Friday, September 15, 2017

Ben Crane's 8 Penalty Strokes

                At the Boise Open, Ben Crane received a total of 8 penalty strokes and it had nothing to do with a scorecard mistake. Let’s take a closer look at the situation to see the Rules in action behind it:

The Violation (as a whole)
Crane first noticed that he had left the dot sticker (used to collect TrackMan data) on his driver on the 11th tee, and then later noticed at the 14th hole that he had left the dot sticker also on his 6-iron. Unfortunately, the dot stickers are external attachments and much like adhesive tape (see Decision 4-1/5) they render a club non-conforming when not removed. The good news for Crane, he only carried the non-conforming clubs, he did not use them.

The First Penalty
The penalty in stroke play for carrying, but not using a non-conforming club is two strokes for every hole at which the breach occurred with a maximum penalty of four strokes per round (Rule 4-1). When Crane discovered his driver in breach of the Rules he was between the play of two holes. The penalty statement for Rule 4-1 and 4-2 says a breach discovered between the play of two holes is deemed to have been discovered during play of the next hole, which means Crane was deemed to be in breach of Rule 4-1 for two holes. This resulted in two penalty strokes on his first hole (the 10th hole) AND his second hole (the 11th) for a total of four penalty strokes.  Furthermore, the club in breach of the Rules (his driver) had to be declared out of play for the rest of the round.

The Second Penalty
A few holes later on the 14th hole, Crane discovered that the dot sticker was also still on his 6-iron. This is considered a completely separate violation because of the new discovery.  For those who think this is harsh, look at it this way: when he discovered the dot on his driver he should have ensured that all his clubs were free of the dot stickers.  So Crane incurred two additional penalty strokes in each of his first two holes (the 10th and 11th holes) because those were the first two holes he was in violation. 

And again, he was required to declare the 6-iron out of play for the rest of his round.
So the end result is that Crane incurred a total of 8 penalty strokes that were incurred as two separate four penalty stroke situations and applied to the score card as four separate two-stroke penalties. I still say that may not be the worst of it, because he still had to play the remainder of his round – without a driver and 6-iron.


Crane doesn’t mention having to declare the clubs out of play in his interview, but that is what the Rules require if you ever find yourself in that situation.

UPDATE: Crane late talked to officials and explained that he was aware of the 6-iron dot sticker at the time he was dealing with the driver dot sticker. Since he failed to declare the 6-iron out of play immediately he was disqualified. The Tour's explanation that I tweeted ran a fairly good summary.

1 comment:

  1. Was he later DQ'd because it was discovered that he had used his 6 iron? Or did I get this part of the story wrong?
    Either way, thanks for the great explanation.

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