|Zac Blair, USA. Photo: Fox Sports Network|
You would be entitled to think that it is unique for a Tour player to be penalised for hitting his head with a putter, as was Zac Blair at the Wells Fargo Championship last week, but Woody Austin was penalised for the same breach back in 1997.
The circumstance behind Blair’s disqualification is that after missing a birdie putt he proceeded to hit himself on the head with his putter, in frustration. He then tapped his ball in for par, but on the next putting green he realised that his putter had been bent as a result of it colliding with his head. He told the officials what had happened and was disqualified for using a nonconforming club under Rule 4-3b of the Rules of Golf, which states;
If, during a stipulated round, a player's club is damaged other than in the normal course of play rendering it non-conforming or changing its playing characteristics, the club must not subsequently be used or replaced during the round.So Blair was disqualified, because when he tapped his ball into the hole he had used the putter that was rendered non-conforming other than in the normal course of play, to make a stroke. Apparently, at this time he had not noticed that he had bent it. If he had not used the damaged club again during the round there would have been no penalty.
Penalty for Breach of Rule 4-3b: Disqualification.
There does not appear to be an online video of this Zac Blair incident, but you can see Woody Austin chastising himself with his putter at this link.
7 Players Disqualified at Shenzhen International in China
Apparently there were up to 7 players disqualified from the rain affected, European Tour event in Shenzen, from 21st-24th April 2016. This is the highest number of disqualifications during a single Pro Tour event that I am aware of. What makes it more interesting is that I have been unable to find why even one of these players was disqualified. According to ESPN Golf the players were; James Busby, Yi Cao, Bjorn Akesson, Yuxin Lin (a), Guang-ming Yang, Xu Wang and Joachim B Hansen. If anyone has information, I would be interested to learn of the circumstances.
(Edit 10th May 2016: Thanks to a reader, who pointed me to the Facebook site of Björn Åkesson, I now have an explanation for these DQs. The second round was suspended due to very poor weather and the resumption of play was scheduled for first light on the following day. Several players who were going to miss the cut anyway, chose not to play out the couple of holes thay had remaining in their second round and withdrew from the competition. Although this had to be recorded as a disqualification it was apparently with the understanding and acquiescence of Tour Officials, so there will be no fines imposed on the players involved.)
My attention has been drawn to the above web site, started about six months ago by PGA Tour Referee, Mark Dusbabek, and maintained by him and other PGA Tour Officials. The site contains a range articles about different rulings made on tour and other interesting subject matter, for example, this article by PGA Tour Referee, Steve Cox, on players calling for a second opinion when they do not agree with a ruling.
I particularly recommend that you check out this web site if you are involved in officiating golf at any level.
‘Mastering the Rules of Golf’
This is the title of a new book by English County Level Rules Official, Tony Zendle, who describes his book as follows;
“If you want to learn the Rules of Golf, either just for the hell of it, or to become a Referee or Rules Official, then learning the Rules can be a slog. Fear not, though! Help is at hand. For the first time, there is a book that will take you into the upper echelons of Rules knowledge, with lots of hints and tips that you can adapt to your own learning style. If you are preparing for a Rules Exam it will give you the tools you need for success.”Click on this Amazon Link for more details.
Please take care when ordering either of my books from any other source than from me direct (barry at barry rhodes dot com) that you are getting the latest versions, which include the amendments to Rules and Decisions that became effective from 1st January 2016. I am aware of purchasers receiving poor quality and out of date books. Of course, it is better to order from me any way, as I deliver two files; a .pdf file from which you can print out sections at your convenience, and a .mobi file for reading on any tablet, eReader or smart phone using the free Kindle app.
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