Saturday, August 10, 2013

DQ at the Web.Com Price Cutter Charity Championship

            What follows is one of the more incredible DQ stories you may hear this year.
Matt Bettencourt was disqualified from the Tour event for signing for a score lower than he had actually received.  Since Bettencourt is a Northern California guy we were able to dig and find out the details.
            Bettencourt went into the scoring area and signed a scorecard for a 72, which gave him a 139 which was good enough to make the cut.  He returned his card and left the scoring area.  His fellow-competitor, Matt Davidson called him back into the scoring area to correct a score for the 13th hole.  Davidson had made a 3 and Bettencourt had written a 4.  Since Davidson had not left the scoring area or returned his card it could be corrected.  The volunteer scoring official handed Bettencourt a card back and he changed the 13th hole from a 4 to a 3, initialed it and left again.
            Bettencourt later looked online only to see that his score was listed as a 71 and not a 72.  He called and then returned to the course to find out what had happened.  It turned out, that the volunteer had handed him his own score card to be corrected instead of Davidson’s.  Both of them being a Matt, the volunteer had made an error in the card and as the scores were very similar, he failed to notice which Matt the score card belonged to.  The end ruling by the Tour officials was that Bettencourt was disqualified for signing for a lower score and Davidson (who actually shot 65) was stuck with the 4 he originally signed for.
            There are several issues with this ruling: first, if ever there was Committee error, this was it.  He came back to correct Davidson’s card, was handed a card by the scoring volunteer and corrected it.  He was not supposed to be correcting his own card.  But we can overlook that, perhaps Bettencourt should’ve checked the name twice. 
What I cannot overlook is that Bettencourt had returned his card to the Committee and had left the scoring area.  He had returned his card - and left the scoring area.  Rule 6-6c states specifically, “No alteration may be made on a score card after the competitor has returned it to the Committee.”  Furthermore, Decision 6-6c/1 tells us that a player “is considered to have returned his score card when he has left the scoring area.”  The alteration that Bettencourt made should not have been permitted and it should have been declared null and void.  He had signed and returned a correct card to the Committee, and the alteration should not have mattered.  In my opinion, (which believe it or not is decently respected), he should be playing this weekend. Ouch.

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