Sports Outside the Beltway

Tiger Woods to be fined for criticism of official

This for comments he made after winning last weekend’s Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio. From AP-

Tiger Woods will be fined by the PGA Tour for his public criticism of a rules official after winning the Bridgestone Invitational, a tour official said Monday.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the tour does not publicize fines.

They certainly don’t. Tour player Jonathan Kaye was suspended from the tour for two months for a 2001 incident. A security guard wouldn’t allow Kaye entrance to the player locker room without seeing his player ID badge. At some point Kaye attached the badge to his zipper or something else would caused the guard to take offense. Kaye was fined and suspended from playing the PGA Tour for two months.

Woods was bothered after his four-shot victory Sunday because he and Padraig Harrington were put on the clock at the par-5 16th. He said that caused Harrington to rush three difficult shots, leading to triple bogey.

Harrington is the defending PGA Champion this weekend in Minnesota. He also won back to back British Opens in 2007 and 2008.

Honestly a player as good as Harrington shouldn’t allow a rules official to ruin his tournament. It is an excuse in my opinion.

European Tour chief referee John Paramor told Woods and Harrington they were being timed.

Woods said he told Harrington after it was over, “I’m sorry that John got in the way of a great battle.”

Paramor said the final pairing was well behind most of the back nine, but officials gave them time to catch up. They were still 17 minutes out of position on the 16th tee, when they were put on the clock.

Woods and Harrington had the entire par 5 16th hole, Firestone’s signature hole, to themselves. The hole measures well over 600 yards.

The PGA Tour has rarely taken slow play seriously. To be truthful, no player has gotten a meaningful penalty in over a decade. This is unlike the LPGA Tour who has shown no hesitancy giving out two stroke penalties to even to players in contention. Angela Park was penalized two strokes during the final round of a 2008 Hawaiian tournament where she eventually finished fifth three shots behind the winner.

Were Harrington and Woods out of position on the course? Yes, without a doubt. That the PGA Tour doesn’t enforce its slow play policy doesn’t mean the official was wrong in his actions. Ryan at Waggleroom gets it right

Selective enforcement of the Rules of Golf is unacceptable. Just because the final group had no chasers, were Tiger and Paddy, and were playing for a huge first prize check does not mean that the rules should be ignored. Play slow and the players involved should be penalized.

Timeliness is a part of golf, but many players seem to ignore that part of the rule book – including Woods and Harrington. When the press questioned JB Holmes in 2008 about his lethargic manner around the course, Holmes best summed up the attitude of many players when he said, ““A lot of old habits kick in when you’re under pressure. You’re playing for $1 million. If somebody thinks I’m slow, or taking long, I don’t care. … I would rather be slow and win than rush something, hit a bad shot and not win.”

That kind of attitude is why players should be put on the clock. They should not be allowed to disrespect the rules governing the sport just because of the money on the line. Players should not get a free pass just because of their name.

No one, including Harrington and Woods, should be above the rules. I have said that before. Woods open criticism was also wrong, and under Tour rules makes him subject to a fine for what he said. The PGA Tour is again right. The rules if they are have any meaning are to be enforced against all players and under any circumstances.

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