2010 was the year of the bizarre ruling in golf. It took all of one day to see the first issue of 2011. Camilo Villegas was disqualified today from the Hyundai Tournament of Champions after he violated Rule 23-1 yesterday during the opening round. Rule 23-1 states:
“When a ball is in motion, a loose impediment that might influence the movement of the ball must not be removed.”
Villegas swatted away a clump of grass or dirt while his ball was still coming down the slope towards him at the 15th hole after failing to get a chip onto the green.
The issue here in my mind is not the violation. The issue, rather, is that the violation was noticed by television viewers at home who notified the PGA Tour via calls, emails, Facebook, and Twitter.
Believe it or not, I’m actually for viewers being able to call in rules violations. I think the more eyes the better. BUT….
It is my belief that until every single shot of every single player can get on television or be recorded in some fashion and visible to all, then allowing viewers to phone in rulings shouldn’t be allowed. It’s unfair and an uneven playing field.
Growing up, I was told that golf is an honest mans game and that we call penalties on ourselves and help our partners notice penalties that they have missed. It’s the founding tenets of The First Tee. Everyone plays under the same set of rules.
But right now, if you’re a popular player, or a player high on the leaderboard you get more exposure from television cameras, and a greater chance to get a rules violation called in from someone on a couch. It’s unfair, uneven, and needs to stop. ASAP.
About the Author
Written by Jeremy Schilling
I'm a recent college graduate from Quinnipiac University who loves golf, sports, music and the news.