Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Glory Rory! The Open Champion 2014

From the photo above, it seems that I am not the only one that was delighted that Rory McIlroy banished his (imaginary!) Friday demons and went on to win The 143rd Open Championship at Royal Liverpool. Please don’t join those who make the mistake of miscalling The Open, ‘The British Open’! He is obviously a popular winner all over the world and is now a very positive icon for the future of golf, because as well as being an exciting golfer, he is young, photogenic, articulate, plays pretty quickly and is knowledgeable about golf.

My understanding is that there were very few Rules issues of any note over the four days play, although the R&A’s unprecedented decision on Friday evening, to send players out at 9.00 am in three-balls, from both the 1st and 10th teeing grounds, caused apoplexy amongst some traditionalists. However, even they had to admit that it was an inspired decision, when unusually heavy rains quickly flooded the putting greens immediately after play had finished for the day, around mid-afternoon.

There has been a lot of misinformation about a minor incident that occurred as Rory walked from the 18th putting green to the scoring hut, having just secured his two strokes win. An enthusiastic young fan pushed his way past the officials walking with Rory and asked him to sign an autograph. Rory shrugged and the youngster was quickly guided away by a tour official and two suited security personnel. Apparently, Twittersphere went crazy, with some saying that Rory was wrong to blank the young fan and others saying that the entourage should have protected him better from an over-enthusiastic public. Some even claimed that Rory could have incurred a penalty if he had stopped to sign an autograph, which they presumably think would have led to a play-off. Ian Poulter probably fuelled the speculation about whether this would have been a breach of Rules when he tweeted;

In my opinion Poulter was wrong to use the misleading hashtag, #RulesAreRules, as this implies that a Rule of Golf was involved. There is nothing in the Rules that penalises a player from signing an autograph after their round has finished. Rule 6-6b is the only relevant one;
Signing and Returning Score Card
After completion of the round, the competitor should check his score for each hole and settle any doubtful points with the Committee. He must ensure that the marker or markers have signed the score card, sign the score card himself and return it to the Committee as soon as possible.
Now, I am not doubting that tournament players are asked not to sign autographs until their score cards have been returned, but I suspect that this is advice from the authorities to assist players and is not a Condition of Competition that could result in a penalty. It is certainly not a Rule of Golf. I would be interested to hear if any subscriber to this blog knows of any competition hard card that contains anything relevant to the signing of autographs, either during or immediately after a round.

Good golfing,

The above content is strictly copyright to Barry Rhodes © 2014 and may not be copied without permission.


steven said...

Rory looked great, so did Rickie!

diego said...

Hi barry, see this link below, I know that Distractions are a common occurrence which players must accept (D 1-4/1) Can The pga tour draw up a local rule for this cases?

Barry Rhodes said...

The link above is to a short video of the idiot that tried to disrupt Rory with a loud cough during his backswing from the 16th teeing ground, being led away by security personnel.


There is very little that the PGA, or any other golfing body, can do about spectator behaviour. But I would certainly hope that Golf Clubs would impose sanctions on any of their members that were involved in this type of regrettable incident.