I have a confession to make. Well, not really a confession, that would mean I did something wrong. And how could anyone consider what I did the wrong thing?
What do you ask?
It was me. I called in the rules violation on Sun Young Yoo at the CME Group Titleholders event. For those that did not see her egregious flouting of the rules, Yoo came to the 14th hole within one stroke of the lead on Friday. She drove her ball into the overgrowth and tried to hit out, but ended up hitting the ball deeper into the bushes. She then decided to take a one-stroke penalty for an unplayable lie and drop. So far so good. But here is where she should have pulled her rule book out.
When she set up to take a drop, she didn’t property extend her arm 90 degrees before dropping the ball! Can you believe it! I mean really. Not knowing how to drop the ball, how is she even playing on Tour? Even weekend hackers know you have to extend your arm 90 degrees. I was just sitting there in my mom’s basement where I live, eating a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos when I saw what she did. But I didn’t really know what to do? Who do I call? Is there someone I can call?
Then I remembered an incident that involved Camilo Villegas in 2011, when he moved the divot from his shot while the ball was rolling back to his feet. How did they do it? I quickly looked up the golf course pro shop and called. A nice kid answered and I explained what I had just seen. He didn’t seem too impressed. I told him nothing less was at stake than the reputation of the tournament!
He put me on hold.
No mind, I had a cell phone too. My mom pays for it. I call the LPGA Tour offices hoping to get someone who understood what was happening. No such luck, they put me on hold too. Then I realized I had the internet! Twitter! So I tweeted the LPGA they needed to review the tape and assess another stroke penalty. After waiting by the phone, I direct messaged the LPGA my phone number in case they wanted to talk to me, I finally saw online Ms. Yoo had been assessed another stroke penalty.
Now I’m sure Ms. Yoo is a fine lady and a fine golfer. After the round she said about the incident, “My arm wasn’t high enough. All I want to say is I did not try to cheat. I wasn’t even thinking about it. I just picked up my ball and dropped it instinctively.”
It must have had some affect on her, because she went from three behind after the round to shooting 74 and 75, finishing in 24th place. Well, hopefully she will learn from me calling in the rules violation. Maybe it will help her in the future. Maybe she will see a competitor violate a rule and be able to penalize her in the future.
I’ve seen and heard all the comments from players and fans saying people who call in penalties should get a life, but isn’t that what makes golf great? We can play the same courses, use the same clubs and play by the same rules. And if those rules aren’t followed, we can cost players strokes! What better way to feel part of the television coverage than to look for penalties?
Sure there are people that get paid for a living to monitor tournaments. They must not have enough, because fans calling in penalties are becoming more prevalent.
Padraig Harrington was disqualified from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship on the European Tour in 2011 for his ball moving after he replaced it on the green. Poor Padraig went from an opening round 65 and in contention to sitting on his couch. Now that one was tough to see. I had to watch the replay over ten times before I noticed it. The fan that called in that one is a pro, he or she should be on Tour.
Instead of stopping penalties being called in, I think more sports should allow fans to be involved in referring the games. Heck, the police should use it too. See an old lady jay walking … call it in. See a mom speeding in her car … you got it, call it in.
Just a couple of days ago I tried calling the NFL offices after the refs blew a holding penalty in the Monday night game between the Panthers and Eagles. They didn’t even have anyone answering the phone! I tried tweeting Roger Goodell and he didn’t even respond. So thank goodness for the PGA, European and LPGA Tours. And thank you for letting fans feel a part of the game.
Sure I look like the petty loser who had my lunch money stolen as a kid, but so what. I changed the outcome of a golf tournament. How many of you can say that?