The Worst Rule in Golf
By mustang6560 on 6/3/11
I thought the USGA and R&A amended the ruling so players would no longer be disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard?

Yet, here we are again. Joost Luiten was disqualified from The Memorial Tournament yesterday for signing an incorrect scorecard. The 25-year-old Dutchman (who was making his PGA Tour debut yesterday) originally signed for a 76, but was called in to review his shot on the par-5 11th with rules officials. It was then Joost was assessed a two-stroke penalty and immediately DQ'd for signing an incorrect scorecard.
Luiten’s problems began when he drove it wide left. His ball came to rest on the other side of a hazard, but the key point is: His ball was on the red line, which means it was in the hazard. As Luiten settled into his stance, the ball moved. He notified playing competitor Bobby Gates and a rules official and it was determined that because Luiten had not grounded his club, there was no penalty.

However, later the rules official, apparently working with more information, told the Dutchman that because the ball was in the hazard, there were two infractions: One for the ball moving (18-2b) and one for hitting from an incorrect position (20-7b).
Despite the terrible sequence of events, Joost was still classy enough to find Jack Nicklaus and thank him personally for the chance to play his tournament. What a guy!

I have a huge problem with Joost's DQ. The USGA and R&A revised Decision 33-7/4.5 so a player would not be disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard when they were assessed a penalty after the round. "Under this revised decision and at the discretion of the Committee, the player still receives the penalty associated with the breach of the underlying Rule, but is not disqualified."

How does this rule not apply to Joost's situation?

The revised rules does state that it applies where a player is "not aware" and "could not reasonably have discovered prior to returning his scorecard" that he breached a rule. I'm not sure what more Joost could have done. As soon as he thought he was under penalty, he called for a rules official and the rules official advised him that he was not in fact under penalty. It wasn't until after the round when a different rules official looked at video footage that they found Joost in breach of the rules. I guess Joost should have "reasonably" known the rules official on hole 11 was an idiot.

The simple solution to this would have been assess Joost the two stroke penalty and leave it at that. To DQ him in this situation is totally unfair.

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[ comments ]
mjaber says:
The official on hole 11 needs to be fined the minimum amount of money that Joost would have made for making the cut... and also make restitution to Joost for that amount as well. The fine needs to be donated to the First Tee.
Backquak says:
Thats stupid, he called the official, got the ruling, and played accordingly, how can he be penalized at all if he did what the official said. Somebody has to stop this madness. If a ref makes a bad call and costs a basketball team the championship, they don't go back after the game and change it. Its done. Joost got screwed...
Kurt Ehlert says:
Wow - in junior tournaments, this same type of situation has come up with my son or his competitors. The rules committee always states the player is in the clear if a rules official gives a ruling at the time, even if it turns out the ruling was incorrect.
homermania says:
Total BS.
srogers13 says:
The way that was written up, it sounds like they explained what happened to the rules official, but did not tell him the ball was in a hazard, or he did not hear it was in a hazard, so he made a ruling based off of that. Then someone tells him the ball was in a hazard, and he made a ruling based off of the new info. Not sure if that is how it went down, but could Luiten have been penalized for not giving correct info to the official?
Banker85 says:
That is BS! The official gave him the ruling he informed the proper people and then got assessed after the fact. Even so he shuold not have been disqualified because of the new rule change. I would be so pissed if i were him. I hope he gets into another tournament really soon he deserves a second chance.
birdieXris says:
I think this is awful. I'm with banker. what the hell is he supposed to do - get a 2nd opinion? If he did, he'd probably get a penalty for undue delay of play.
ppinkert says:
I agree with the rest of my fellow oobers. This is complete BS! No good deed goes unpunished. The rules police are running amuck!
jrbizzle says:
I'm at a loss for words. Can you imagine an NBA player being called for a foul and the guys hits two FTs (his team later wins by 1 point). After the game the head of officials reviews the play, overturns the foul call and takes away the two FTs and reverses the winner?

And golf actually wonders why it sometimes has dwindling participation.

He asked for a ruling and got one. Don't penalize the player, fire the inept rules official.
jrbizzle says:
imasmrtazz - I see what you're saying but it is the rules official's job to get the correct and total story before making a judegment. I highly doubt he purposefully falsified info, and his playing partner said nothing. Maybe I'm wrong though.
mantajim says:
snuffyword says:
OK, I am in the same boat. However, is The Memorial a USGA and/or R&A sanctioned event? I assume it is but what about the PGA following the amended rule? Someone please edumicate me.
gpickin says:
Trav says:
If only he had Schwartzel's official nearby.
jev says:
Not as ridiculous as presented by the US press. In an interview Joost told the following: "Looking back, I obviously had to get a referee involved, but because they [the other players in his flight] were so sure and because we had to continue playing, I didn't. Sour grapes, very sour. Especially since it took so long after I had signed the card that the referees pointed me to the failure. Had he done so earlier, I could've changed my score on eleven and at least play on friday too". Source: [url=]], the official website from the Dutch golf assiociation.

Thus, it seems he did not summon a referee, he did not call for a ruling but instead decided on his own. I doubt he opened a rulebook there. Stupid mistake, he obviously regrets (even though he prolly wouldn't have survived the cut). I guess he won't make that mistake anytime soon again.
jev says:
...and more from his own website: he told a referee on this incident after having finished 11. A silly mistake, not more, not less. The only thing one can say is that the referee in question should've told him to wait signing his card until the ruling would be finished. Decision 33-7/4.5 doesn't apply here since this is not a question of not knowing a rule was breached but instead a case of not knowing the rules. Taking a stance in a hazard is addressing implicitly too, Joost should've realized.
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