Siem’s 10-shot penalty foils bid to save Tour card

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Sport - By James Cor­ri­gan GOLF COR­RE­SPON­DENT

It was not quite the 58-shot penalty suf­fered by Lee Anne Walker at the Se­nior LPGA Cham­pi­onship, but Mar­cel Siem’s 10-shot in­frac­tion at the French Open yes­ter­day en­sured this week would be re­mem­bered for eye-wa­ter­ing and score­card-ru­in­ing sanc­tions.

It was a sim­ple, hon­est mis­take by the Ger­man at Le Golf Na­tional, but so had been Walker’s the pre­vi­ous day in Indiana.

Siem – a four-time win­ner on the Euro­pean Tour who most mem­o­rably lifted the World Cup along­side Bern­hard Langer in 2006 – be­lieved the pre­ferred lies rule was in op­er­a­tion on the soggy Ry­der Cup lay­out and lifted, cleaned and re­placed his ball on five fair­ways on the front nine. How­ever, on the 10th tee, he was in­formed pre­ferred lies were not ap­pli­ca­ble, mean­ing he had in­curred a two-shot penalty for each vi­o­la­tion.

So, in­stead of be­ing one over par, Siem, was in fact 11 over and, hav­ing ar­rived in Ver­sailles des­per­ate for a good fin­ish to help him re­tain his card, that was more than the 39-year-old could stom­ach and he im­me­di­ately walked in.

With the pace­set­ters – New Zealand’s Ryan Fox and South African Ge­orge Coet­zee on six un­der, that was prob­a­bly a wise choice on be­half of a player ranked 794th in the world and with­out a top-10 fin­ish in two years. “It was a lit­tle too much for me and I dis­qual­i­fied my­self,” Siem wrote on Face­book. “I thought I owed you all the ex­pla­na­tion.”

In con­trast, Walker al­most rev­elled in the faux pas that took her way over par. The in­no­cent trans­gres­sion saw an 85 and 74 turned into a 127 and 90 re­spec­tively. “I may have made the Guin­ness Book of World Records,” Walker said yes­ter­day. “It was my fault for not know­ing the rules.”

In fair­ness to the 47-year-old, who is now work­ing as an es­tate agent, she has not been on the LPGA Tour since 2008 and was not aware of the re­cent over­haul to the rule book that came into ef­fect. Walker was alert to the ne­ces­sity of tak­ing penalty drops from knee level, but did not know about Rule 10.2b. This dis­al­lows cad­dies from stand­ing be­hind the player as they pre­pare to hit a shot.

Walker broke this rule on 21 oc­ca­sions in the first round and eight times in the sec­ond round be­fore her play­ing part­ners no­ticed on her 33rd hole. With­out the penal­ties, Walker would have missed the cut by one shot, but as it turned out, they awarded her more public­ity than the even­tual win­ner, He­len Alfredsson from Swe­den.

“What can you do at that point?” Walker said. “I wasn’t in­jured and wasn’t go­ing to dis­qual­ify my­self – that was my score, and ev­ery­one gets to see it. I had a great week, see­ing ev­ery­one again. I’m glad I went.”

Mean­while, the LPGA and Ladies Euro­pean Tour have con­firmed they are in merger talks and are work­ing to com­plete terms of a new agree­ment in time to present it to LET play­ers at their an­nual meet­ing next month.

Caught out: Mar­cel Siem learns that pre­ferred lies are not in play yes­ter­day

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