Friday, 15 May 2009

Two Disqualified at Irish Open in Baltray

County Louth G.C. 'Baltray'

Despite having a ticket I didn’t make it to Co Louth Golf Club, Baltray, yesterday for the opening day of The 3 Irish Open event on the European Tour. Rain was forecast for most of the day and I am still very stiff and achy after four days of wet golf in the West of Ireland last week. So I decided to watch it from the comfort of my living room.

When I turned on the television this afternoon I was surprised to learn that two players had been disqualified earlier in the day. What a change in fortunes for 26-year-old Italian, Francesco Molinari. Yesterday, he broke the course record with a 63, to lead the tournament overnight, and today he has been disqualified for having signed for a wrong score. Apparently, he had a par on the 12th and then double-bogeyed the 13th, both par 4s, but signed for a 6 on the 12th and a 4 on the 13th. Of course, although his total score would be the same, Rule 6-6d states, “The competitor is responsible for the correctness of the score recorded for each hole on his score card. If he returns a score for any hole lower than actually taken, he is disqualified.” Had Francesco noticed, or been advised, of his mistake before he left the designated scoring area he could have changed his card and would now be lying just a couple of strokes off the lead. However, just like Michelle Wie last year, he had left the area before the mistake was noticed.

Belfast’s Michael Hoey disqualified himself when he realised that he had 15 clubs in his bag. Wait! I can almost hear you say, “The penalty for that is limited to two strokes for each hole at which any breach occurred, with a maximum penalty of four strokes per round. Yes, but unfortunately Hoey realised that he must have played the whole of yesterday’s round with 15 clubs, as his caddie had left both his rescue club and his 2-iron in the bag and he always leaves one of them out. This meant that he had signed for a wrong score yesterday, having not added the four penalty strokes incurred, as above. I hope that his caddie survives longer than Ian Woosnam’s caddie, Myles Byrne, who was ‘let go’ just two weeks after he had left two drivers in his players bag at the 2001 Open Championship in Royal Lytham & St. Anne’s. You can listen to what Michael Hoey had to say about it here.

Two great tips from my CD '99 Golden Nuggets Demystifying the Rules of Golf'; always count your clubs on the first teeing ground and always check your score for every hole before signing your score card. Don't think that it couldn't happen to you!

Good golfing,

Barry Rhodes
Rules at barryrhodes dot com
999Q on Twitter

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