Rules, rules and more rules. They’re listed in a neat little book and handed out in a sheet at every golf tournament.
Yet professionals seem to be breaking them at every turn this year. Might as well call 2010 the Year of the Rule Breakers.
Even people hiding under a rock couldn’t avoid hearing about Dustin Johnson’s colossal error that cost D.J. his first major in this year’s PGA Championship.
But look at what happened right after that.
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Juli Inkster was disqualified at the LPGA’s Safeway Classic for using a donut, which adds weight to the club, in warming up while waiting to begin a round.
That’s a no-no and cost Inkster a possible paycheck.
And what about Jim Furyk. The former U.S. Open winner began the FedEx Cup playoffs at the Barclays last week getting DQ’ed — and that was before the tournament started!
Furyk overslept his pro-am tee time after his alarm clock on his cell phone didn’t go off. So he rushed to the first tee, but he was a few minutes late.
If this was an actual tournament round then OK, disqualify the guy. But a pro-am? The pros that do play in it doesn’t represent the entire field once the tournament begins.
Plus, Furyk isn’t getting a leg up on the field with a competitive advantage by not playing the course in the pro-am.
The PGA Tour bigwigs agree and recently suspended the pro-am rule that DQ’s players. Bravo commissioner Tim Finchem.
Then there was Inkster’s infraction. She had a long wait on the par-5 10th as groups were slow out of the gate, but Inkster’s error of swinging a weighted club wasn’t spotted immediately.
No, a television viewer e-mailed tournament officials to the infraction which violates the USGA’s Rule 14-3, which says a player can’t use a practice device during rounds.
This isn’t the first time a viewer has let tourney officials know a player has cheated the rules of golf.
Bradenton’s Paul Azinger was a victim of such an occurrence back in 1991, when a viewer noticed Zinger hit a pebble out of the way while in a bunker.
The rules say you can’t move loose impediments in a hazard.
What’s up with fans calling in and costing someone they don’t even know a check? What’s up with this feeling of moral superiority, because that’s what it wreaks of?
Tour players aren’t seeking out ways to cheat the system in the same way baseball players have since the game began.
Golf was built with a set of rules and an honor system in place.
Baseball is a sport that has used deception as a way to win — just look at pitchers from the dead-ball era using all sorts of foreign substances on the balls, or the recent Steroid Era.
What is worse with viewers calling in, is that officials don’t release the name of the person who e-mails or phones in the infraction.
Instead it goes anonymous, like it was a spy guarding the nuclear codes and their life was in danger.
Let’s wash away the pro-am rule as archaic as it is, and stop calling in the rules violations.
The tournaments would be more enjoyable to watch, and frankly, the tour pros would turn themselves in if they aggrieve the rule book.
Jason Dill, sports reporter, can be reached at 745-7017