This week there were at least two more high-earning, professional golfers who failed to read the Local Rules before commencing their rounds. This time it was at the Avantha Masters European Tour event, played at the DLF and Country Club, New Delhi, India.
On the 13th hole of his first round, the Thai golfer, Thongchai Jaidee, struck his tee shot off one of the giant light poles that line the course. When he walked up to his ball he saw that the floodlight infrastructure was on his line of play and asked the walking official for a free drop, which was rightly refused, as it was not a temporary immovable obstruction (TIO) from which tour pros do get relief under their Conditions of Competitions. In his anger and frustration, and presumably trying to make a point about the unfairness of the ruling he had received, Jaidee purposely struck two shots against the utility panel of the light box, both of which rebounded back past his head.
[See the update at the end of this piece]
When he did eventually get his ball onto the putting green an on-course commentator informed him of the Local Rule that states that a ball that hits the light posts must be played again, similar to the Local Rule that many courses have relating to overhead power lines. Because he had not holed out, Jaidee was entitled to return to the teeing ground and start again, without penalty, eventually scoring a bogey 5. Had he teed off at the next hole without correcting the error he would have had to add two penalty strokes to the large number of strokes that he had already accumulated on the hole.
Those of you viewing this blog online can view this incident on this short video. For those on email click here and scroll down to the video.
Video courtesy of European Tour and AussieGolfer.net
On the same day, Indian favourite, Jeev Milkha Singh, whose drive on the 13th also hit the floodlight tower, was not so lucky. He said;
“I should have replayed that stroke as per the Local Rules but having overlooked that particular clause in the Local Rules, I went on to play my second shot from the spot where the ball had landed after rebounding off the pole. That error cost me a two-stroke penalty.”Singh could not return to the teeing ground to start the hole again because he had teed off on the next hole before he was made aware that he should have re-teed his drive. His two strokes penalty was for breaching the Local Rule.
Tip for today (and for every time that you play a new course), read those Local Rules!!!
[Edit 19th February 2011: It appears thet the early reports of the Jaidee incident were incorrect. I have today received an explanation of what really happened from a subscriber who was in the know. After Jaidee hit his tee shot neither he nor the Thai Rules Official knew that it had hit the floodlight structure. The official was correct in denying relief for line of sight intervention. Jaidee then played his next stroke as close to the utility panel of the light box as he could, knowing that if he hit the structure the stroke would be cancelled. This happened twice before he just cleared it at his third attempt. Then as he got to the putting green it was confirmed that his drive from the teeing ground had struck the floodlights and he therefore had to return there to play his first stroke again, with all his strokes on the hole cancelled and no penalty. Apparently Decision 15/10 was referred to to confirm this. My apologies to Thongchai Jaidee for mis-reporting the facts and for suggesting that he had hit his second and third strokes in anger.]
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