21st Century Tattletales

Discussion in 'Golf' started by Matt in the Hat, Jan 22, 2011.

  1. Matt in the Hat

    Matt in the Hat Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 21, 2002
    New York Red Bulls
    Nat'l Team:
    United States

    Padraig Harrington became a victim of trial by television yesterday when he was controversially disqualified from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship for unwittingly breaking the rules.

    A player of utmost integrity, Harrington was denied the chance to tee off in the second round after being judged to have inadvertently moved his ball while marking it on one of the greens during the first round.

    It was a minuscule indiscretion, undetected by the player, and was brought to the attention of the European Tour by a viewer who had seen it on television and contacted it by e-mail.

    It was difficult not to conclude that the punishment did not fit the crime and Ian Poulter, for one, was incensed. The Englishman, who has had rounds of 75 and 70, tweeted: "Rules of Golf Book Rule 22-4 paragraph 3 line 7, 'the rules of golf are complete b*****ks and are stuck back in 1932'. Couldn't agree more."

    Harrington, the former Open champion who was nicely placed to challenge for the pounds 285,000 first prize after a seven-under-par opening round of 65, took the decision in good grace and suggested that he would spend the next three days practising instead. "That's something I like to do anyway," he said with a rueful smile.

    It was not the moving of the ball per se that led to the disqualification but the signing of an incorrect scorecard. If the breach had been picked up at the time, he would have been penalised two strokes and that would have been the end of the matter.

    Once a scorecard has been signed, however, the rules do not allow for it to be altered. So it was left to Andy McFee, the tournament referee, to review the tape with the triple major champion and to confirm the Irishman's disqualification.

    If, as has been mooted, there existed an "open-card" policy, it would have been possible to alter the card retrospectively and to keep the player in the field, much to the delight of sponsors and fans. However, the Royal and Ancient (which was contacted on the matter) and the United States Golf Association, the sport's rules makers, are resistant to such change.

    McFee watched the tape up to 50 times to convince himself that the ball had moved from its original position after Harrington had brushed it with a finger. "I felt that when he [Harrington] looked at that picture, he would see the movement and make the decision himself. Which he did," McFee said.

    It's getting a bit tiring to see all of these great golfers being disqualified while still attempting to stay within the spirit of the game and more and more, their digressions are being called out by 30 handicap nerds on their couches.

    Granted, Harrington probably should have picked up and replaced his ball after he brushed it but the reality is that he gained no advantage from this yet ends up being disqualified. It sucks.
  2. tomwilhelm

    tomwilhelm Member+

    Dec 14, 2005
    Boston, MA, USA
    Fulham FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POUzA-fywUE"]YouTube - Padraig Harrington - Disqualified From the Abu Dhabi Championship 19/1/11[/ame]

    That's such crap I don't even know what to say...

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