ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – Scottish golfer Elliot Saltman was banned for three months by the European Tour on Wednesday for marking his ball incorrectly during an event last year.
The incident happened during the first round of the Russian Challenge Cup in Moscow on Sept. 16. The 28-year-old Saltman was disqualified from the event and attended a disciplinary hearing in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
A statement released by the tour said its tournament committee unanimously found that Saltman “committed a serious breach,” suspending him from all European Tour and Challenge Tour-sanctioned tournaments with immediate effect.
Saltman is the first professional to be banned from the European Tour since 1992, when Johan Tumba of Sweden was suspended for 10 years for altering his scorecard at qualifying school. David Robertson was also banned for 20 years in 1985 for replacing his ball incorrectly in a qualifying event for the British Open.
Saltman admitted after the event in the Russian capital that he had broken the rules but has since retracted those comments, saying last month that he was “sorry now that I didn’t stand up for myself.”
He has the right to appeal against the tournament committee’s verdict within 28 days.
Saltman’s two playing partners in the event in Russia – Marcus Higley and Stuart Davis, both of England – also attended the disciplinary hearing.
Saltman gained full membership of the tour in November.