The Worst Rule in Golf
By mustang6560 on 6/3/11
I thought the USGA and R&A amended the ruling so players would no longer be disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard?

Yet, here we are again. Joost Luiten was disqualified from The Memorial Tournament yesterday for signing an incorrect scorecard. The 25-year-old Dutchman (who was making his PGA Tour debut yesterday) originally signed for a 76, but was called in to review his shot on the par-5 11th with rules officials. It was then Joost was assessed a two-stroke penalty and immediately DQ'd for signing an incorrect scorecard.
Luiten’s problems began when he drove it wide left. His ball came to rest on the other side of a hazard, but the key point is: His ball was on the red line, which means it was in the hazard. As Luiten settled into his stance, the ball moved. He notified playing competitor Bobby Gates and a rules official and it was determined that because Luiten had not grounded his club, there was no penalty.

However, later the rules official, apparently working with more information, told the Dutchman that because the ball was in the hazard, there were two infractions: One for the ball moving (18-2b) and one for hitting from an incorrect position (20-7b).
Despite the terrible sequence of events, Joost was still classy enough to find Jack Nicklaus and thank him personally for the chance to play his tournament. What a guy!

I have a huge problem with Joost's DQ. The USGA and R&A revised Decision 33-7/4.5 so a player would not be disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard when they were assessed a penalty after the round. "Under this revised decision and at the discretion of the Committee, the player still receives the penalty associated with the breach of the underlying Rule, but is not disqualified."

How does this rule not apply to Joost's situation?

The revised rules does state that it applies where a player is "not aware" and "could not reasonably have discovered prior to returning his scorecard" that he breached a rule. I'm not sure what more Joost could have done. As soon as he thought he was under penalty, he called for a rules official and the rules official advised him that he was not in fact under penalty. It wasn't until after the round when a different rules official looked at video footage that they found Joost in breach of the rules. I guess Joost should have "reasonably" known the rules official on hole 11 was an idiot.

The simple solution to this would have been assess Joost the two stroke penalty and leave it at that. To DQ him in this situation is totally unfair.

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[ comments ]
rafcin says:
IMHO the "after review" situation is the most annoying thing... Decision made with playing competitor and rules official there and then should stand; the assumption should be made the player self-policing is done in good faith - and if unsure and confirmed by official - it stands. The issue of signing of card is of course another sore spot... with all these cameras and statisticians watching the game - is it really needed? At least @ PGA Tour events - it's time to drop it.
PreacherEric says:
It seems that only in golf and in dealing with the IRS that you can act upon the advice and recommendation of an official and still lose your shirt. The fault should reside with the official who was standing over the ball, not the player.
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