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Finchem says PGA Tour is "studying" Call-in Rules Violations

Poll Results: How do you feel about viewers and spectators calling in rules violations?

 
  • 22% (19)
    Agree with it, always have.
  • 1% (1)
    Agree with it, disagreed before.
  • 6% (5)
    Disagree with it, but agreed before.
  • 69% (58)
    Disagree with it, always have.
83 Total Votes  
post #1 of 202
Thread Starter 

Okay, you would have to possess a very good memory to know that I am vehemently opposed to the Tour allowing people on TV and in crowd to call in violations, since I haven't spoken about it much.  I feel it is so inequitable and against the spirit of the game (self-policing), that it is a mockery of the sport to allow it.  However, the Tour (and many of you) have obviously disagreed with my viewpoint.

 

But apparently Finchem is at least leaving the door open to that changing: http://espn.go.com/golf/story/_/id/9685802/tim-finchem-discusses-spectators-calling-infractions

 

Quote:
 ATLANTA -- Commissioner Tim Finchem said Tuesday that spectators in the gallery or television viewers alerting officials to possible rules issues is "difficult and awkward'' and that the PGA Tour is studying the matter.
 
"On the other hand, I hate to say it's part of the tradition of the game because actually you can't really argue that because it's changed with the degree of television we have. I think we need to do some more thinking about it. I think people in the game need to think about it.''
 

"There's sort of three or four different ways to look at it starting with one fundamental: (Is) disqualification reasonable for signing a card wrong when you didn't intentionally do anything?" he said.

"Going from there to what's a reasonable point to accept outside information? Is it better to have some sort of time limit on it? ... There's two sides to the story. It's not an easy argument one way or the other. I think it's cumbersome and difficult and awkward sometimes. On the other hand, sometimes it's pretty interesting to the fans.''

 

There is more to the article, and I urge folks at least read it before chiming in. It isn't exhaustive nor does it thoroughly discuss all sides of the issue, but it points to the possibility that the Tour may reconsider it's stance.  It should be noted, however, that if the Tour changed it's stance, it would be "against the rules of golf" which apparently state the following:

 

Quote:
 "Testimony of those who are not part of the competition, including spectators, must be accepted and evaluated. It is also appropriate to use television footage and the like to assist in resolving doubt.''

 

So, obviously this issue is bigger than simply the Tour making a decision.  But I'm curious as to how the forum feels about this now.  There was a thread created two years ago with a poll that resulted in 69% saying they do not think viewers should be able to call in rules violations.  As we saw with the anchored putting stroke debate, as the method became more prevalent, opinions became stronger and in some cases changed.  With media coverage always growing, and our consumption of the coverage expanding to mobile devices and the internet in general, there are more ways than ever to notice an infraction that the player may not have intentionally done, and would have gone unnoticed before, resulting in a random viewer/spectator calling it in.  I wonder if anybody feels differently one way or the other than they have in the past on the matter?

post #2 of 202

I don't really think the problem is that people call in infracations, it's people who have been playing 3 months or who have only ever played with friends who are clueless who think players have grounded a club in a bunker or taken a preferred lie on the fairway or think players have left the flag in for a putt or marked a ball that is off the green. I would say that for every legitimate call they must get dozens from misguided busybodies.

post #3 of 202

I voted 'disagreed with it, always have' ... although that may not be totally true.  I've heard some reasonable arguments in the past days, and months I've been on here that have got me thinking, and I may have actually agreed with it before, but I've been thinking about it a lot lately, and have determined that, like you, I am vehemently against it.

 

I don't see how you can have an HD camera zoomed in on every shot from one player, a by-product of which is the possibility that something like what happened Friday will happen, and not have that for the rest of the field.

 

I've heard good arguments that basically say that just because you can't catch all of the violations doesn't mean that this one isn't a violation.  And I can't argue with that.  It's absolutely correct.  But it's not fair.  Imagine if the NFL only gave the coach of one team each game a red challenge flag.  That is basically what this amounts to.  I could make the same argument, could I not?  Well, we won't be able to correct all of the calls, but at least we can correct some of them, and the important thing is to get them right.  If you can't have fair competition, then what are you?

 

If Tiger can make a reasonable call on himself that his ball didn't move,  (His ball obviously - because of slow motion HD camera - moved, but that doesn't make his opinion unreasonable) and get called for a penalty two hours later, that is fine.  But only if all other players also gets called for the penalty.  And in the case of viewers calling in, they only have access to what is shown on TV, which is very, very lopsided towards a small handful of players, which means there is a good bet that this type of situation happens throughout the season and goes unnoticed because if the guy is not on camera, and he says his ball only oscillated, everybody takes his word for it.

post #4 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post
 

I voted 'disagreed with it, always have' ... although that may not be totally true.  I've heard some reasonable arguments in the past days, and months I've been on here that have got me thinking, and I may have actually agreed with it before, but I've been thinking about it a lot lately, and have determined that, like you, I am vehemently against it.

 

I don't see how you can have an HD camera zoomed in on every shot from one player, a by-product of which is the possibility that something like what happened Friday will happen, and not have that for the rest of the field.

 

I've heard good arguments that basically say that just because you can't catch all of the violations doesn't mean that this one isn't a violation.  And I can't argue with that.  It's absolutely correct.  But it's not fair.  Imagine if the NFL only gave the coach of one team each game a red challenge flag.  That is basically what this amounts to.  I could make the same argument, could I not?  Well, we won't be able to correct all of the calls, but at least we can correct some of them, and the important thing is to get them right.  If you can't have fair competition, then what are you?

 

If Tiger can make a reasonable call on himself that his ball didn't move,  (His ball obviously - because of slow motion HD camera - moved, but that doesn't make his opinion unreasonable) and get called for a penalty two hours later, that is fine.  But only if all other players also gets called for the penalty.  And in the case of viewers calling in, they only have access to what is shown on TV, which is very, very lopsided towards a small handful of players, which means there is a good bet that this type of situation happens throughout the season and goes unnoticed because if the guy is not on camera, and he says his ball only oscillated, everybody takes his word for it.

 

I agree with everything you stated. The viewer is only subject to what's being broadcast on TV, which is less than half (or even a quarter) of the field. So basically, only that percentage of players would be under the microscope. I also think that the viewer watching at home should really be watching for entertainment and not pretend to be a rules official. 

post #5 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by RPMPIRE View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post
 

I voted 'disagreed with it, always have' ... although that may not be totally true.  I've heard some reasonable arguments in the past days, and months I've been on here that have got me thinking, and I may have actually agreed with it before, but I've been thinking about it a lot lately, and have determined that, like you, I am vehemently against it.

 

I don't see how you can have an HD camera zoomed in on every shot from one player, a by-product of which is the possibility that something like what happened Friday will happen, and not have that for the rest of the field.

 

I've heard good arguments that basically say that just because you can't catch all of the violations doesn't mean that this one isn't a violation.  And I can't argue with that.  It's absolutely correct.  But it's not fair.  Imagine if the NFL only gave the coach of one team each game a red challenge flag.  That is basically what this amounts to.  I could make the same argument, could I not?  Well, we won't be able to correct all of the calls, but at least we can correct some of them, and the important thing is to get them right.  If you can't have fair competition, then what are you?

 

If Tiger can make a reasonable call on himself that his ball didn't move,  (His ball obviously - because of slow motion HD camera - moved, but that doesn't make his opinion unreasonable) and get called for a penalty two hours later, that is fine.  But only if all other players also gets called for the penalty.  And in the case of viewers calling in, they only have access to what is shown on TV, which is very, very lopsided towards a small handful of players, which means there is a good bet that this type of situation happens throughout the season and goes unnoticed because if the guy is not on camera, and he says his ball only oscillated, everybody takes his word for it.

 

I agree with everything you stated. The viewer is only subject to what's being broadcast on TV, which is less than half (or even a quarter) of the field. So basically, only that percentage of players would be under the microscope. I also think that the viewer watching at home should really be watching for entertainment and not pretend to be a rules official. 

 

I'm an experienced rules official, may I call it in?

post #6 of 202

I voted "always have agreed with it", but I could be swayed.

 

A question for those who are against: Consider a case like Tiger's this weekend, only instead of the ball moving a tiny bit, it moved a couple inches. I.e., in such a way that there can be no doubt that either the player is lying about it having moved, or honestly was not watching the ball when it did. But the camera still caught it. And the player says "No, it didn't move". How would you rule? Point being, no matter how the evidence was obtained, we know the ball moved. So are you only going to go by what the player says, are you only going to go by what the evidence shows, or are you going to take it on a case-by-case basis, and make a judgement call on whether the player should have been able to see the ball move or not?  (Ball movement is just one example - the same questions apply to any rules infraction.)

 

Seems to me there are serious issues with only going by what the player *believes* happened, and just as serious issues with having to make a judgement call that depends on how much the ball moved, should the player have seen it, etc.

post #7 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asheville View Post
 

 

I'm an experienced rules official, may I call it in?

 

Do they let experienced football referees and baseball umpires call in to games that they are not officiating to correct their mistakes?

post #8 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shorty View Post

I don't really think the problem is that people call in infracations, it's people who have been playing 3 months or who have only ever played with friends who are clueless who think players have grounded a club in a bunker or taken a preferred lie on the fairway or think players have left the flag in for a putt or marked a ball that is off the green. I would say that for every legitimate call they must get dozens from misguided busybodies.

I wouldn't be so sure about that one. Do you guys even know the phone number to call? I don't. It's not like they're advertising it on broadcasts or on PGATour.com.

I think people have overrated the "average Joe at home calling in penalties you can only see with a microscope, HDTV, and DVR" angle. We see in the Rules forum everyday how little the average golfer knows about the Rules of Golf, especially the ones that professionals would screw up. Nobody saw Tiger's error in the Masters drop until Tiger outed himself in his interview after the round.

My stance remains that if you break a rule, you should be assessed the strokes for breaking that rule. (Really going out on a limb there.) The manner in which your mistake is discovered shouldn't matter.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post

Do they let experienced football referees and baseball umpires call in to games that they are not officiating to correct their mistakes?

Of course not, but in golf the penalty is added strokes. You can add them in at any time you want. You can't just say at the end of a 10-9 baseball game, "well, one of the winning team's homers actually hit the wall, and he probably would have been tagged out at second to end the inning. So the other teams wins 9-6."

You can do that all you want in golf. Plus, playing a round out knowing an earlier score was ambivalent isn't uncommon in golf, it's built right into the Rules. You can play two balls, for example, if you're not sure about the ruling of a drop.
post #9 of 202

I disagree now but have agreed with it in past.  As I stated in another post, the rules are supposed to be equitably applied and followed by everyone.  We've seen this season that some golfers are being held to higher standards simply because their name is Tiger or they are in contention and there are television cameras broadcasting in HD every more they make.

 

Whatever Tiger thought the ball did last week I'm confident that had it been Matt Every or D.A. Points doing the same thing no one would have seen it or called in about it so no penalty would have been applied.

post #10 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by sacm3bill View Post
 

A question for those who are against: Consider a case like Tiger's this weekend, only instead of the ball moving a tiny bit, it moved a couple inches. I.e., in such a way that there can be no doubt that either the player is lying about it having moved, or honestly was not watching the ball when it did. But the camera still caught it. And the player says "No, it didn't move". How would you rule? Point being, no matter how the evidence was obtained, we know the ball moved. So are you only going to go by what the player says, are you only going to go by what the evidence shows, or are you going to take it on a case-by-case basis, and make a judgement call on whether the player should have been able to see the ball move or not?  (Ball movement is just one example - the same questions apply to any rules infraction.)

 

Seems to me there are serious issues with only going by what the player *believes* happened, and just as serious issues with having to make a judgement call that depends on how much the ball moved, should the player have seen it, etc.

For the sake of argument, who's to say this doesn't happen all the time already?  Who's to say that this didn't happen with Zach Johnson (just to arbitrarily pick the winner of the tournament - by 2 strokes no less) on Friday?  See my point?  If we can't administer rules of a competition fairly to all competitors, then by definition its not a fair competition.

 

But more realistically ... the day when golf becomes like the rest of the sports where "if you ain't cheatin', you ain't tryin'" is the day I, and probably most everybody else, stops watching.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamo View Post


My stance remains that if you break a rule, you should be assessed the strokes for breaking that rule. (Really going out on a limb there.) The manner in which your mistake is discovered shouldn't matter.

Absolutely.  However, I would add the caveat that in a competition, the manner that the mistake is discovered SHOULD be available to every competitor.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamo View Post

Of course not, but in golf the penalty is added strokes. You can add them in at any time you want. You can't just say at the end of a 10-9 baseball game, "well, one of the winning team's homers actually hit the wall, and he probably would have been tagged out at second to end the inning. So the other teams wins 9-6."

You can do that all you want in golf. Plus, playing a round out knowing an earlier score was ambivalent isn't uncommon in golf, it's built right into the Rules.. You can play two balls, for example, if you're not sure about the ruling of a drop.

Hypothetically, let's say that every single competitor did the exact same thing as Tiger did on Friday.  I know it's absurd, but bear with me. ;)  All 70 of them.  Some of them will probably lean towards the cautious side and call a penalty on themselves because they are not sure if it moved or not.  Some of them will be certain it moved, and some of them will certain it only oscillated.  Of the 70, perhaps 15 or so were shown playing the first hole on Friday?  I don't know, that's just a guess.  Certainly a lot of the guys who insisted that their ball only oscillated are among the 55 who weren't shown on TV, and thus, their words were taken and they got to play on without penalty.  A 2-stroke advantage for them on some of the field, and a 1-stroke advantage for them on the rest of the field.  And I would even take this one step further.  If we're going to call in penalties on guys in Tiger's situation, then we can't we also call in non-penalties in the situation of the guy who thinks it moved, is just trying to do the right thing, and then it turns out, with the help of HD video, it only oscillated?  Nope, sorry, that guy is screwed too.

post #11 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sacm3bill View Post
 

A question for those who are against: Consider a case like Tiger's this weekend, only instead of the ball moving a tiny bit, it moved a couple inches. I.e., in such a way that there can be no doubt that either the player is lying about it having moved, or honestly was not watching the ball when it did. But the camera still caught it. And the player says "No, it didn't move". How would you rule? Point being, no matter how the evidence was obtained, we know the ball moved. So are you only going to go by what the player says, are you only going to go by what the evidence shows, or are you going to take it on a case-by-case basis, and make a judgement call on whether the player should have been able to see the ball move or not?  (Ball movement is just one example - the same questions apply to any rules infraction.)

 

Seems to me there are serious issues with only going by what the player *believes* happened, and just as serious issues with having to make a judgement call that depends on how much the ball moved, should the player have seen it, etc.

For the sake of argument, who's to say this doesn't happen all the time already?  Who's to say that this didn't happen with Zach Johnson (just to arbitrarily pick the winner of the tournament - by 2 strokes no less) on Friday?  See my point?  If we can't administer rules of a competition fairly to all competitors, then by definition its not a fair competition.

 

I think I see your point, I just don't agree with it.  :-)   The difference is, we don't have clear video evidence of Zach doing anything wrong. With Tiger we do, and we're considering ignoring it.

 

By your argument there are no fair competitions in any sports. The 3 refs in NBA games aren't going to see every violation that every player does.

post #12 of 202

There's a legal term that's escaping me at the moment, but it's something which basically means that the "best version of the truth" is supposed to be what's considered. TV, like it or not, is often the "best version of the truth."

 

I agree with sacm3bill's post. I also doubt the PGA Tour is flooded with calls from people pointing out rules infractions.

 

Drew, what's more "fair": letting known violations go just because the person who noticed didn't happen to be a certain kind of person (caddie, player, official?), or accepting that occasionally a player not on TV (thus unlikely to be near the lead) accidentally got away with something?

 

Additionally, I think that if someone's considering cheating, and no spectators are around, but a TV camera is, disallowing "video evidence" would do at least a little to encourage someone to cheat, whereas with the rule allowing "video evidence" they have a strong incentive NOT to cheat.

post #13 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post

Absolutely.  However, I would add the caveat that in a competition, the manner that the mistake is discovered SHOULD be available to every competitor.

That's a nice ideal, but it's never going to happen. a1_smile.gif The PGA Tour is't going to spring for another dozen camera per round, nor is it going to get rid of all of the cameras on Tiger.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post

Hypothetically, let's say that every single competitor did the exact same thing as Tiger did on Friday.  I know it's absurd, but bear with me. ;)  All 70 of them.  Some of them will probably lean towards the cautious side and call a penalty on themselves because they are not sure if it moved or not.  Some of them will be certain it moved, and some of them will certain it only oscillated.  Of the 70, perhaps 15 or so were shown playing the first hole on Friday?  I don't know, that's just a guess.  Certainly a lot of the guys who insisted that their ball only oscillated are among the 55 who weren't shown on TV, and thus, their words were taken and they got to play on without penalty.  A 2-stroke advantage for them on some of the field, and a 1-stroke advantage for them on the rest of the field.  And I would even take this one step further.  If we're going to call in penalties on guys in Tiger's situation, then we can't we also call in non-penalties in the situation of the guy who thinks it moved, is just trying to do the right thing, and then it turns out, with the help of HD video, it only oscillated?  Nope, sorry, that guy is screwed too.

Basically it boils down to this: In my opinion, it's better not to ignore rules violations, because that's is what they would be forced to do otherwise.
post #14 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post
 

There's a legal term that's escaping me at the moment, but it's something which basically means that the "best version of the truth" is supposed to be what's considered. TV, like it or not, is often the "best version of the truth."

 

I agree with sacm3bill's post. I also doubt the PGA Tour is flooded with calls from people pointing out rules infractions.

 

Drew, what's more "fair": letting known violations go just because the person who noticed didn't happen to be a certain kind of person (caddie, player, official?), or accepting that occasionally a player not on TV (thus unlikely to be near the lead) accidentally got away with something?

 

Additionally, I think that if someone's considering cheating, and no spectators are around, but a TV camera is, disallowing "video evidence" would do at least a little to encourage someone to cheat, whereas with the rule allowing "video evidence" they have a strong incentive NOT to cheat.

 

I don't believe position on the leaderboard should have any impact on the whether or not the rules are enforced or how they are enforced.  Either cameras record every competitors action while playing in a tournament and then get reviewed by officials to ensure a rule infraction didn't occur or video isn't used to enforce a penalty post round on anyone.

 

Just about any golfer could have done what Tiger did last week and not received a penalty because no one would have been there with an HD camera to film them.  

post #15 of 202

Here's the thing... I'm not really a big fan of the call in violations as, like Golfingdad and others have said, it puts some players more "at risk" than others, but once it is known that there was a violation, I think you have to do something about it. 

post #16 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by newtogolf View Post
 

I don't believe position on the leaderboard should have any impact on the whether or not the rules are enforced or how they are enforced.  Either cameras record every competitors action while playing in a tournament and then get reviewed by officials to ensure a rule infraction didn't occur or video isn't used to enforce a penalty post round on anyone.

 

Thing is, you don't get to say "either…or" like that because you've left out the option we use now: that infractions are punished when they're made known.

post #17 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by tristanhilton85 View Post
 

Here's the thing... I'm not really a big fan of the call in violations as, like Golfingdad and others have said, it puts some players more "at risk" than others, but once it is known that there was a violation, I think you have to do something about it.

 

I agree, but the issue is allowing call-in or post video review places Tiger, and a select few under much more rules scrutiny than the rest of the field which in my opinion doesn't qualify as equal and fair application of the rules.  Either golfers are trusted to enforce the rules on themselves or no one is trusted and rules officials with cameras record every golfers actions while on the course.

post #18 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post
 

 

Thing is, you don't get to say "either…or" like that because you've left out the option we use now: that infractions are punished when they're made known.

 

I don't to get to say anything but my opinion but the current option we use now isn't fair to all of the competitors and should be changed.

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