It's now over four years since Michelle Wie turned
professional. It's probably about time that she started acting like one.
But no: the Hawaiian fell foul of the rules for the third
time in her career while in contention at a tournament. Instead of taking it on
the chin, though, she decided to have a grumble.
unfair," she whined, "but there's nothing I can do about it."
Wie was penalised for grounding her club in a hazard - you
can catch the video here of her doing so - to incur a two-shot penalty just as
she was trying to reel in eventual winner Hee Kyung-Seo. The rule is
effectively the same one that stops you from poking around, or taking practice
swings, in a bunker.
Yes, the rules are ridiculous and unfair at times. But
there's no point complaining about it: they're the same for everyone, for better and for worse.
We're talking about a 250-year-old document,
patched-up with sticky tape, trying to legislate for every conceivable situation
in any context in every single corner of the world.
They're aiming high; and naturally enough, from time to time
there are things that don't make much sense.
So to make Michelle Wie feel better, here are four of BM's favourite
Stewart Cink - disqualified
because his caddie raked a bunker
When Stewart Cink (pictured, right) played from beside a fairway bunker at the 2008
Zurich Classic, his ball flew off out of view and into a bunker by the green.
He'd needed to stand in the bunker to play the shot, so when his caddie raked the sand he incurred a penalty: Cink was effectively about to play a shot out of what is deemed "a similar hazard", therefore his caddie (under the rules an extension of the man himself) had broken rules by testing the sand with the rake.
The infraction wasn't spotted until much later that evening,
when Cink had been discussing the incident with a fellow pro. But the American
turned himself in, accepted that he should have incurred a two-shot penalty,
and was therefore disqualified for having signed an incorrect card earlier in
Unusually, the R&A and USGA acted swiftly to close off
this little rules pothole. So no excuses for not raking bunkers behind you.
Roberto de Vicenzo -
lost The Masters thanks to his playing partner
If you've ever wondered why you see players in the tent
after winning an event checking their cards so carefully, it's all down to Argentine
star Roberto de Vicenzo.
De Vicenzo was the reigning Open champion when he shot a
stunning final-round 65 at Augusta in 1968 to make a play-off for the Masters -
except that he never made it.
His playing partner Tommy Aaron had failed to notice his birdie on
the 17th, and though millions of fans on TV had seen him make his crucial putt, De
Vicenzo didn't check his card and signed for a four instead of a three.
If a player signs for a
score that's too low, he is disqualified; if he signs for a score that's too
high, the higher score stands. And thus it wasn't until 2009 that an Argentine - Angel Carbrera - first
donned the Green Jacket.
Borja Etchart - disqualified
for having a thermometer on his trolley
The Spanish youngster fell foul of the rules in the European
Tour qualifying school process last year. In the shallow end of the
professional golfing pool players often do without caddies, instead pulling
their own clubs on trollies.
Etchart had a brand new trolley specially for the tournament,
a fancy new model that had a built-in thermometer.
Unfortunately, having a thermometer is banned (temperature
has a huge effect on how far golf balls travel) and Etchart was thrown out,
despite being seven shots better than the qualifying mark at that stage of the
Ian Woosnam - caddie
costs him chance at Open title
Many top pros warm up on the driving range with 15 or 16
clubs in their bags, and make a decision on the 14 they will use at the last
When Ian Woosnam started the final round of the 2001 Open at
Royal Lytham just a shot outside the lead, his caddie Miles Byrne forgot to
take the extra clubs out of the bag. Woosie's two-shot penalty cost him a chance to challenge for the title.
Woosie did not fire his caddie, reasoning that anyone can make a mistake; but Byrne repaid that
faith by turning up late just a couple of weeks later and forcing Woosie to carry his clubs down the first hole. This time, Byrne got the
- - -
Quote of the week:
"Tiger's an idiot and I'll tell him
so" - Peter Alliss gave an extraordinary interview to The Times, talking
all sorts of delicious rubbish about Tiger Woods.
The BBC commentator also piled in on Augusta National's
decision to even invite the world number one.
"I'm surprised, in a way, they are letting him play
there. It either shows they have a desire to be helpful or a weakness. It would
have been rather grand - but would have perpetuated the stupidity of it - if
they had said, 'Sorry, we don't want your sort here.'
"But if he
had to start somewhere, that's the safest place because it is so controlled.
Personally, I think it's a little bit cowardly."
Great stuff. He might
be 79, but he's still got it. You can read more of the interview here.
- - -
Surprise of the week: Tiger Woods is not actually looking in top form after all. Since the great man announced his return to the sport a week or so ago, everyone has been rushing to talk up his chances of winning at Augusta; but former Open champion Ben Curtis had a practice round with him last week and declared him "a bit rusty... everybody that tells you that it was the same as before would be kidding themselves."
Woods is also reportedly incredibly nervous about what might happen when he goes in front of a crowd - even a Masters crowd that live in fear of losing their annual ticket allocation.
Stat of the week: 173 - the number of failed attempts that Louis Oosthuizen had in European Tour events before claiming his maiden win at the weekend.
Shot of the week: Ernie Els produces a gorgeous chip-in birdie
after being in trouble on the ninth hole during the final round at Bay Hill.