Editors' BlogJuly 28, 2008

That Scorecard Rule: Final word?

Shall this be the final pro/con on the scorecard rule that cost Michelle Wie a disqualification? Wie's put it behind her. After this, perhaps we will, too. First, Lee Giles of Sedona, Arizona, to the Golf World defenders of the rule:

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Your premise, "why the scorecard rule is necessary" is so wrong. This is a technical issue, having absolutely nothing to do with actual play nor the integrity of the game. Ron Sirak's comment that "only the players really know the totality of what takes place" is so off base, it strains credulity. Professional are surrounded by rules officials, at least two scorers, two caddies, a sign board, at least one other player, and scores of fans. At least a half dozen people know what each player shot. Sirak is saying that the scoreboards around the course can not be trusted either. For gosh sakes, get rid of all the silly techno crap and let them play golf. As long as they sign a card before they leave the course, it should be okay. We are not talking about falsifying a score (lower than actual). That can't happen. We are talking about if you picked up the wrong fork to eat your dessert.>

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In response to the letter by Pete Gitlin of Phoenix in the July 25 issue, Jeff Rivard of the Western Pennsylvania Golf Association writes to defend the rule:

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Mr. Gitlin's letter advocating a Rules of Golf change in the score card Rule 6-6 suggests the issue has not been considered by the USGA and R&A, golf's ruling bodies. Of course it has as every Rule receives continuing and constant review. The fact the Rule hasn't changed in decades is a clear message that the cures are worse than the affliction.>

One item has been fixed. The Mark Roe/Jesper Parnevik incident, players not properly exchanging cards, has been resolved with a new Decision. >

Officials often save players from problems, wrong scores, failing to sign, and others. Hale Irwin was so focused on his final round numbers in the 1979 US Open at Inverness that once he was satisfied with the math, he promptly rose from the scoring table to leave and USGA Official Tom Meeks said, "Hale—sign the card now!" just as he was about to exit the trailer. This is more common than the Michelle Wie incident at Springfield. The Rule is fine; the question of how to staff the scoring area is the larger question.

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I'm in Wes' camp here. Play, add 'em up, sign and then go do what you have to do. That way, everybody's protected. In most sports there is one score; in golf there are hundreds. The player should have a right to attest his or hers, but with that right is the obligation to do it promptly after play. That said, at a professional event there ought to be a system that keeps the player from skipping out.

Are we done?

--Bob Carney

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