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19th Hole

PGA Tour chief referee explains decision to penalize Cam Smith before Memphis final round

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After Saturday’s third round of the FedEx St. Jude Championship, Cameron Smith sat at 11 under, which was just two shots back of the lead held by J.J. Spaun. The Champion Golfer of the Year was tied with Will Zalatoris at the time and looked as if he was going to challenge for a victory. He was even the betting favorite on Saturday night, according to DraftKings Sportsbook.

On Sunday morning, things took a peculiar turn. Smith was called in to speak with PGA Tour chief referee, Gary Young. The Australian was assessed a two-shot penalty for playing the ball from the wrong place when playing a shot on the fourth hole of the third round.

According to the PGA Tour, the specific violation was Rule 14.7 on hole No. 4 during the third round as he was operating under Rule 17.1

Young elaborated on the rules violation when speaking to the media.

“We had seen it yesterday on the live broadcast. We had an official that was looking at it, but at that point, just knowing the awkwardness of camera angles and that he was dropping in a really tight area there at No. 4, the geometry of the whole situation, he’s got basically a sliver he’s dropping the ball in.

“We felt very comfortable at that time that he was familiar with the rule, and that it was such a quick view of it that we had, at that time we decided it wasn’t worth following up on.”

Young went on to further discuss the situation: “This is something common that players do every day. After seeing the rebroadcast and seeing it again, we felt that it was pretty close to the line and worth a second look. So we did take a second look at it and sure enough, we felt it was really close to the line, if not touching and possibly on the line. So it was worth asking the player.”

“The rules give the player, as long as the player has shown reasonable judgment in determining whether or not his ball was in or out of the penalty area in this situation with his own naked eye, I thought it was simply going to be a situation where I asked Cam the question and he was going to tell him that he was comfortable that his ball was outside the penalty area.

“When I asked him the question, unfortunately, he said to me, “No, the ball was definitely touching the line.” So at that point there’s no turning back. That was a moment where I know that the player has knowledge that the ball was touching the line, he just simply didn’t understand the rule that it requires the entire ball to be outside of the penalty area and in his relief area. So that was the tough part.”

The timing of the Smith’s penalty raised plenty of questions throughout the golf world. Early last week, it was widely reported that the current number two player in the world was headed to LIV Golf for a deal north of $100 million.

According to Young, Smith accepted the penalty without pushback.

“His answer to me is, “The rules are the rules.” He just accepted the two-stroke penalty, and I told him that we would be applying it to his fourth hole in Round 3 and he very calmly left the office and he’s just going about his business for the day.”

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19 Comments

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  1. Pingback: Cam Smith trying to ‘block out’ LIV speculation as he looks to scoop FedEx Cup prize – GolfWRX

  2. NMBob

    Aug 21, 2022 at 5:23 pm

    its not even the same story he said on tv when round 4 started and they were interviewing him. he left ouot the whole another rules official watched it later and called them and said look at it again and go ask him…

  3. Ned

    Aug 17, 2022 at 5:22 am

    I don’t think any ruling should made other than real time. Either call it when it happens or let it go. Think about it back in the day before all this detail tv coverage they never called a penalty the next day so they are actually the ones changing the rules.

  4. jordy

    Aug 16, 2022 at 5:15 am

    I was up against the ropes not far from here when the drop was taken. Cam dropped the ball and it came to rest about 3 inches outside the hazard line, he went over to his caddy, pulled the wedge from the bag and then whilst up on the edge of the green, the ball rolled back onto the line with 50/50 in hazard/in play. Isn’t he supposed to play it from its new resting position ala: Ricki 2019 waste management?

  5. Donovan

    Aug 15, 2022 at 8:51 pm

    What happened to the agreement that no call-in judgments can be made? The call is complete BS. The PGA is trying to make sure that he doesn’t win the FedEX and become the #1 player in the world before defecting. If he did sign, he shouldn’t have done so until after the FedEx and President’s Cup.

  6. Mike

    Aug 15, 2022 at 2:52 pm

    Simple stuff , Cam owned up , ( unlike many rules transgressors) ball was on the line… but caddy … sack him, he is not under same pressures … he should have all the rules knowledge… it’s a massive part of their job.
    I have seem more caddy errors and inability to call a player out this season than any before.

  7. Rich

    Aug 15, 2022 at 1:13 pm

    DOJ and PGA better not get in their way! Ask Mick, Trump, Smith and such. Watch out man cause you’ll get F*#@ked!

  8. Brady

    Aug 15, 2022 at 12:39 pm

    Where’s his caddie saying, whoa….can’t drop it there? Careless from both and cost him a lot.

  9. Hopp

    Aug 15, 2022 at 12:28 pm

    All the bonesaw tour whiners are out in force, got to LIV where they can make up their own rules. He broke the rules so either he didn’t know them or he was cheating, about like the orange clown.

    • Social Justice Farter

      Aug 15, 2022 at 12:42 pm

      Please quit discriminating against people because of their skin color.

    • Morbid

      Aug 15, 2022 at 2:38 pm

      English much?

  10. Frank

    Aug 15, 2022 at 11:11 am

    Terrible and against the rules. Never wanted Smith to possibly win this tourney or the Fed Ex cup

  11. Roger Morrell

    Aug 15, 2022 at 10:54 am

    Quite simple, they can’t let a guy on LIV win the FedEx cup.

  12. Joe

    Aug 15, 2022 at 9:45 am

    Why you boys still hanging around? Sounds like you’re team LIV so take a hike.

    • Zengolf

      Aug 16, 2022 at 5:39 am

      Whoa, easy on the aggro. Last time I checked this was golfwrx.com not pgatour.com. Perhaps you are the one in the wrong place. Golfwrx a place for all lovers of golf.

  13. Tony Rocket

    Aug 15, 2022 at 8:50 am

    Looks like the PGA is trying their best not to have a LIV player win the FedEx Cup. Complete garbage

  14. Edward Lewis

    Aug 15, 2022 at 8:46 am

    That’s bull****! Gurantee they would have never called this on Rory.

    • Kelly

      Aug 15, 2022 at 12:11 pm

      For sure Edward. The PGA has their skirt in knots over LIV. I find it very amusing that the PGA puts down LIV bound players as being only after the big money. Yet every chance they get that jerk PGA commissioner talks about all the purse increases for next season. So much for the money isn’t everything crap.

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19th Hole

Shane Lowry and Justin Thomas take shots at Bryson’s awkward attempt to own viral rope incident

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“If you can’t laugh at yourself, then who can you laugh at?”

According to those search engines, both quotes can be attributed to an awful lot of people over the years, including golf legends Payne Stewart and Tiger Woods.

Sometimes, though, others don’t find it as funny.

A week ago, we reported on a viral video from LIV Chicago that showed Bryson DeChambeau losing a battle with one of the gallery ropes .

Despite the histrionics and the supposed loss of vision in one eye, he completed the event at 6-under, and finishing in the top 10.

The incident brought more attention to the tour than anything Chicago winner Cam Smith could do, and the 2020 U.S Open winner probably thought he was onto a winner when recreating the event in a re-run of Bryson v Rope.

In it, the 29-year-old prepares for the challenge like a pro boxer, before ducking under the rope with no personal damage – to the whoops of the ‘onlookers’.

It was a bit of fun, but recent BMW PGA champion, and 2022 Masters third, Shane Lowry, wasn’t at all impressed.

The 2019 Open Championship winner has always stayed fairly neutral about the Greg Norman-led tour, but there was never a doubt that he was fully behind his good friend Rory McIlroy with his views.

However, after the win at Wentworth, Lowry was a tad more open with his views:

“I just think [LIV Golf] is bad for the game. I have always said I play for trophies, not for money. That’s why I didn’t entertain it, to be honest. The reason I have never even contemplated it is I don’t think it is good for the game.”

Whilst we can’t be sure if this had any effect on his Twitter post today, it was clear what he thinks of DeChambeau’s latest stunt:

Then JT got involved and made it clear what camp he was in…

The long-standing Dunhill Links weather is always unpredictable, but home players seem to thrive whatever the conditions.

What is definite is that Lowry will not stomach much more of the clownery on show, and probably won’t be cheering Bryson on as he reached the last 64 of the World’s Longest Drive Championship.

Just as we thought things might have been calming down…..

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19th Hole

Why Phil Mickelson decided to drop out of lawsuit against PGA Tour

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Whatever the whys and wherefores, the disputes and disagreements, the one thing the LIV series has done is get people thinking.

Much water has crossed under the bridge and a recap could go on for many hours, but it remains that something somewhere caused the PGA Tour to look at a revised schedule.

Behind all this were a number of court cases, the first being 16 players fighting their cause against a DP World Tour ban, before 11 PGA Tour players sought temporary injunctions against the tour, seeking allowance into the FedEx Cup.

Since then,  Abraham Ancer, Jason Kokrak, Carlos Ortiz and Pat Perez have dropped out of the suit, the trial scheduled to commence in 2024, and now four more have fallen by the wayside.

Those four are Ian Poulter, Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford, and more vitally, Phil Mickelson.

The idea of a series challenging the golf status quo was always in the mind of Greg Norman and his backers, and Lefty was certainly the one player that launched the idea into orbit, after a revealing interview with golf writer Alan Shipnuck.

That now leaves just three of the original 11 – Bryson DeChambeau, Matt Jones and Peter Uihlein – who are still being backed by LIV Golf.

The organization released a recent statement, commenting:

“Nothing has changed,’” confirmed LIV. “The merits of the lawsuit—the PGA Tour’s anti-competitive conduct—still stand and will be fully tested in court, and we look forward to it.”

The statement confirmed the reasons why they believe they have a strong case.

“We stand by the players who the PGA Tour has treated so poorly, but we also recognize to be successful we no longer need a wide variety of players to be on the suit. We have our players’ backs and will press our case in court against the PGA’s anti-competitive behavior.”

Losing the bigger names might be a blow to the plaintiff’s case, and Mickelson’s comments were always going to be of interest.

Lefty explained the reasons for his withdrawal to Sports Illustrated:

“I am focused on moving forward and extremely happy being a part of LIV, while also grateful for my time on the (PGA) Tour. I am pleased that the players on Tour are finally being heard, respected and valued and are benefitting from the changes recently implemented.”

He summed up:

“With LIV’s involvement in these issues, the players’ rights will be protected and I no longer feel it is necessary for me to be part of the proceedings.”

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19th Hole

Patrick Reed includes three golf journalists in fresh defamation lawsuit

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Last month, Patrick Reed filed a defamation lawsuit against Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee. The suit has since been withdrawn, but the former Masters champion isn’t done yet.

Reed has just filed a new lawsuit against golf journalists Damon Hack, Shane Bacon and Eamon Lynch. In addition to the writers, the suit includes both PGA Tour and DP World Tour and their commissioners Jay Monahan and Keith Pelley.

The suit alleges that those mentioned are guilty of “conspiracy, defamation, injurious falsehood and tortious interference”.

The lawsuit is a whopping 96-pages long and it lists 42 “causes of action.” The causes of action include “a pattern and practice of defaming Mr. Reed.”

“These malicious attacks have created hate, aided and abetted a hostile workplace environment, and have caused substantial financial and emotional damage and harm to Mr. Reed and his family,” Reed’s attorney Larry Klayman said in a statement.

The suit claims that the defendants have cost Reed opportunities at multi-million-dollar sponsorships over the course of his career.

The documents also allege that the defendants have been “intentionally and maliciously destroying” the reputation and sales of Reed and his wife’s company, grindworksUSA, which distributes golf equipment made by the Chinese company.

Reed was set to tee it up at the Alfred Dunhill Links this week, but was forced to withdraw due to back issues resulting from a soft mattress at a French hotel.

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