4 Responses to “Interesting Rulings for Tournament Officials”
Ryan Gregg writes:
From Ryan Farb:
Sunday, April 14, 2013
67th Western Intercollegiate – Day 2 and Wrap-Up
What an amazing day! How about that tournament down in Augusta? If you’re reading this article you’re certainly enough of a golf fan to have watched the Masters today. SPOILER ALERT for anyone who is watching on DVR: the anchored slam is complete. It was a very strange week in Rules at the Masters, and because I can’t handle talking about it much more, I’m going to leave my previous article as my standing position on “DropGate.”
Across the country on another Alister MacKenzie golf course, another high quality event was being played: the 67th Annual Western Intercollegiate. We saw history in the making today, as the California Golden Bears overcame a 9 stroke deficit to win their 9th event of the year by 13 strokes. What’s even more impressive is that their number 3 player, Michael Weaver, didn’t play. He spent the weekend back at that tournament in Augusta after missing the cut with rounds of 78-74. (That came out wrong, did I mention he was playing in the Masters itself?) I’ll let the fantastic Golfweek writers that were present cover the event itself – I’m here to talk about the Rules.
You can review yesterday’s notable Rules situations in my previous article. Today we had two types of infractions in three notable situations.
Read the Local Rules!
Several years ago a problem started developing with players hitting their drives up or down the fairways of the 11th and 12th holes, endangering oncoming groups and slowing the pace of play in the process. Without going into severe detail, a large lateral water hazard separates the two holes and in order to solve this problem, we got a recommendation from the USGA on an internal out of bounds. We implemented this local rule successfully last year and kept it in place this year.
In order to successfully implement the local rule, we had to place white stakes on both sides of the hazard to define the internal out of bounds. In the play of the 11th hole, the white stakes on the 12th hole are boundary stakes and the white stakes on the 11th hole are immovable obstructions. This goes the same but vice versa while playing the 12th hole. Essentially all you need to know is the player cannot move those stakes because they are fixed (either as out of bounds stakes or as immovable obstructions). It is that status as fixed that is key.
Unfortunately, one player did not read the local rules or did not listen to the briefing from his coach telling him that he cannot move those white stakes. So while playing the 11th hole, one player did move the white stake because it interfered with his swing. He would have been entitled to relief from the immovable obstruction (it was a stake defining the OB for hole 12), but he was not entitled to remove the stake. Decision 13-2/15 explains that if a player removes an immovable obstruction the player has breached Rule 13-2 and is subject to the general penalty (two strokes in stroke play or loss of hole in match play). In this case the player was penalized two strokes and went on to make an 8 on the hole.
Ahem…Signing for a Score Lower than Actually Made
There were two disqualifications today. The first player we discovered prior to the close of the competition and so the DQ was quite unceremonious. The head coach came in and asked to look at the card in question, saw that the player had signed for a score lower than actually taken and announced the player was disqualified.
The second disqualification happened after the close of the competition. After the competition closed? Yes, exactly. The Exception to Rule 34-1b clearly states that the Committee MUST impose a penalty of disqualification after the competition is closed if a competitor: (iii) returned a score for any hole lower than actually taken (Rule 6-6d) for any reason other than failure to include a penalty that, before the competition closed, he did not know he had incurred.
(Oh, by the way, it would absolutely not be appropriate in any way for the Committee to use Rule 33-7 to waive the disqualification penalty in these circumstances…either…)
Because this second disqualification happened after the close of the competition it changed the result of the competition and may actually impact some rankings. Please, check your score card carefully and make sure the hole-by-hole scores are correct and not just the total. The Committee is responsible for the total (Rule 33-5) and the player is responsible for the hole-by-hole (Rule 6-6d).
April 18th, 2013 at 3:53 pm
Ryan Gregg writes:
From Ryan Farb:
Saturday, April 13, 2013
67th Western Intercollegiate – Day 1
This post won’t nearly be in high demand as the last, but there is another tournament going on this weekend besides that one down in my old stomping grounds of Georgia…
Today was the first day of the 67th annual Western Intercollegiate, known as the oldest collegiate event west of the Mississippi at famed Pasatiempo Golf Course, also known as the last home of the architect of that course the pros are playing on this weekend. Today was the 36 hole day, where the players play 36 consecutive holes in a shotgun start. It’s always tough, and the wind in the afternoon made it even tougher. But I’m not going to talk about the battle at the top between #1 ranked Cal and 5th ranked UCLA, the leaderboard does the talking for them. I’m interested in the rulings that happened out on the course.
My first ruling of the day came early, just long of the 10th hole. There is a split-rail fence near the road that is not an obstruction. You can see in the pictures below, the ball came to rest directly underneath the fence and the player clearly was entitled to relief. Because of a local rule that made the road and fence one obstruction, the nearest point of relief was going to be on the grass left of the fence. The only issue with that is the player would have to stand on a cart path (which was a separate obstruction) or play off of it if he dropped there. I explained that relief from the cart path would then take him back underneath the fence, and by Decision 1-4/8 at that point we would go to the nearest point of relief for both obstructions which would be in dirt and tufts of grass left of the cart path.
The player decided to try and drop in the small area of grass he had that would be within his legal dropping area. His first drop bounced and hit his leg. That required a re-drop under Rule 20-2a with no limit to how many times he could re-drop (meaning it was a “no drop”). The next drop did not land in the legal dropping area. He was required to correct the error by dropping again under Rule 20-6. The next drop bounced and again hit his leg (unlimited re-drop under Rule 20-2a). The next drop landed in the dropping area but rolled closer to the hole than his nearest point of relief. That required a re-drop under Rule 20-2c, but at least this one counted. For the scoreboard that’s 1 good drop so far. Drop 5 did not land in the dropping area, he had to correct the mistake under Rule 20-6. Drop 6 bounced and hit his leg for the third time, again requiring a re-drop. Drop 7 finally landed within the dropping area and did not roll closer to the hole. Even better for the player it stayed on the grass and he was able to get a clean shot on it. I don’t need to go into the fact that it came to rest where he had interference from a sprinkler head and had to take relief again…
Giving Us the Turn-Around
I soon was called to the 1st hole which is lined on the left hand side by a large driving range net. The posts of the driving range net define out of bounds. This player’s ball came to rest precariously close to being out of bounds. In fact, if we’d drawn a string from post to post it’s possible the ball was out but by my eye and the other official with me, part of the ball was touching the course so it was not out of bounds. Next to the ball was a large cable-wire running from the top of the driving range post to about a yard in bounds and right of the player’s ball. I asked the player what shot he would play if the cable were not there. After discussing with his coach, he stated the most reasonable shot for him to play would be to punch out diagonally backwards. He took his stance for that stroke, it was definitely reasonable, and he had interference from the cable. Decision 24-2b/17 tells us that if a player has interference from an obstruction for an abnormal stroke, and the abnormal stroke is reasonable under the circumstances that the player is entitled to relief. So I gave him relief.
That same decision also tells us that the player could then turn around and play a normal stroke and if he then has interference from the obstruction he would be entitled to relief again. The player turned around for a normal stroke and had interference. So I gave him relief. By sheer dumb luck, the player was entitled to relief that moved him completely away from a boundary net and gave him a decent escape route from a sticky situation. If this sounds fishy see Decision 24-2b/6 which tells is that it is perfectly fine if a player incidentally gets relief from a boundary fence when taking relief from an obstruction. I’m telling you, the Rules really are here to help…
Drop the Ball – Fido
The fun ruling of the day was unfortunately not mine, but one of our other officials on the 6th hole (next to Dr. MacKenzie’s old home). Before a player was able to play his shot from the fairway, a dog ran out and stole his ball! They gave chase for a bit and finally got the ball back from the dog. In this situation Rule 18-1 applies. There is no penalty for the outside agency moving the ball and the ball had to be replaced. Because they knew the exact spot to replace the ball, the player simply had to replace it on the spot and there was no need to turn to Rule 20-3c.
Pace of Play – Again
Let’s put it this way, we have an 88 player field, playing in groups of 4 in a 36 hole shotgun, on a difficult golf course. The final time was an average of about 5 hours and 20 minutes per round, which in the grand scheme of things was actually pretty solid. It would’ve been quicker had the wind not started blowing 20-25 mph.
Several groups were put on the clock throughout the day, pretty much only in the first round. In the group I ended up timing, I issued two official warnings for bad times. One player took 45 seconds over a tee shot and another took 56 seconds over a putt. This doesn’t sound horrendous but I am also fairly generous about when I start the stopwatch so when a player gets a bad time, it was a bad time. What I found interesting is that notifying the players they were out of position and behind pace only quickened their step slightly. Issuing the official warnings was like jumpstarting a speed-bike. They were back on time within a hole of the warnings.
So how about Tianlang Guan? The policy in effect at the Western is very similar to the policy that penalized Guan. A player has 40 seconds to play a stroke once their group is out of position and behind time. According to the reports, Guan was warned about slow play on the 12th and 16th holes before he received a penalty on the 17th. I don’t know the exact policy, but either the players are given two warnings or he was first warned that the group was out of position and would be timed on the 12th and then had a bad time and an official warning on the 16th. Either way, he had two chances to play a little more quickly.
Could the argument be made that it was a poor application of the policy? Perhaps. I think Morgan Pressel had a stronger argument. Bottom line is that the Rule is the Rule and Guan took it exactly that way. For the way he handled it that kid should be highly praised and I wish him the best for years to come. The only thing I want now is for that policy to be enforced regularly. The only way to speed up play is to actually enforce the policy.
April 18th, 2013 at 3:55 pm
Ryan Gregg writes:
CGA Qualifying – Fountaingrove
Good Luck and Bad Luck Start Somewhere
The player’s ball lied just inside the red line of a lateral water hazard. He took a couple of swipes at the ball and missed each time. He decided that it be best to declare his ball unplayable (yes, unplayable). He drops within two club-lengths of the ball as prescribed in Rule 28c, (that also meet the requirement of Rule 26-1c). He completes the play of the hole and reports the facts to a tournament official. Rule 20-7/2 tells us that Rule 28c is not an applicable Rule since his ball was in a water hazard and that his only option was to proceed under his options in Rule 26-1. However, since he dropped the ball in a place that satisfies the requirements in Rule 26-1, he only incurs a penalty of one stroke under Rule 26-1, and no penalty for playing from a wrong place. He got lucky. However, he played two balls from the next tee that were not found, and subsequently withdrew.
Worst Caddie of the Year Award Goes to…
On the fourth hole, a caddie flagged down a tournament official and handed him a left-handed sand wedge. He said that he found it lying next to the green. The tournament official then took the wedge and checked with the groups ahead and none of them were left-handed. Just to make sure, he went back through the field and the only left handed player was in the group that found the abandoned wedge. Very strange since our group were the only ones on the course. The tournament official decided to ask the player if he was missing his sand wedge. The answer (drum roll) “yes”. The player went three holes without the sand wedge because the caddie gave it away. Fortunately, he didn’t need it on those three holes. Ironically, this player hit a great shot out of the greenside bunker on the first playoff hole to take the first alternate spot with that very same sand wedge.
April 30th, 2013 at 2:12 pm
Sam Gross writes:
Ruling from the Net Amateur Qualifier at Shadow Lakes 09/14/13.
Playing his second shot from about 40 yards from the hole location on the first hole, the ball flew the green and came to rest onto the street behind the green which was O.B. The player could not see where the ball landed. Once the player found the ball, he did not return to where he played his last shot and instead substituted a ball and dropped that ball between the street and the sidewalk.
The substituted ball was dropped about 20-25 yards away from the hole . Then player was playing from gravel and dirt to a down sloping green and the ball came to rest. The player played a stroke and then holed out.
After the player had teed off on the second hole, the situation was explained to a Rules Official on the course. The Rules Official immediately contacted the Committee to explain what had occurred. The Tournament Chairmen and another Rules Official confirmed that if there was a serious breach, then the player would be disqualified for playing from a wrong place with a serious breach that was not corrected prior to teeing off from the next hole.
The Rules Official relayed this information to the player and the player left the course without contesting the ruling. But was it a serious breach? Being the Tournament Chairman, I should have instructed the on-course Rules Official to tell the player to continue playing and that the Committee would make a determination upon completion of the round. My bad.
But after the round, the on-course Rules Official and the Rules Committee debated whether or not a serious breach occurred. The Rules Committee agreed that a serious breach occurred given the fact that where the player dropped gave him a significant advantage for the following reasons:
1)The player was only 20-25 yards away from the hole location instead of 40 yards.
2)There was green to work with.
3)Even though the player was now playing a ball off dirt and gravel, it was not a difficult shot.
1)Do not attempt to determine a disqualification if there is any doubt. This was not a case where it was as obvious as one might think even though the outcome was the same.
2)Ensure that ALL Tournament Officials relay any assessed penalties as was done in this case.
What if the ball the player substituted and dropped was 40 yards from the hole location? Would it have been a serious breach? What would you discuss and take into consideration if this were the case?