Scorecard essentials, your queries resolved and more
Shona Mcrae, R&A assistant director – Rules, reflects on a scorecard error that cost European Tour hopeful Tom Murray dearly at the end of 2018.
One of the first things golfers learn when playing in a competition is to check their scorecard carefully. It’s important to review it before submitting as the consequences can hurt. Stroke play has specific Rules relating to scorecards and holing out, because each player is competing against other players in the competition and all players need to be treated equally under the Rules.
England’s Murray was disqualified from the European Tour Q-school in Spain last November for signing for an incorrect score. Although the total score was recorded correctly, the scores on two of the holes were swapped and, as a result, inaccurately recorded.
Rule 3.3b highlights the player’s responsibility for certifying hole scores and returning of the scorecard. Each hole score on the scorecard must be identifiable to the correct hole.
It is recommended that the player carefully checks the hole scores recorded by the marker to ensure they are correct for each respective hole. Regardless of what the marker has written on the scorecard, it is ultimately the responsibility of the player to ensure that their scorecard shows the correct score for each hole. Any errors should be amended before the scorecard is returned. The score must be correct at the point of return to be acceptable. There must be a cut-off point for alterations and this is the point when the scorecard is returned.
So, if a player returns a scorecard with a wrong score for any hole and this score is lower than the actual score, the player is disqualified under Rule 3.3b(3).
Totalling the scores is not a player’s responsibility but something that falls to the Committee to take care of once the scorecard is returned.
The Committee should check the scorecard to make sure it has the player’s name and handicap (if a net competition), the required certification and the correct hole-by-hole scores. It is then the Committee’s responsibility to total the scores and apply the handicap, if applicable, to obtain the results. Sadly for Murray, his lack of attention to detail resulted in a disqualification.