Grooves Rule Misinterpretation Finds A Victim
By Kickntrue on 7/27/10
** Now with an Update (see bottom) **

Wow... this will get you going. Nice job to the a-hole "official" who just potentially cost someone their first win and a small, but decent check.
Sarah Brown’s chance for her first professional victory ended in an apparent case of mistaken identity.

Brown, 18, who was three shots off the lead entering the final round of the Duramed Futures Tour’s The International at Concord, was disqualified July 25 after a rules official determined her wedges to have nonconforming grooves.

In a statement to Golfweek, Ping said Brown’s 54-degree Tour-W wedge conforms to the U.S. Golf Association’s 2010 “conditions of competition.”

“Unfortunately, Sarah Brown was the victim of an inaccurate ruling regarding the conformity of her Ping Tour-W wedge,” Ping chairman & CEO John Solheim said. “The wedge is properly identified as conforming to the 2010 “New Groove Rule.” This has been confirmed by the USGA.

“We’re disappointed that the rules officials at the Futures Tour event took the action they did without properly investigating the situation. We’ve received an apology from the Futures Tour and more importantly, they’ll be apologizing to Sarah for the mistake."
Awww... an apology, how sweet?! So how did they "get" her. You'll love this part.
An anonymous person informed a rules official earlier in the round that Brown may be using wedges with nonconforming grooves. The official, whose identity could not be obtained by Golfweek, consulted the U.S. Golf Association’s Web site before determining the wedges were nonconforming. Instead of allowing Brown to complete her round as the matter was further investigated, the official removed her from the golf course.
So a random gallery know it all- tells a volunteer official something- who looks something up on the internet- and yanks the leader off the course?

Again... Sarah Brown did get an apology. I bet she would've rather had the $15,400 winner's check. Small money in the world of professional golf, but I wouldn't turn it down for a weekend of work as an 18 year old. Plus- you can underestimate the lasting impact of a breakthrough win.

This makes me so freaking mad. While it makes me mad that the Duramed Tour is keeping things private it's probably a good thing they are, because if I knew who ruined this girl's weekend I'd post his address and phone number on this site so fast... Freakin' a$$clown! Hat's off to the Brown camp handling things more maturely than me. This Brown would be taking names and looking for vengeance.

** UPDATE **

There is an update thanks to a link from our comments, and I can't believe that I'm saying this, but it's actually WORSE than I thought. I figured since the Duramed Tour was so "small" that this was still a mistake by a local pro turned volunteer rules official, but no. It turns out the people involved with making the mistake are full time rules officials on the Tour and I believe paid by the LPGA. Also- it wasn't an anonymous person who turned Brown in, but a fellow competitor. Beat her on the golf course, scrub. While the player's name wasn't revealed, Brown knows exactly who she is and I hope she grinds her into oblivion the next time she gets a chance (on the golf course, folks). Jim Linyard and Kelly Wergin are the rules officials who screwed over Brown- and again, hats off to Brown and her family for handling this with class, because I'm STILL ready to blow a gasket. I actually wish they were local- so I could look them up and post their info now that I have their names, but being full-time employees makes it a little harder to track them down.
“I asked him (Linyard) what he would do if he was wrong,” said Keith Brown, who was caddying for his daughter. “What if he disqualified Sarah and later found out he was wrong? How would he rectify that? He refused to answer. He said: ‘The club is illegal. Sarah is disqualified.’ That was it. It was like giving someone the death penalty on hearsay.”
They should be terminated immediately.


Full Story
Via GeoffShackelford.com
New GolfWeek Link

photo via GolfWeek.com


[ comments ]
coojofresh says:
yeah that is rule needs to be changed. under no circumstances should a player be removed in the course of play unless they are about to physically harm someone. it would have been so easy to get the sticks at the end of play on the 18th hole. bad choice. a sorry is also not good enough. that is grounds to sue at least for her expenses for travel and what not.
7/27/10
 
lcgolfer64 says:
Sounds like they should owe her 15,400 'apologie$...' - chump-change for what they pay their executives, get in annual dues, advertising fees and merchandising!
7/27/10
 
Banker85 says:
ya, they sstuff your sorries in a sack! that is bull and has just rilled me up! i would sue 100%. They took her off from an anyonmous tip and researched the rule on the internet? that is ineffible. i REALLY FEEL BAD FOR HER. she might not have won but still im sure she would have won some money.
7/27/10
 
Kickntrue says:
@coojofresh- i didn't even think about the expenses issue. that's a good point. beyond her winning- she is an independent contractor- so she had to pay her own way there and lodging out of pocket. i would fight to get that back.
7/27/10
 
sepfeiff says:
pathetic ruling and poor handling. Hopefully the rules are changed to allow the player to finish.
7/27/10
 
birdieXris says:
Apologies aside, they need to take a good look at her scorecard then see what is a fair payment for her finish, then see what is a fair number of points and rank to give her. The futures tour is the "farm team" for the LPGA. she lost some valuable rank because of this. If Mike Whan was any kind of guy he would call Sarah Brown up and offer her a couple exemptions for next year at the very LEAST. This is BS. it's like they were punishing a kid in grade school.

Here's a link to golfweek's article. Incidently, My dad had played with the Browns in Bethlehem. He said she's phenomenal, but her dad is a "pageant mom" and really pushes sometimes. But this article has the names of the officials. www.golfweek.com/news/2010/jul/27/futures-tour-s
7/27/10
 
eventHorizon says:
Wonder if a win or being high on the yearly money list gets you LPGA exemptions. That would be a kick in the butt too.
7/27/10
 
Matt F says:
If you read the article it says that the official started pulling clubs out of her bag when she was putting...what a clown. It was also another player that told them one of her clubs might not be conforming...is that because they were getting beaten??

Matt
7/28/10
 
birdieXris says:
This story made golf central this morning, albeit in a short way. Hawk Talk touched on it, and they concur this person is an a$$clown. Citing Arnold Palmer's brush with the rules, years ago, he just played another ball and settled it later. That's what should have been done - not so much playing another ball, but just letting her finish. This isn't a highschool tourney, it's professional golf. I think the rules officials should act like professionals.
7/28/10
 
tennesseeboy says:
I agree the official messed up big time. I have to disagree when it comes getting lawyers involved. Do you really want every bad call in sports being argued for years in the courts. This is not the first time an official has screwed up in professional sports. You can certainly make the case that every mistake results in some financial loss. If a team is knocked out of the playoffs because of a blown call, the cost to the team could be in the millions. This is a VERY unfortunate situation but that's sports.
7/28/10
 
Kickntrue says:
@tennesseeboy- i agree. i think the tour should do what's right and pay her something for the wrongful loss of wages and expenses involved, but i agree it shouldn't go to the courts. if they don't do what's right- use it as motivation and go kick their butts on the course and make yourself an LPGA'er. i would demand the rules officials suspended or fired though. it looks like there was actually a conversation about letting her finish and figuring things out later- but the rules officials were complete punks about it. that's not doing their job. when you don't do your job- you don't just get to say sorry.
7/28/10
 
birdieXris says:
@tennessee - it's not so much that the official screwed up, it's that he screwed up BIG TIME. Removing someone from the course for an infraction like that without having conclusive proof is absolutely ludicrous. Not to mention the way they went about it. He was basically gaming her over. You don't do it publicly and you don't do it in the middle of a hole during her turn to hit. This would equate basically to removing someone from a football game on a holding call. In golf, you play against the course. Some people play better against the course than others. That's how you get a leaderboard. Tiger doesn't play against Phil, Michelle Wie doesn't play against Paula Creamer. There's nothing they can do that will influence how the putt breaks or how the wind blows or how the ball bounces off the tree. She should have been allowed to finish without being interrupted and disqualified later if need be. there is absolutely no harm in that. Sports is about fairness and sportsmanship -- this was neither.
7/28/10
 
birdieXris says:
Gettign a lawyer involved is the last course of action because she's OWED something, not just an apology. Not even talking about a monetary compensation but something more than an apology and if the tour isn't going to cough something up, then that's where it's going to go. As bad a decision on the tour's part for letting it go that far, than for the family to want to do it. Now if it offers a fair solution and they're going to be greedy, then that's another story.
7/28/10
 
tennesseeboy says:
@birdieXris - I agree with everything you said except the legal issue. In this country anyone can sue anyone for anything. How the courts rule is what matters. I think there are two legal arguments that could be made here.

1) She agreed when she entered the tournament to play by the rules as enforced by the officials. A bad official is just like a bad break of a putt. They are part of the game and when they screw up it's too bad. The court has no say in the matter.

2) A mistake was made. She was damaged financially. The court should determine the amount of her damages and make the tour pay her this amount.

If a court ever agreed to the second argument it would be a disaster for sports because officials at every level make mistakes everyday. Either the rules are ultimately enforced by the league or they are ultimately enforced by the courts. I say keep the courts out of it.
7/28/10
 
birdieXris says:
@tennessee - well put. I'd like to see the wording though because if it's agreed to play by the rules as the officials enforce them that makes sense, but if it's agreed to play by USGA rules there's a leg to stand on.
7/28/10
 
bplewis24 says:
This is shameful for the tour. Very sad.

Brandon
7/28/10
 
Banker85 says:
1) She agreed when she entered the tournament to play by the rules as enforced by the officials. A bad official is just like a bad break of a putt. They are part of the game and when they screw up it's too bad. The court has no say in the matter.

This is not like basketball, there are clear cut rules. They could have slowed down and thought about it for a second. Letting her finish and then determining if the club was illegal should have been the only way to handle it. If anything take the club and then let her finsih without it and return once the dumbasses realized their stupidity.
7/28/10
 
c5agalb says:
The least the LGPA can do is fire the official and give her an exemption to an LGPA event of her choice for the humilation they caused her.
7/28/10
 
tennesseeboy says:
@Banker - Yes there are clear cut rules. The official did not know the rules. So who is ultimately responsible for enforcing the rules? Is it the league or the government?

Maybe Obama should step up and take responsibility for this and resign.
7/28/10
 
Kurt the Knife says:
results of too much deregulation
7/28/10
 
mjaber says:
This is BP's fault, isn't it?
7/28/10
 
Agustin says:
My 2 cents. In this case when it comes to the official it was not just a mistake; it was NEGLIGENCE. A precedent had be set to allow the player to finish the round and sort out the compliance/non-compliance after the round. The LPGA is responsible to ensure that officials in their sanctioned tournament meet certain minimum standards (in the same way players are responsible for playing by the rules). If one of the officials is guilty of negligence, the LPGA is responsible for this negligence.
7/28/10
 
Agustin says:
I did a little research and according to USGA Rules and decisions 34-3/1.5 and believe the round should have been cancelled.

34-3/1.5 Committee Error and Scoring in Stroke Play

A player is responsible for knowing the Rules (Rule 6-1), but there may be situations, immediately before and during a stipulated round, when an official representative of the Committee provides the player with incorrect information on the Rules... In these situations, the Committee should resolve the matter in whatever manner it considers most equitable, in light of all the facts and with the objective of ensuring that no player receives an undue advantage or disadvantage. In cases where the incorrect information significantly affects the results of the competition, the Committee may have no option but to cancel the round...
7/28/10
 
Kurt the Knife says:
I like that one

DO OVER!
7/28/10
 
birdieXris says:
@Augustin - Great find. The only flaw with that is the officials would have to know the rules. ZIINNNNG!
7/28/10
 
cdub says:
Well, this could turn out to be the best thing to happen to her. Who is she? Sarah Brown huh? Never heard of her...until now. Well because of the publicity generated by this, she has become a name more familiar to others and this incident may create a generous fan base. I know I'll be on the lookout for her on future leaderboards.
7/28/10
 
tennesseeboy says:
A long long time ago. I was playing safety in a high school football game. I'm covering a guy, the QB throws the ball, I stop at the back of the end zone, the guy keeps running, he jumps up and catches the ball over his shoulder and lands on the fence doubling over it. He hold on to the ball even though he's in obvious pain. I'm convinced that the ref was so surprised by his amazing catch that he threw his arms up to signal a TD. I yelled at the ref that he was out of the end zone. The ref looked at him and then at me with a "Opps, I screwed up" look, but did not reverse the call. When reviewing the film later, it was obvious that not only did his feet not come down in bounds but when the ref called the TD his feet had not even touched the ground. He was still doubled over the fence. The moral of the story, officials are human and can make some really stupid calls.... I should have sued.
7/28/10
 
coojofresh says:
Go Obama
7/28/10
 
coojofresh says:
nice they tried to give her $2,000 buck lol
www.examiner.com/x-8197-Boston-Golf-Examiner~y20
7/28/10
 
srogers13 says:
Well, she was not leading the tournament, so she should not have gotten 1st place prize. At least they are trying some restitution.
7/28/10
 
SingleDigits says:
The Browns are asking for $5,638, which seems fair to me.

www.golfweek.com/news/2010/jul/28/dqd-rookie-fut
7/29/10
 
birdieXris says:
They rescinded the request that the seminar be called the Sarah Brown seminar. Too self-serving. I agree.

I'm with the browns on the number as well as waiving Qschool tuition. Fair in my opinion.
7/29/10
 
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