The year of the asterisks


NORTON, Mass. – Add another chapter to the year of the asterisks. Another proper noun turned verb, as in don’t pull a Chad Campbell, thanks to another baffling series of missteps and miscommunication.

Campbell, the soft-spoken Texan with a penchant for plain hamburgers and pure ballstriking, was disqualified from the Deutsche Bank Championship on Saturday because of a clerical error.

He was bounced from the year’s second playoff event because he failed to register on Tuesday when he arrived at TPC Boston.

That he carded an opening 72 and was poised to tee off for Round 2 on Saturday before he learned of his gaffe is bad enough. That this most recent snafu comes on the heels of Jim Furyk’s disqualification at The Barclays for a similarly nondescript infraction would be comical had it not cost one of the Tour’s true good guys a shot at postseason advancement.

“It just makes me sick,” said Mark Russell, the Tour’s vice president of rules and competition, before trying to explain the reasons for the rule. “I’m not a lawyer.”

Perhaps, but it’s getting to the point Tour players will need an attorney on retainer to avoid the wrath of small print.

“That’s another one that comes back to these rules we have made. It’s harsh,” said Ryan Palmer, one of Campbell’s closest friends on Tour. “They disqualified a guy for not signing his name.”

Which should be bad news for all those Tour knuckleheads who brush past hordes of kids waiting for autographs, but that kind of rule would make too much sense. Instead, the Nitpicker Tour stumbles along.

Like Furyk’s pro-am problems, registration issues are virtually nonexistent on Tour. The last time a player was disqualified for failing to register was Brandel Chamblee in 2002 at the Buick Challenge. Even worse for Chamblee he’d just carded a tournament-leading 67 when he was shown the door.

It’s become a theme on Tour, where punishments don’t dovetail with the crime. It’s akin to lethal injections for jaywalking.

Campbell was every bit the victim of poor timing. Had he played in the pro-am on Thursday his failure to register would have likely been noticed. Had this been a normal Tour event with alternates he probably wouldn’t have fallen through the administrative cracks.

Like Furyk, Campbell never made any excuses. He didn’t have to.

“Rules are rules,” Furyk said. “I should have gotten up. This one (Campbell) . . . maybe we should look into whether it’s a good rule or not.”