Saturday, February 8, 2014

D.A. Points' Spongy Ball

     Well, leave it to the AT&T to have another interesting week.  We FINALLY got some rain in California and it couldn't have come at a better time...except for the AT&T.  That isn't what has become newsworthy however, as late Friday came word of a disqualification penalty.
    D.A. Points was disqualified for a breach of Rule 14-3 when he took at a green spongy ball used as a training aid while waiting on the 18th tee at Pebble Beach.  On second thought, if you're going to be disqualified, there is probably no worse place to break the Rules, right?  While players are permitted to use their normal equipment in such a fashion because it is traditionally accepted (the head cover under the arm is a popular drill on tour) the use of unusual equipment in such a manner is a breach of Rule 14-3 just like using a weighted donut during a stipulated round (see Decisions 14-3/10, 14-3/10.3 and 14-3/10.5 for examples).
    What is really interesting is how the pro-am aspect is being handled.  I completely understand the politics of allowing the pro-am partners to continue playing (lots of money involved and you don't want to worry about finding a marker to fill the other half of the pairing), but Rule 31-7 is pretty clear that for a breach by one partner of Rule 14-3, the entire side is disqualified.  So really, D.A. Points and Condoleezza Rice should be disqualified as a team from the competition.  Instead, they have a local pro (pretty decent player I might add) playing with Rice for the pro-am portion today.  That's something I have never heard of.  Again, I understand, and in the same situation I probably would have allowed Points and Rice to play the third round together but only as playing markers.  It is extremely odd to not only allow the pro-am team to continue, but to substitute a player as well.
UPDATE:  The local pro subbed for Briny Baird who had withdrawn.  The Tour permitted Points to play on Saturday in the team competition.  Still an odd situation.
    Now as I'm writing play has been suspended for a non-dangerous situation because part of Pebble Beach has become unplayable due to the wind.  What is interesting about this, is that because one course is unplayable, all three courses must suspend play.  Part of the logistics of a three-course event like the AT&T Pro-Am is that when it comes to suspending play, resuming play and starting times, what you do on one course, you must do at all three.

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