Rules

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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.

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