Finchem says PGA Tour is "studying" Call-in Rules Violations - Page 12
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.
TheSandTrap.com Top Picks
They revised the rules April '11 to make sure a player isn't DQ'd
As long as it an infraction which he couldn't have been aware of at the time. If it was something like an improper drop where he simply didn't follow the rule correctly but should have, then he doesn't get the free pass. The DQ is still on the table.
After watching the Cup this morning for a while and thinking about some of the other posts on this topic, I think I may actually do something that deserves a man-card revocation - recant on my position. Not 100% sure yet, but here are some thoughts:
I think everyone agrees that the rules are in place to preserve equity as much as possible. Everyone wants to have a system that is most fair. One camp thinks that having as many people as possible see a violation (or something that goes in a player's favor) be able to affect a call achieves the most equity, while the other camp believes that certain players who receive more TV and even gallery coverage are at a disadvantage because they are under more scrutiny. Therefore, "call-ins" should be disallowed. Here's why I've at least considered moving from camp two to camp one:
No game is called 100% fairly. Baseball has low-ball umpires, which favor sinker-ball pitchers. Pac-12 basketball refs are accused of being milquetoasts compared to Big East refs. Yes, everyone plays under the same rules theoretically, but it's not 100% even. There are home crowd refs. Michael Jordan got away with more traveling calls than not, etc.
So, the question becomes "Are the current rules so skewed against certain players that a "threshold" of equity has been breached?"; second, "Is there a better system that we could come up with (I think question 2 is where everyone falls short. Most people are great at criticism but short on solutions). I'm starting to think no on both counts:
People say that Tiger Woods has so much scrutiny, and that is why he's had several penalties assessed against him after-the-fact this year. Keep in mind that this is the only year I can remember where this issue was a big deal. For many years, Tiger never had this happen to him. Because it cost him the Masters - which every fanboy in the world is dying to see him win - and then happened in another big-time event, it added extra emotions into the argument. If this happened to him during a pro-am round on ESPN2 (ok, bad example, but you get the idea), would we be talking? So, does a guy like Tiger have a distinct disadvantage because of media and gallery coverage. I'm starting to think this worry is overblown.
I've been to two PGA Tour events live. Only one - the final round of the Accenture Match Play in 2008 - had a comparatively "big" gallery, and it was even chided as small on TV (P.S. - Tiger lost in the third round). Even so, every single shot that wasn't on the fairway or the green had about 20 people surround the ball like a flock of seagulls converging on a sandwich at the beach. In the first round, same thing, even for the crowds not following Tiger. Every shot taken had ample people watching it to spot an infraction, whether it was Heath Slocum or Tiger Woods. I saw no reason there why Tiger would have unfair scrutiny from a live audience. Perhaps Tiger would have a very, very slight disadvantage because some people are out to get him, but I think there's enough cool heads to mitigate that. So, for the most part, the live crowds and officials at the event have things covered.
As for the TV argument, I think it's overblown. Yes, on Thursday and Friday, Tiger, Phil, Rory etc. get massive amounts of TV coverage. Everyone wants to see the big boys play. But on Saturday and Sunday, if those guys are not near the top of the leader board, coverage moves from them to where the real story lines are. At the Open, there were more camera shots of Phil Mickelson flashing a goofy grin and tipping his cap than there were of Tiger Woods actually hitting a shot. When Jim Furyk was chasing a 58, Tiger was not on camera for a long time. In other words, while there is surely some media slant toward Tiger, that "inequitable" factor is not enough to call for a rule change, IMO. Tiger generally gets TV coverage in the big events and on the weekend not mainly because he's Tiger, but because HE WINS A LOT. If Joe Pro golfer won 14 majors and had a winning percentage better than everyone who ever lived, he'd be on camera much more. Therefore, because live spectators, players, and officials have 99.9% of things covered, and the remaining .01% might show slight bias, I don't see a big deal. I think what most people are thinking is that it's a little weird to allow home viewers to affect outcomes. However, it's not as if some guy from Anywhere USA can just call the PGA Tour and get Tiger disqualified. They can point something out, and then a gaggle of officials spend much time looking at the situation. The officials are always involved to a great extent.
I also think that Tiger gets advantages from his scrutiny that may help him. I've probably seen him benefit more from a massive slice off the tee that nails some poor guy in the gallery 250 yards away and keep him in a decent position than losing a few strokes from the TV call-in problem. Heck, during the Haney years, it probably happened once a round! Does anyone else think that Ben Curtis would've had 15 schlubs move a boulder for him at TPC Sottsdale to clear an "obstruction?" (I always found that funny. Maybe someone else will rent a backhoe to clear out an oak tree "obstruction" some day). Hmmm...
Anyway, just some more thoughts...