Thursday, February 6, 2014

Ask Linda #789-Starting ahead of time

Dear Linda,

Last week my partner and I played in the monthly qualifying Stableford competition. Because of the hot weather we decided to play early and started 15 minutes before the official time.

After the game our attention was drawn to 2012-2013 Decision 6-3a/5 and we were consequently disqualified.

However we do not agree with the Committee's definition of this rule as we believe it refers to stroke play matches (we were playing Stableford).

Rule 6-3a has a footnote about Stablefords and this refers to Note 2, rule 32-1b which states that "if the competitor is in breach of rule 6-3a [which we were]…the committee will deduct one hole from the aggregate of holes.”

Can you confirm whether the decision to disqualify us was the correct one?

Many thanks for your time. I hope you can help us.

Lulu from Suffolk, England

Dear Lulu,

I can answer your question, but the answer won’t make you happy. The disqualification was correct. Here’s why:

Rule 6-3a states that the player must start at the time assigned by the Committee. The penalty for starting at the wrong time is disqualification. This penalty is in effect for both match play and stroke play formats. Stableford, incidentally, is a form of stroke play [Rule 32-1].

The Note that you refer to [Rule 32-1b, Note 2] directs the Committee to deduct two points in a Stableford competition if the competitor arrives within five minutes of her starting time. Thus, if a player with a 9 a.m. starting time arrives at 9:04, she will have two points deducted from her total for the round. Two minutes later (9:06) and she would be disqualified.

There is no mercy for players who decide to ignore their assigned time and play 15 minutes ahead of the field.

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