Christina Kim, one of the sport's more colorful characters, captured an LPGA Tour card for the 2020 season. Unfortunately for Kim, she has spent most of the weekend defending a called rules violation rather than celebrating her feat.
The controversy involves Kim, Dewi Weber and Kendall Dye during Thursday's sixth round of LPGA Q-Series at Pinehurst No. 9. According to Golfweek, as Weber prepared to play the par-3 17th (the group's eighth hole of the day) Dye gestured to Weber's caddie to confirm what club Weber was using. This motion breaks Rule 10-2 under soliciting advice, resulting in a two-stroke penalty for both parties—even though Weber was unaware of the communication at the time.
Kim, however, saw the interaction, but chose not to say anything until the end of the round. At that point, she informed a rules official and the players about the violation.
Both Dye and Weber's caddies admitted they had exchanged gestures, although Dye told Golfweek she was unaware it was an infraction. “I had no idea that was the Rules of Golf. Lesson learned," she said.
Dye and Weber told Golfweek that they were not pleased with Kim's timing, preferring to have known about it right after it happened. They were further incensed when Kim wrote, “Quick PSA-if you’re a golfer, please read and know the rules. PLEASE!!!"
The fallout was immediate, as Kim spent the next two days on social media defending her actions and comments. She made an appearance on Golf Channel's "Morning Drive" to plead her case.
"I've been called a nark," Kim said. "Unfortunately, the Rules of Golf don't really care about who [are] your friends, don't really care about your personal emotions, and one thing I pride myself in is my integrity and just knowing that I had to do the right thing. If I was going to sit there and try to protect my two friends, one, I'm in breach of the Rules, which is something I hold sacred, and two, that's unfair to the other 95 players in the field, so it was a really tough decision.
"I wasn't trying to start any drama," Kim said. "All I was trying to do is just remind people, hey, if you're going to do something just make sure you do it within the confines of what is and isn't allowed."
Dye, for her part, wasn't buying it, saying she was "very disappointed" in Kim's "unprofessional and very public" action.
When Q-Series was over on Saturday after the eighth and final round, both Dye and Weber missed out on cards. Weber conceding the penalty affected her weekend play. “It shouldn’t have," Weber said after a Saturday 82 submarined her chances. "That’s absolutely, 100 percent on me.”
Dye came to the final hole needing an ace to get inside the top 45 and earn her tour card. She went for broke, but her pulled tee shot into the water resulted in a double bogey.