Making Sense of the DQ Rules

By George WhiteOctober 18, 2005, 4:00 pm
Once again, we are faced with one of golfs interesting conundrums: should, or should not, have Michelle Wie been disqualified?
By now we all know the particulars: reporter Michael Bamberger was on the scene when Wie took a drop in mid-round Saturday. Bamberger suspected something might have been amiss, agonized over whether to report it and finally spoke up on Sunday evening. Tour officials determined that Wie had dropped closer to the hole by a foot, and since she had already signed her scorecard for Saturdays round, DQd her after the tournament had been completed.
Michelle Wie
Would Michelle Wie's improper drop have been noticed if she wasn't such a high profile player?
There are four or five interesting facets to this case, but only one stands out to me as glaringly wrong ' once again, an observer makes the tour officials aware of a miscue long after the fact; the officials take the complaint and make a determination (this time a day after said infraction happened); and then the guilty party is slapped with a disqualification.
Imagine that scenario being played out in football. On Monday, a chap calls the league office and reveals that he has put a laser on a running back and determined that the ball was three inches from being in the end zone. It had been called a touchdown on Sunday, of course, in a 20-17 win. But the caller was found to be correct, and the team is now given a defeat instead of a win.
Its much more so with the leaders in a golf tournament. Lets say Tiger Woods is shown hitting a shot 60 times during a round on television. He has maybe 20 members of the media following him on the golf course. If he makes a mistake, it is immediately beamed around the world or spotted by one of the entourage following him.
But Joe X doesnt have to worry about any of this. He tours the course in front of his wife and five curious spectators. There are no television cameras following his every move. He plays completely by the rules, he firmly believes, but during the afternoon he unknowingly breaks a rule. He signs his card, walks off into the sunset, and sleeps soundly, free from the worry that an untoward ball drop, for example, will bring a disqualification tomorrow.
This hardly seems fair, does it? But all the pro tours abide by the same rules. They have rules officials on hand to protect any of the players, but who knows how many rules violations have been committed ' inadvertently ' by the lesser-known players? The rulebook is so thick, and players are notorious in their ignorance of it. And even if they do know a rule, they make a mistake a la Wie in, for example, dropping a ball.
This is not a slap at Bamberger ' he told our Brian Hewitt that he agonized over what to do until he spoke to an editor at his publication. The editor said to tell an official what he (Bamberger) saw, and the resulting flap caused Wie to be DQd.
Why should Bamberger be put in this situation in the first place? If Wie weren't such a newsworthy name, he certainly wouldnt have been following her. And if the LPGA had a policy in place that said once a shot is played, its played ' this never would have happened.
Bamberger was only doing what he certainly should have under the circumstances. But the fact is, if it had been, for example Wendy Ward, the infraction would never have been spotted.
Pro golf tours state, with a lot of conviction, that an infraction is an infraction is an infraction. And they are correct. But instead of having the desired effect of making certain that all the rules are adhered to, they sometimes cause a very uneven playing field. And in this situation, reputation means everything ' a high-profile player is at a great disadvantage. And, like her reputation or loathe her reputation, Wie is certainly high-profile.
Wie left the tournament at peace with herself. She didn't fault the officials. But at the same time, there has to be some doubt that there really WAS an infraction.
'It was yesterday, it's not like it was from today,' Wie said afterwards Sunday night. 'It's from yesterday. It was all guesswork where the ball was, where the ball was yesterday, where the ball was originally in the bushes.'
She abided completely by the rules, however, saying the arbiters were doing the best they could with the facts as they could be determined. Everyone, it seems, was left with a foggy definition of what really transpired.
Rules are meant to be followed ' absolutely. But should there not be an end-of-day statute of limitations, a time beyond which all play is considered final? Again, the rules officials are only doing their job ' the real beef here is with the tour itself. But an infraction which does not come to light until after the round is already completed and the scorecard signed ought to not be held against the performer; at the very least, a round should be declared in the books and valid by the time a competitor tees it for his/her next round.
Something should done whereby the entire field plays by the same standards. And if it cant be done ' and believe me, it cant - then it seems unfair to judge the high-profile players by a much harsher measuring stick.
Email your thoughts to George White
Getty Images

Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 8:55 pm

NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 146th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Royal Birkdale, broken down into daily segments:

Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.

Getty Images

Knox relishes round with 'mythical figure' Woods

By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 8:48 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Russell Knox was expecting the worst and hoping for the best Thursday at The Open.

Playing with Tiger Woods tends to have that effect.

The native Scot received a treat earlier this week when he saw his name on the tee sheet alongside his boyhood idol, Woods.

“Felt good out there, but obviously my swing, it was just like I had too much tension,” Knox said after an opening 73. “I just wasn’t letting it go as normal. First round with Tiger, I expected to feel a little bit different. The way I felt was better than the way I swung.”

Knox said that he was nervous playing alongside Woods, a player he’d only encountered on the range. “He’s almost like a mythical figure,” he said.

But after a while, he settled into the rhythm of the round at Carnoustie.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I thought it would be worse,” he said, “I feel like I should know what I’m doing. It’s cool playing with Tiger, but I’ve got to get over that. I’m here to win, not just enjoy my walk around the course.”

Knox probably had more interaction with Woods than he anticipated, if only because the third member of the group, Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, keeps to himself because of the language barrier.

“It’s kind of a blur,” Knox said. “It’s like, Oh, I’m chatting away with Tiger here like normal. I don’t even remember what I was saying.”

There have been countless stories from this year as the next generation of players – guys who grew up watching Woods dominate the sport – get paired with Woods for the first time.

It was no less special for Knox on Thursday.

“It’s nice for him to say things like that,” Woods said, “and we enjoyed playing with each other. Hopefully we’ll play a little bit better tomorrow.”

Getty Images

Rain expected to shower Carnoustie Friday morning

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 8:43 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – By the end of the day Friday, we’ll be able to determine which side of The Open draw ended the first two rounds at Carnoustie with more favorable conditions. With rain expected for most of Friday morning, it seems those who played early/late may be more pleased.

According to, there is a 75 percent chance of rain beginning at 2 a.m. local time Friday here in Scotland. That percentage vaults up to 95 percent by 7 a.m., with the first tee time scheduled for 6:35. At 11, the number drops to 55 percent. After 2 p.m., the percentage chances of rain are 25 percent and below for the remainder of the day.

Temperatures during the day are expected to be from the low 50s to the low 60s and winds will vary between 14-18 mph, again per

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

This is The Open’s official weather report for the weekend:

Saturday: A dull start with some drizzle possible. Staying cloudy for much of the day but gradually becoming brighter with a chance of some sunny intervals during the afternoon and evening. Winds light and variable in direction but should predominantly settle in to a SSE 8-12mph during the afternoon. Max temp 20C (68F).

Sunday: Often cloudy but mainly dry. A better chance of some decent sunny spells compared to Saturday. Most likely the windiest day of the Championship; SW 12-18mph with gusts 20-25mph. Feeling warm, especially in any sunshine with a max temp of 23C (73F).

Getty Images

Bandaged Woods 5 back after even-par 71

By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 8:38 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods arrived Thursday with therapeutic tape on the back of his neck.

Carnoustie’s back nine inflicted even more pain.

Playing in the most difficult conditions of the day, Woods’ progress was stalled by two late bogeys as he settled for an even-par 71 that left him five shots off the lead at The Open.

“I played better than what the score indicates,” he said. “It certainly could have been a little bit better.”

Woods created a stir when he showed up with black kinesiology tape on his neck. Afterward, he said that his neck has been bugging him “for a while” and that Thursday was merely the first time that the tape was visible.

“Everyone acts like this is the first time I’ve been bandaged up,” he said, smiling. “I’ve been doing this for years.”

Woods said that the discomfort didn’t really affect his swing, other than a few shots “here and there.” It didn’t seem to affect his score, either, as he went out in 2 under before a few stumbles on the back nine.

On the fast, baked-out turf, he played conservatively off the tee, using driver only once and 3-wood just twice. Apparently he didn’t need the added distance, not with his 6-iron traveling 240 yards. He tried to play to his spots, even if it routinely left him more than 200 yards for his approach.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

That’s the strategy he employed at Hoylake in 2006, where he hit driver just once and captured the third of his Open titles. Despite some of the similarities in firmness, Woods said that Carnoustie presents a different challenge off the tee.

“These fairways are very small,” he said. “They’re hard to hit right now. They’re so fast, and they’re so moundy.”

Finding the fairway wasn’t the chief problem for Woods on Day 1, however. He missed just four fairways but found only 11 greens.

More damaging to his score was his play on the par 5s. Despite having only an 8-iron in, he failed to birdie each of the two par 5s and then bogeyed Nos. 10, 13 and 15 to squander his early momentum.

Though the draw here won’t be a significant factor – or at least not like in recent years, with a wide range in scores from morning to afternoon – it’s clear that Woods (in game 47 of 52) encountered the most difficult of the conditions Thursday, with the wind gusting to 20 mph and the fairways running even faster after another sun-splashed afternoon.

Still, his opening 71 was one of the better scores in the late wave.

“He hit it good,” said playing partner Russell Knox. “He plotted his way around, which I expected him to do, and he was very conservative off the tee. It’s kind of fun to watch him do that, to be honest.”

Even more fun would be a major with Woods in contention.

He hasn’t broken par in the opening round of his last eight majors. Indeed, for Woods, these slow starts have been the real pain in the neck.