The Augusta National Golf Club Tournament Committee does a great job in organising the Masters, the favourite event of the year for most golf fans. But sometimes they get it embarrassingly wrong. This was the case yesterday when having finished his round, world No.1 golfer, Luke Donald, spent a frustrating hour or so listening to stories that he may be disqualified from playing in the rest of the tournament for signing for a wrong score. The media, was buzzing with the news that he had signed for a 3 on the Par-4 5th hole, when in fact he had bogeyed this hole. The bizarre explanation appears to be that someone who had been eating a doughnut (!) faxed a copy of the signed score card to the official scoring unit who wrongly interpreted a smudged digit ‘5’ for a ‘3’. I am sure that you are as surprised as I am to know that the august body at Augusta still uses the antiquated fax as a method of communicating the players’ scores; I wonder what their sponsor, IBM, thinks of that.
I was following events at the Masters on Twitter (@BarryRhodes999Q) when this incident occurred and was surprised at how much ill-informed comment there was. One tweeter asserted that Donald could not be disqualified as the total score of 75 he signed for was correct and it didn’t matter what had been written in his individual hole scores, whereas another proclaimed that he would be disqualified for signing for a total score which did not add up. More and more I realize that Twitter is a great tool for keeping abreast of what is happening at live sports events, but that you have to carefully to filter out the misinformation.
Here are some relevant Rules factors concerning the accuracy of a competitor’s score card;
• The competitor is responsible for the correctness of their score recorded for each hole (Rule 6-6d).
• The Committee is responsible for the addition of scores (Rule 33-5).
• If the competitor records a wrong total score, the Committee must correct the error, without penalty to the competitor (Decision 6-6d/2).
• If the competitor returns a score for any hole lower than actually taken, they are disqualified (Rule 6-6d).
• If the competitor returns a score for any hole higher than actually taken, the score as returned stands (Rule 6-6d).
• Any alterations on the score card do not have to be initialled (6-6a/6).
• No alterations may be made to the score card after the competitor has returned it to the Committee (Rule 6-6c).
Now back to watching the Masters for me.
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