Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tiger to be fined - Bridgestone Invitational

Another Tiger controversy. This time Tiger criticises John Paramor for putting him and Harrington on the clock on the 16th hole. Harrington accepts that this had some influence on his 16th hole collapse (a triple bogey), but he has also said that the rules are the rules and therefore must apply to the last group as much as earlier groups. Good man, Padraig.

Tiger didn't see it that way. I doubt anyone else who was watching did either. The last pairing were clear of the field. They were locked in a titanic struggle and their focus must have been at 100%. To have an outside party (Paramor) interrupt that focus was both unfortunate and disappointing. It turned a magical battle into a farce.

This is my biggest complaint about the rules of golf: there's no leeway. It's black or white. And while they need to be black or white to avoid misinterpretation or abuse, some of the rules are difficult to understand. In the professional game where rounds can take over five hours, putting players on the clock is perfectly acceptable, but there must be a little leeway - surely. Tiger and Padraig were locked in battle, with massive crowds following them and roaring after every shot. And how far behind were they? Did the fans following them care? Did the players behind them get upset - oh yes, sorry, there weren't any players behind? Were the TV networks concerned that coverage would slip past 6pm and mess up their schedules?

Personally, what John Paramor did was wrong. It was, however, 100% right. He has to apply the rules as they stand, which he did. Good for him; bad for the tournament and Harrington.

It is worth noting that being put on the clock did not have the same effect on Tiger. He may have put his drive in the trees but he still walked off 16 with a birdie.

Now it looks like Tiger's to be fined for speaking out about Paramor's intervention. At the British Open he swears and slams clubs; here he speaks up for what he thinks was a poor decision by the officials. Both times he ends up being criticised by a lot of people. It's not easy being Tiger. I'm not the biggest Tiger fan, but I admire him hugely for speaking up:

"Like I was telling him (Harrington) out there, 'I'm sorry that John got in the way of a great battle,' because it was such a great battle for 16 holes," Woods said. "And unfortunately, that happened."

How anyone can say that Woods' comments were 'utterly classless', is beyond me.

And I admire Harrington for accepting it all so graciously:

"There are rules, and the players make the rules and we've got to apply them. If you're put on the clock, you always want to be nicely in position so you're not having to think too much. I got out of position with my tee shot, my second shot and my third short. I got out of position and just got myself out of the zone...if you're asking a player two or three groups ahead of the lead to play within a certain time frame, it's unfair to give the leaders any leeway."

Section VI-D in the PGA Tour’s player handbook says, “It is an obligation of membership to refrain from comments to the news media that unreasonably attack or disparage tournaments, sponsors, fellow members, players, or PGA Tour.”

I'm sure that fining Tiger is all for the 'good of the game', but why is he not allowed to speak out -it's not as if he was abusive or confrontational. I also don't see how his comments "unreasonably attack or disparage" Paramor. Everyone knows that the rules don't work 100% of the time. Usually we have to listen to the unbelievably dull stuff that golfers spout at interviews: 'I couldn't sink anything', 'my swing was off', 'I left a few shots out there'. Nice to hear something else from the biggest star in golf.

And finally: good to have you back, Padraig,

1 comment:

  1. Kevin, good post. It seems to me the rule should be changed so that it does not apply to the last group. Afterall, if the last group is slow, no participant in the tournament is disadvantaged. If one of the two participants is disadvantaged then that participant can ask the rules official to put the group under the clock.

    Yes the official was 100% under the rules. However, officials sometimes need to use a little judgment in the application of the rules.

    Lefty Golfer from NJ