Friday, October 22, 2010

Ask Linda #249a-Wrong decisions by the Committee

Thank you for the reply [Ask Linda #249]. I will let the folks who run these events know they indeed ruled incorrectly. The stroke the player was assessed didn't keep him from winning...he still finished a couple of strokes back. However, I would expect folks who run these events to have better insight into the rules and decisions on the rules of golf. I don't know what he looked at to make his decision, but he didn't read the same rules I read...or the rules you've cited here.

Thank you again...Lou Lou.

Lou, interpreting the rules correctly requires an inordinate amount of study and a certain amount of intellectual modesty. While every person running a tournament may not have the time or interest to devote himself to a thorough understanding of the Rules and the Decisions on the Rules, such people need to admit that their knowledge is limited, toss their ego aside, and consult a rules official at the USGA when a difficult or unusual situation arises. That requires a degree of humility and honesty that not everyone has.

On a number of occasions through the years I have encountered golf professionals who are adamant about the correctness of a ruling that I knew for certain was entirely mistaken. I would resolve the problem immediately by calling a USGA official and letting the golf pro hear the answer straight from the horse’s mouth.

When I receive a question from a reader that has a clear answer in the Rules of Golf or in the Decisions book, I cite them as my references and answer the question myself. However, when some questions are not so easily verified, I form an opinion and check directly with the USGA to make sure I am not giving out wrong advice.

Golf professionals and Committee members should do the same. If there are differing or uncertain opinions on how to resolve a rules matter, and no pertinent rule or Decision can be found, then the highest authority –the USGA– should be consulted. The goal should always be to get things right.

Copyright © 2010 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.