Remember a few weeks ago there was a mild kerfuffle about an LPGA player, a moved ball, and her subsequent DQ?
A former NCAA champion was disqualified from the LPGA’s qualifying event after hitting a ball that had been moved by an outside agency from out of bounds back into play. The outside agency? Her mother, according to two reports.
The ball in question belonged to Doris Chen, whose drive on the 17th hole of Pinehurst No. 7 in the seventh round of the LPGA’s Q-Series came to rest beyond the out of bounds stakes.
The LPGA said in a statement: “An outside agency moved her ball back in bounds. Ms. Chen and her caddie were made aware that the ball had been moved. Doris elected to play the ball, which was a wrong ball by definition, from its altered lie.”
A knowledgeable friend who was there confirmed the above account.
What you might have wondered at the time is what does the Committee do when they receive such a report? In my world as a referee, I’ve seen a few of these and they’re all different and not everyone is always happy with the outcome.
The role of the referee (and by extension, that of the Committee) is defined in the Rules of Golf.
A “referee” is one who is appointed by the Committee to decide questions of fact and apply the Rules. He must act on any breach of a Rule that he observes or is reported to him.
His or her first task is to determine the facts. Most often that begins with the player, then the fellow-competitors and caddies, then witnesses. So, we interview as many who may have information as we can, then retreat to a quiet room with the Tournament Director and the Rules book, (and if needs be, a phone to talk with the USGA Rules Help Desk.)
But, what if there are conflicting details? The player’s account is huge and is good for about 49% of the story. The player would have been asked to describe the event and state what he or she was intending to do.
In the case of Ms Chen, apparently details from others (that remaining 51%) compelled the Committee to rule against her.