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Cam Smith's Day-Later Penalty


iacas
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Read that article. Basically, though:

  • Cam Smith didn't take complete relief from a red penalty area in the third round.
  • Two strokes were added to his score before the start of the final round.
  • The live viewing referee didn't see it, but someone later did. This wasn't a "call-in" which are no longer accepted.

I'm firmly in the "good, the right thing was done" camp, and I give credit to the PGA Tour for doing it even though they had to know it would look bad (not because it was wrong, but because of how people react to these types of things).

I really don't understand some of the responses.

Quote

No. Smith did break a rule, but it wasn’t blatant or malicious. The tour and its rules committee marinated on the issue and decided to let it slide. Soon as they made their ruling on Saturday, Smith should have been in the clear. —Joel Beall

So what? When you hit a ball OB, it often isn't "blatant or malicious" either, but a rule was broken.

Quote

The answer here is no, and it has nothing to do with what actually happened on the course. The PGA Tour could benefit from a standard statute of limitations. Beyond that, you risk absurd situations like the one we saw, where Smith gets penalized with only a short while until his final round starts—too late to even change his pairing. We already had uneven enforcement of the Rules in Golf due to the fact that the best players are being filmed more often, and I think a certain degree of that is inevitable and even acceptable. But to carry that disparity forward to the point where some official watching the coverage at 11 p.m. on Saturday night can trigger a review and an extremely late penalty isn't fair, and it it's not good for the tournament, the players, or the fans. If you miss it and they "get away" with a penalty, well, welcome to sports. —Shane Ryan

There is a statute of limitations… it's in the Rules book. Had he won the tournament and his error was discovered a week later, he'd have been in the clear. But so long as a situation can be corrected, it often is.

And letting someone get away with a known penalty isn't exactly "fair" either.

Plus, Cam Smith should have followed the Rules himself. Golf makes a big deal out of how the players police themselves, and yet… Cam Smith (and his caddie, and even slightly his fellow competitors) failed to do so here.

Quote

Let’s turn this on its head. Should Smith be allowed to call a penalty on himself 18 hours after the conclusion of his round, for his Saturday violation? Why, of course, he should. Such decisions aren’t merely understandable in golf, they are its very essence. That PGA Tour rules officials asked the question is immaterial. It’s a rules violation. There is no time limit. Hell, even NASCAR takes away trophies after the fact. And if we’re comfortable with golfers getting away with things they otherwise shouldn’t be getting away with, like say NASCAR drivers, than we’re in a position much worse off than whether one golf league is sponsored by a country that we don’t like. —Mike Stachura

Thank you!

Also…

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I apologize for the length of this post. If I had more time I’d have written a shorter one. – Erik J. Barzeski “That Haotong Li penalty was an outrage! He didn’t gain an adv…
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I got nothing to add.  Smith screwed up, because he apparently didn't know the Rule.  The appropriate penalty was applied, even if it was a bit later than ideal.  From the account I read, Cam took it calmly, saying "Rules are rules."  To me this falls into the "nothing to see here" file.

Although the reaction to this event is probably a lot different than if it had been Patrick Reed doing exactly the same thing.  Here we have complaints about the rule, and complaints about the late assessment of the penalty.  I'd guess that if it were Reed, we'd hear accusations of intentional cheating and calls for his DQ.

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Dave

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I continue to be surprised by how many highly paid professionals don't know a short rulebook.  Considering how non-standard a golf course is, compared to a tennis court or football field or even a baseball park, it's amazing just how short the rules book is.  And no one is trying to trick you.  There's no one checking in as eligible or ineligible at the last second.  The lateral hazards don't shift as you're addressing your ball.  

At least Cam didn't do the super obnoxious thing and say that in a few weeks, he wouldn't have to deal with the rules officials anymore. 

Meanwhile, in a tournament round on Saturday, I avoided a penalty by knowing this rule: https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules-hub/rules-modernization/major-changes/no-penalty-for-moving-a-ball-on-the-putting-green.html .  Considering I won by one, I'm pretty happy I knew that one. 

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23 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

Although the reaction to this event is probably a lot different than if it had been Patrick Reed doing exactly the same thing.  Here we have complaints about the rule, and complaints about the late assessment of the penalty.  I'd guess that if it were Reed, we'd hear accusations of intentional cheating and calls for his DQ.

As somebody who has definitely reacted to Pat Reed rules issues in the past (perhaps unfairly) I have to say .... you are absolutely correct here.

1 hour ago, iacas said:
 

So what? When you hit a ball OB, it often isn't "blatant or malicious" either, but a rule was broken.

 

I have hit a fair number of balls OB maliciously. 😉

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Two scenarios. 

1. You tell a person, the rule is when you take a drop from a lateral hazard the ball must be put back in play, out of the hazard after the drop. Any markings or stakes are considered inside the hazard. 

2. You show them where Cam Smith hit from, and try to explain the rule. 

I think the argument is more of the situation of Cam Smith, and those who do not like the rule or are saying it is dumb is because Cam Smith was able to take a stance and hit a shot from ground that does not look like a hazard. 

Of course, that should not be considered when evaluating if a rule is dumb or not. There are plenty of scenarios were a tour player would never want to hit the ball from the hazard if the ball rolled back into the hazard. You can not have the rule be, "Let the golfer choose to redrop or hit from the hazard after dropping the ball." 

I am 100% fine with them penalizing Cam Smith. To me, the rule is totally fine. 

 

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The "outrage" is predictably dumb. This is 100% on Cam. This is a basic rule, and he should have known better. His caddy should also know better. If he has any questions, he can call a rules official over. This isn't a close call, hard to figure out, or hard to tell on TV.

OT commentary on the rules here:

Spoiler

I do think it is confusing that a OB line and a penalty area line are treated differently under the rules. With a OB line, if the ball is partially on the line and partially on the course, the ball is not OB. With a penalty area line, if the ball is partially on the line and partially on the course, the ball is in the penalty area. This is not a huge issue, but it would make things slightly simpler if those were treated the same. Admittedly, this is only an issue for those of us who are wild enough where you have to remember the difference.

 

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16 minutes ago, Shindig said:

Meanwhile, in a tournament round on Saturday, I avoided a penalty by knowing this rule: https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules-hub/rules-modernization/major-changes/no-penalty-for-moving-a-ball-on-the-putting-green.html .  Considering I won by one, I'm pretty happy I knew that one. 

I've heard it said that knowledge of the rules can be the 15th club in your bag.  

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34 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

I've heard it said that knowledge of the rules can be the 15th club in your bag.  

Yes, and it's a far more useful (and legal) 15th club than Ian Woosnam's extra driver at the 2001 British and much more useful than when Johnny Miller played a round at the US Open with his son's plastic driver in the bag. 

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Dan, you are always “in” the thing that the line defines. That is the consistency.

  • for an out of bounds line, you are in the course (in bounds).
  • for a bunker and the general area, you are in the bunker.
  • for a bunker or the general area in the penalty area, you are in the penalty area.
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16 minutes ago, iacas said:

for an out of bounds line, you are in the course (in bounds).

I don't think that's right. The definition says the line is out of bounds, and the diagram in the rule shows a ball entirely on the line as being out of bounds: 112622882_OBDiagram.thumb.png.3e5aaecf1d6ec3b0f8aa4f3401b4fa15.png'

I might be missing something though.

 

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12 minutes ago, DeadMan said:

I don't think that's right. The definition says the line is out of bounds, and the diagram in the rule shows a ball entirely on the line as being out of bounds: 112622882_OBDiagram.thumb.png.3e5aaecf1d6ec3b0f8aa4f3401b4fa15.png'

I might be missing something though.

 

If any part of the ball is in bounds, you are on the course. The ball has to be entirely out-of-bounds. 

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3 minutes ago, boogielicious said:

If any part of the ball is in bounds, you are on the course. The ball has to be entirely out-of-bounds. 

It is a little bit inconsistent.  The edge of the line furthest from the "area" (the OB area or the Penalty Area) is the limit of that area.  That part seems consistent to me.  But a ball touching the PA limit is in the PA, a ball touching the OB limit isn't OB, it has to be completely OB.  When looked at the opposite way, a ball touching the Golf Course limit is on the golf course.  Which would make sense if the entire line was actually on the golf course, but that's not the way its defined.  I feel like I'm talking (writing) in circles.  Personally, I understand the rule, but I can see why some folks could see it as confusing.  

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11 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

It is a little bit inconsistent.  The edge of the line furthest from the "area" (the OB area or the Penalty Area) is the limit of that area.  That part seems consistent to me.  But a ball touching the PA limit is in the PA, a ball touching the OB limit isn't OB, it has to be completely OB.  When looked at the opposite way, a ball touching the Golf Course limit is on the golf course.  Which would make sense if the entire line was actually on the golf course, but that's not the way its defined.  I feel like I'm talking (writing) in circles.  Personally, I understand the rule, but I can see why some folks could see it as confusing.  

Could it be because the penalty for OB is more severe? Are they being more generous it that case?

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36 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

It is a little bit inconsistent.  The edge of the line furthest from the "area" (the OB area or the Penalty Area) is the limit of that area.  That part seems consistent to me.  But a ball touching the PA limit is in the PA, a ball touching the OB limit isn't OB, it has to be completely OB.  When looked at the opposite way, a ball touching the Golf Course limit is on the golf course.  Which would make sense if the entire line was actually on the golf course, but that's not the way its defined.  I feel like I'm talking (writing) in circles.  Personally, I understand the rule, but I can see why some folks could see it as confusing.  

Like I said, a ball touching a line and another part of the course is “in.”

  • In bounds
  • In the PA
  • In the bunker

So, not inconsistent when viewed that way @DeadMan.

I realize the line is defined kind of differently but I’m telling you how you can remember it.

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42 minutes ago, iacas said:

Like I said, a ball touching a line and another part of the course is “in.”

  • In bounds
  • In the PA
  • In the bunker

So, not inconsistent when viewed that way @DeadMan.

I realize the line is defined kind of differently but I’m telling you how you can remember it.

Not too dissimilar to the "foul pole" on a baseball field.  We refer to it as such, since it delineates fair from foul but the pole itself is fair.

Perhaps if we started calling it the "inbounds line" or "inbounds stakes" it would be more clear. 🙂

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5 minutes ago, Golfingdad said:

Perhaps if we started calling it the "inbounds line" or "inbounds stakes" it would be more clear. 🙂

But then, to be consistent, the entire line would have to be in bounds, just as the painted Penalty Area line is in the Penalty Area, a painted GUR line is in the GUR.  That's not how the OB line is defined, the entire line is OB.  We may just have to remember that OB is different from the other "divisions" on the golf course.

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Dave

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I have a quetion about the "Relief" ?

I may be old school, but I thought "when a player takes his drop, both the ball and the player must be 
completely outside a penalty area"?

An example: The players foot is standing on a painted line marking the penalty area while taking his stroke.
OR, the players foot is in the penalty area while taking his stroke.
Is this allowed?

For some reason I feel this situation was changed awhile back which allows a players stance to be in a penalty area?

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21 minutes ago, Club Rat said:

I have a quetion about the "Relief" ?

I may be old school, but I thought "when a player takes his drop, both the ball and the player must be 
completely outside a penalty area"?

An example: The players foot is standing on a painted line marking the penalty area while taking his stroke.
OR, the players foot is in the penalty area while taking his stroke.
Is this allowed?

For some reason I feel this situation was changed awhile back which allows a players stance to be in a penalty area?

You can stand in a penalty area to play a ball outside of it even after taking relief.

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