Sunday, September 22, 2013

Live from CordeValle: US Senior Women's Amateur Stroke Play Rounds

            The first two rounds of the 2013 USGA Senior Women’s Amateur are complete at CordeValle and I really need to learn how they figured out how to get the cut to land at 64 players exactly…  No playoff necessary.  Impressive. 
            Also impressive is how quiet the first two rounds of my second USGA championship assignment have been.  All in all, I’ve given three rulings, despite being stationed on holes for 18 hours.

Day 1 – Hole 15

The 15th Hole from the Putting Green Looking Back
            The 15th hole at CordeValle is a straightforward but well-bunkered par-5 with virtually no trouble other than the bunkers.  No players managed to reach the green in two (and stay on) so it was a three-shot festival with only one ball ending somewhere other than a bunker or green grass – and she played it while standing on the path so there was no ruling.
On my way to 15, I ran into the Committee setting the Hole Location on the 17th hole.

            My first ruling came with about five groups left to play and I noticed the wave coming from the putting green.  There was a dime-sized bump about an inch from the hole directly on the line of two players.  They asked if it was a ball mark.  Unfortunately, it was clear to me that the mark was not created by the impact of a ball and it certainly had nothing to do with an old hole plug, so Rule 16-1c did not permit the players to repair it.  It appeared to be a raised turf mark made by a soft spike.  Both players made their putt.
            The second ruling was for an unplayable ball, also near the putting green.  The player had bladed her shot from the bunker over the putting green into the tall grass.  I probably would have played it, but the player is the sole judge as to whether a ball is unplayable.  She had me go through the options, debated briefly and dropped under 28c (within two club-lengths not nearer the hole).  The first drop was in play and that was that.

            Two holes earlier on the golf course, Ryan Gregg had a far busier day including one interesting situation where a player did not want to identify her ball.  Her provisional ball was sitting pretty and one of the volunteer spotters had identified her ball immediately.  The player did not want to lose the option of playing the provisional so she did not want to identify it.  Decision 27-2/2 tells us that we have to tell the player that the original has been found, and Decision 27-2c/2 tells us that the player is required to inspect the ball believed to be the original.  Those who read the blog know that Ryan Gregg already knew this fact, yet he properly still got on the radio and confirmed the ruling with the Committee.

            Another interesting ruling went against the defending champion Ellen Port.  With the Local Rule for transportation in effect for caddies (players may ride, caddies may not), while making the turn Port’s caddie ran to the parking lot to grab something from the car.  On the way back a parking lot attendant gave the caddie a lift back to the 10th hole.  Two strokes later, Port made a brief plea that the caddie did not ride in a player cart and that it was a CordeValle staff person who gave the caddie the ride.  That was unfortunately not a good argument to get her off the hook.  It should be noted that Port still made the cut with plenty of room to spare.

Day 2 – Hole 7

The 7th Hole from the Putting Green 
            The only ruling I managed to make while working the par-3 7th hole was on my way back from the rest room on the 6th hole!  A player was searching for a ball in and along a lateral water hazard and so I headed that direction to assist.  It was a fairly typical 26-1c ruling, except I made sure we had a consensus between the player and a fellow-competitor on where the ball last crossed the margin.  Once the consensus was reached, the player marked the spot, measured two club-lengths and dropped.  The only notable thing about the ruling is that the dropped ball bounced closer to the hole when it first bounced, however it did not come to rest closer to the hole than where the original had last crossed the margin of the hazard.  Therefore, it did not require a re-drop under Rule 20-2c.

This Little Guy and Some of his Friends Have Joined Us at CordeValle

            Tomorrow is an exciting day because it is my first USGA assignment as a Referee.  I was diligent enough to re-read my instructions for announcing and the referee guidelines given in our Rules handbook.  While it will make for a better read if I screw something up, I’m hoping for another quiet day in the match between Tanna Richard and Kathleen Kolar.

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