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Three Rules Breaches on Tour

Morten Madsen dropping his putter on his ball

This week there are three interesting Rules incidents to report on. The first concerns Dane, Morten Madsen, who accidentally dropped his club on his ball during the ‘Made in Denmark’ European Tour event on Friday. No mystery about this ruling, the player incurs a penalty of one stroke under Rule 18-2a(ii), for his equipment causing his ball to move, and he has to replace his ball where it was.

The second incident involved French golfer, Julien Quesne, who was disqualified mid-round from the same event as above, on the same day. Apparently, he was seen to be using a ‘swing stick’ on a teeing ground, while waiting to play. This is a breach of Rule 14-3, which states that during their round players must not use any artificial device or unusual equipment that might assist them in making a stroke or in their play. Obviously, Quesne does not read my blog, or he would have known about this Rule, following similar, widely reported breaches by Judi Inkster (Aug. 2010) and more recently DA Points (Feb.2014).

The third incident was a little different, involving Californian, Cameron Tringale, who was disqualified from the previous week’s PGA Championship, several days after the competition was over (well done Rory!). Tringale made contact with officials to admit that he had probably returned a score for a hole lower than was actually taken, due to his failure to include a penalty that he thought he had probably incurred. His reported explanation was;

"While approaching the hole to tap in my 3-inch bogey putt, the putter swung over the ball prior to tapping in. Realizing that there could be the slightest doubt that the swing over the ball should have been recorded as a stroke, I spoke with the PGA of America and shared with them my conclusion that the stroke should have been recorded. I regret any inconvenience this has caused the PGA of America and my fellow competitors in what was a wonderful championship."

Although the competition had closed several days before this admirable admission, one of the exceptions to Rule 34-1b (iii) meant that the only possible ruling was the penalty of disqualification, as he had not included the stroke he made that missed his ball.

Exceptions: A penalty of disqualification must be imposed after the competition has closed if a competitor:

… (iii) returned a score for any hole lower than actually taken (Rule 6-6d) for any reason other than failure to include a penalty that, before the competition closed, he did not know he had incurred …

Tringale finished the PGA Championship tied for 33rd place in this final major of the year and had to forfeit his $53,000 prize money. The places and earnings of those players who finished below him will have been adjusted accordingly.