News & ToursSeptember 10, 2011

GB&I keeps 3-1 lead after caddie flap

__ABERDEEN, Scotland--__A seemingly harmless statement by a BBC commentator led to a brief controversy after morning foursomes had wrapped up at the 43rd Walker Cup.

While taping the morning competition to broadcast it in the afternoon before showing live singles matches, the BBC's__Paul Eales__ noted that Great Britain & Ireland's Jack Senior had his brother, Joe, on his bag for his match and that Joe was himself a golf pro. Hearing her colleague's observation, fellow commentator__Maureen Madill__ realized that there might be a problem as she knew that the conditions of competition at the Walker Cup prohibited a pro from serving as a caddie.

By the time Walker Cup officials had been made aware of the matter, Senior and his partner Andy Sullivan had already defeated Americans Russell Henley and Kelly Kraft, 2 and 1, in their match. Satisfied that Jack Senior had not knowingly kept the information to himself or knowingly broken the condition of competition, officials said that the result of the match would stand because the issue arose after the match had ended, allowing GB&I to maintain its 3-1 lead entering Saturday afternoon singles.

               "We have consulted both team captains, and we have consulted the senior officials of the United States Golf Association, and everyone is entirely happy that under the traditions and ethos of this match, that's the situation and it should be let lie," said R&A chief executive __Peter Dawson__. "And no one but no one has any problem with that except I should suspect Jack and his brother who are obviously very upset by this."

Dawson acknowledged that had the issue arisen during the match and the U.S. side contested the matter, the match would have been adjusted one hole for each hole played with the breach of the condition, up to a two-hole maximum. Senior also would have been forced to change caddies. (In the Jack Senior's afternoon singles match, he used the caddie who carried teammate Andy Dunbar's bag in the morning.)

"As far as I'm concerned, it's a big non-issue," said USGA executive director Mike Davis. "In the conditions of competition you're not allowed to have professionals as caddies. It was found out after the match [result] had been officially announced, so from a rules standpoint, unless the player in question knowingly said he knew about that condition, then a claim could be made. Even if a claim could be made, to me ... I told [U.S. captain] Jim Holtgrieve, 'Jim, don't make a claim on this.' That's not what this match is about."

The condition of competition is unique to the Walker Cup, said Dawson, who noted that neither the British Amateur or the U.S. Amateur included the stipulation about pros being prohibited from caddieing. Senior had his brother on his bag when he advanced to the semifinals of the U.S. Amateur last month at Erin Hills.

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