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Caddie "Error" in US Am Match Play - Match Lost


bkuehn1952
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A lot is still not known and may never be known.  It is not clear why the caddie crouched down near the bunker and appeared to brush the sand.  The caddie did not explain his actions.  The ruling was that the sand had been deliberately touched and the hole and match was lost, despite the caddie stating he did not touch the sand.

Generally, if I had been participating in a match, I would not have said anything about a very incidental breach. The casual brushing of the sand should have had virtually no affect on play. In this instance, however, the caddie's actions seem so odd and out of place that I have to agree with the other caddie who said something to the Rules official. The actions were not an accident.

 

 


Segundo Oliva Pinto’s spirited run in his first U.S. Amateur came to a heartbreaking end in a greenside bunker late Thursday afternoon at Bandon Dunes.

 

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23 minutes ago, David in FL said:

Wow, that’s devastating.  I have no idea what that caddy was thinking!

Clearly he wasn’t…

The caddie clearly touched the sand. To blatantly lie about does absolutely no good at all.

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I can think of no reason to do what the caddie did other than to gain information for the next shot and I agree with the call but have a question.

The rule says you can't touch the sand to gather information on the next shot.  Would the DQ have been appropriate if after touching the sand the caddie never spoke or signaled to Pinto and Pinto simply hit his shot without any information from the caddie?  That would imply there was no intent to learn information since there was no attempt to communicate it.  Would/Should that have changed the call?

Edited by StuM
Update to more accurately represent the rule in question.
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32 minutes ago, StuM said:

I can think of no reason to do what the caddie did other than to gain information for the next shot and I agree with the call but have a question.

The rule says you can't touch the sand to gather information on the next shot.  Would the DQ have been appropriate if after touching the sand the caddie never spoke or signaled to Pinto and Pinto simply hit his shot without any information from the caddie?  That would imply there was no intent to learn information since there was no attempt to communicate it.  Would/Should that have changed the call?

 

No that wouldn’t change it at all, in fact that is basically exactly what happened.  The kid was doing his own thing prepping for the shot and did not have anything to do with the caddy (caddie??) doing what he did.  Whoever originally saw him do it called it quickly before the kid had any idea what has happening.

I believe that it’s explained that the caddy is simply an extension of the player so communication between them does not matter.

Speaking of noticing, if you watch it, you can tell that Bones realizes the mistake as it’s happening because he has an awkward pause mid sentence right as the guy does it.  You know as a pro caddy, his mind is going “uh, oh shit, did he really just do that???”

Edit: that doesn’t show up on Dans video above, it picks up right after what I described happening, Justin Leonard is already talking.

Edited by Golfingdad
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Bonehead move by the caddie. It was a mistake and I'm sure he regrets it. But his repeated denials that he touched the sand afterward look really bad. Apparently he is a long time local looper at Bandon. I wonder if they will keep him around after this?

As for Pinto, the kid is a complete class act. I'm sure he was gutted to lose that way but he handled it with grace, both in the moment and in the interviews afterward. Good for him and I hope he gets a chance at redemption down the road.

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5 minutes ago, Big C said:

It was a mistake and I'm sure he regrets it. But his repeated denials that he touched the sand afterward look really bad. Apparently he is a long time local looper at Bandon.

Several have said this and I don’t disagree, however, I think I understand where he’s coming from. Try and imagine you’re him and you brain farted and did that, how would you react?  You know you’re not playing, you know you did this entirely on your own and the player had no clue.  You aren’t his friend, or dad, or coach and you just met the guy a couple days ago most likely.  Admitting you committed a penalty then and there guarantees this kid loses the match - wouldn’t you also be frantically trying to figure a way out for that kid to have a chance to keep playing? I get it.

Curious what the caddie would have to say right now that it’s done though. 🙂

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5 hours ago, bkuehn1952 said:

A lot is still not known and may never be known.  It is not clear why the caddie crouched down near the bunker and appeared to brush the sand.  The caddie did not explain his actions.  The ruling was that the sand had been deliberately touched and the hole and match was lost, despite the caddie stating he did not touch the sand.

The caddie very clearly touched the sand. You could see the mark in the bunker, and it was clearly caught on TV from multiple angles.

2 hours ago, StuM said:

The rule says you can't touch the sand to gather information on the next shot.  Would the DQ have been appropriate if after touching the sand the caddie never spoke or signaled to Pinto and Pinto simply hit his shot without any information from the caddie?  That would imply there was no intent to learn information since there was no attempt to communicate it.  Would/Should that have changed the call?

No. Wouldn't have and shouldn't have.

1 hour ago, Golfingdad said:

Several have said this and I don’t disagree, however, I think I understand where he’s coming from. Try and imagine you’re him and you brain farted and did that, how would you react?  You know you’re not playing, you know you did this entirely on your own and the player had no clue.  You aren’t his friend, or dad, or coach and you just met the guy a couple days ago most likely.  Admitting you committed a penalty then and there guarantees this kid loses the match - wouldn’t you also be frantically trying to figure a way out for that kid to have a chance to keep playing? I get it.

Curious what the caddie would have to say right now that it’s done though. 🙂

I don't understand where he was coming from - he lied, and by lying, that too is almost a sort of extension of his player, and thus, he's making his player look bad in lying, too.

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2 hours ago, Big C said:

Bonehead move by the caddie. It was a mistake and I'm sure he regrets it. But his repeated denials that he touched the sand afterward look really bad. Apparently he is a long time local looper at Bandon. I wonder if they will keep him around after this?

As for Pinto, the kid is a complete class act. I'm sure he was gutted to lose that way but he handled it with grace, both in the moment and in the interviews afterward. Good for him and I hope he gets a chance at redemption down the road.

Damn...Does that mean he was just some random caddie that was assigned to the golfer? With no ties to the golfer before?  I realize "rules are rules," but that's a bad way to lose. 

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33 minutes ago, iacas said:

I don't understand where he was coming from - he lied, and by lying, that too is almost a sort of extension of his player, and thus, he's making his player look bad in lying, too.

I don't think it was defensible - saying "I didn't touch it" when that was clearly false and easily disprovable  was just the wrong thing to do. That said, I sort of understand the mentality that @Golfingdad alludes to above. I think he realized the gravity of his mistake, he panicked, and by that point he would have said or done anything to reverse his actions. Kind of like a "fight or flight" type of response.

That said, while the majority of the focus will be on the caddie's actions, I hope Pinto gets plenty of kudos for handling the affair with grace and understanding. Had the same thing happened to me in my men's club match play B-flights, I don't think I could have shown the same poise. 

3 minutes ago, UNIDuffman said:

Damn...Does that mean he was just some random caddie that was assigned to the golfer? With no ties to the golfer before?  I realize "rules are rules," but that's a bad way to lose. 

Yes I'm not 100% certain but, that is my understanding. I think they were paired together the whole week, but had no relationship prior to the Championship.

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Wow, that really sucks for Pinto.  I'm not sure exactly how I'd react in that situation, much less at that age, so kudos to him for showing an immense amount of maturity.

I somewhat agree with @Golfingdad - the caddie probably panicked which is why he lied and compounded the issue - certainly not something that unusual.  I'm not sure why that rule is in place but if you leave it up to interpreting the spirit of the rule, it could certainly lead to some bad calls. 

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27 minutes ago, RFKFREAK said:

Wow, that really sucks for Pinto.  I'm not sure exactly how I'd react in that situation, much less at that age, so kudos to him for showing an immense amount of maturity.

I somewhat agree with @Golfingdad - the caddie probably panicked which is why he lied and compounded the issue - certainly not something that unusual.  I'm not sure why that rule is in place but if you leave it up to interpreting the spirit of the rule, it could certainly lead to some bad calls. 

There is no spirit to this rule. it is one of the black and white rules. If you or your caddie touches the bunker before the shot you violated the rule.

There is no intent in this rule. But yes, this is clearly not the reason for the rule. the rule is there to prevent someone from gaining an advantage. But the way the rule is written there is no intent or advantage to rule on

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51 minutes ago, RFKFREAK said:

I'm not sure why that rule is in place but if you leave it up to interpreting the spirit of the rule, it could certainly lead to some bad calls. 

Agreed.  It needs to be simple.  Don't touch the sand.  Nothing is then left to interpretation.

The other way to think of it is, what other legitimate reason is there for touching the sand that wouldn't be for the purpose of gaining an advantage?  Was he drawing a picture?  Testing it out to see if its good packing sand for a sand castle?  Just don't touch the sand and everything will be ok.

Edited by bweiss711
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14 minutes ago, bweiss711 said:

Agreed.  It needs to be simple.  Don't touch the sand.  Nothing is then left to interpretation.

The other way to think of it is, what other legitimate reason is there for touching the sand that wouldn't be for the purpose of gaining an advantage?  Was he drawing a picture?  Testing it out to see if its good packing sand for a sand castle?  Just don't touch the sand and everything will be ok.

If he was building a sand castle the rules allow him to touch the sand if he has a little plastic bucket, little shovel and some molds.  And he needs to be wearing his swim suit.

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37 minutes ago, criley4way said:

There is no spirit to this rule. it is one of the black and white rules. If you or your caddie touches the bunker before the shot you violated the rule.

There is no intent in this rule. But yes, this is clearly not the reason for the rule. the rule is there to prevent someone from gaining an advantage. But the way the rule is written there is no intent or advantage to rule on

I am trying to better understand the rules so do not shoot me if I have this totally wrong.....Below is from Rule 12.2(b) on the USGA  Website 

https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules/rules-2019/rules-of-golf/rules-and-interpretations.html#!ruletype=fr&section=rule&rulenum=12

Rule 12.2 Playing the ball in the bunker:

b. Restrictions on Touching Sand in Bunker

(1) When Touching Sand Results in Penalty. Before making a stroke at a ball in a bunker, a player must not:

  • Deliberately touch sand in the bunker with a hand, club, rake or other object to test the condition of the sand to learn information for the next stroke, or

 

Doesn't the last part of the sentence "....to test the condition...." add intent to the rule?  What if the caddie deliberately touched the sand but not to learn information for the next stroke?  I realize there is the removal of loose impediments but that is covered in section 12.2(a) and this is from section 12.2(b).  

Please understand, I am not sure why he would have touched the sand other than to gain information but doesn't the rule allow for an exception?  

Edited by StuM
correct typo in rule number/section
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Does anybody have video of him “lying?”  I’m only asking because I couldn’t quite hear him when he was talking to the rules official.  He was animated and obviously making an argument but I never actually heard him say he didn’t touch the sand.  I also didn’t watch it a second time because the whole thing was so painful.  My point being, there’s a big difference between not automatically accepting a penalty for his player by describing his side of the story and lying.

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