because she was still behind the tower.
“This took 15, 20 minutes so I’m sure the girls were pretty happy with me,” Skarpnord said.