Christina Kim came away Saturday at Q-Series with an LPGA card for 2020. But two days earlier, she witnessed a rules violation by two of her playing competitors and called them on it.
How she handled the situation, though, caused a bit of a stir.
According to Golfweek's Beth Ann Nichols, the infraction occurred after Kim hit her tee shot Thursday on Pinehurst No. 9’s par-3 17th hole. As Dewi Weber prepared to play, the third player in the group, Kendall Dye, motioned to Weber’s caddie, Jacqueline Schram, asking if Weber had hit 8-iron. Schram confirmed (though Weber had actually hit 9-iron).
While players are allowed to look into their competitors bags to determine what club they selected, they cannot ask other players or their caddies. Dye had violated Rule 10-2, and so – unknowingly – had Weber.
“I’m gutted for the other player who was over her shot, ball in air and had no idea what was going on,” Dye told Golfweek, adding that she didn’t know the rule. “By no means was I trying to cheat.”
Kim opted to tell the players and a rules official at the end of the round (10 holes later). Dye and Weber were docked two shots each.
Both players ended up missing out on LPGA cards, too. Weber shot 82 the next day while Dye rinsed her final tee shot Saturday after entering the hole just two shots outside the top 45.
“It affected me way too much,” Weber told Golfweek. “It shouldn’t have. That’s absolutely, 100 percent on me.”
Though Kim was justified in pointing out the violation – Rule 1.3n(1) states that “ if two or more players deliberately agree to ignore any rules or penalty they know applied and any of those players have started the round, they are disqualified – she also rubbed many the wrong way after a cryptic post-round tweet on Thursday evening.
“Quick PSA-if you’re a golfer, please read and know the rules. PLEASE!!!,” Kim tweeted.
Kim declined to discuss the situation with Golfweek on Saturday, but she did spend multiple days on Twitter defending her actions.
- “I had to sit on this with a pit in my stomach for three hours because I didn’t want to bring this up. It affected everyone and sometimes people forget that.”
- “You break a rule, you break it. Not a matter of intent. An infraction is an infraction is an infraction. And sometimes it’s ok. It doesn’t have to mean cheating. I have nothing but love for these individuals but nothing is higher than my love for what’s right.”
- “I calmly stated what I saw to the official, which was CONFIRMED by the people in question. The rules committee then went and had a discussion amongst themselves and contacted each of us afterwards with the verdict.”
- “Why? I’m not a gossip. It was an innocent mistake that was made, but just as Mount Everest was the tallest peak in the world prior to its founding in the 1850s by Andrew Waugh, not knowing the rule doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.”
Kim, who tied for 24th at Q-Series and will play out of Category 14 next season, appeared Sunday morning on Morning Drive and stated that her actions were "truly just coming from my heart."
"I've been called a nark. ... Unfortunately, the rules of golf don't really care about who your friends, don't really care about your personal emotions, and one thing I pride myself in is my integrity and just knowing that I had to do the right thing," Kim said. "If I was going to sit there and try to protect my two friends, one, I'm in breach of the rules, which is something I hole scared, and two, that's unfair to the other 95 players in the field, so it was a really tough decision."
"I wasn't trying to start any drama," she added. "All I was trying to do is just remind people, hey, if you're going to do something just make sure you do it within the confines of what is and isn't allowed."
Dye took to Twitter on Sunday afternoon to further apologize for committing the infraction, but she also remained "very disappointed" in Kim's "unprofessional" decision to take the situation to social media.