COSTLY BRAIN FARTS
THE COLLECTIVE groans of the golfing world continue to intensify as we witness more and more scorecard blunders and crazy rulings. Make no mistake. There’s nothing wrong with keeping the tradition of scorecards alive in professional golf. They should still be a part of the game. But with modern technology keeping track of the players’ movements, they shouldn’t still have the power to change the outcome of a tournament.
It is a case of the punishment no longer fitting the crime.
Players often make innocent mistakes on their cards. Or sometimes they forget to sign them altogether, as was the case for Australia’s highest ranked female golfer at the Volvik Championship.
“I just had a brain fart,” Minjee Lee said after being disqualified from a top-10 finish and costing herself $24,000. “I don’t know how I missed it, but obviously I did.”
Then, of course, we witnessed the Lexi Thompson debacle at the ANA Inspiration, which made the Rules of Golf look painfully outdated. ‘How can she be punished for signing an incorrect scorecard when she thought it was correct at the time …’ was
the general consensus. Prior to 2016, Thompson would have been automatically disqualified for that mistake. Which, of course, made a lot of sense because officials didn’t have a way of tracking every player. But times have changed.
Geoff Ogilvy put it best when he recently wrote: “No one should ever be penalised for signing a wrong score. That’s accounting and has no place in modern professional golf. Think about it. With the technology they have available, officials know exactly what score I shot.”
Frankly, it’s a bad look for a sport that’s so often labelled ‘stuffy’. You’re not going to grow the game if tradition continues to get in the way. What other sports require players to keep score? Can you imagine watching a game of football where every player had to sign off on the result?
Stubbornness is golf’s major weakness. The fact the Rules of Golf are only revised every four years attests to this. While it’s important to acknowledge and respect the sport’s history, it’s just as important to embrace progress. Scorecards still have a place in the professional game, but the penalty for making innocent mistakes desperately needs to be reviewed. What do you think? Should Tour players still have to hand in a scorecard?