PGA Tour comes to its senses in wake of Jim Furyk DQ
Relatively speaking, the PGA Tour’s decision to modify the rule that disqualified Jim Furyk from the Barclays PGA Tour playoff event last week came in lightening speed. Usually these sorts of things have to be mulled over in committee meetings, debated to death, and then tabled for a later meeting before action is taken.
But in this case, common sense prevailed quickly, and if Furyk oversleeps again during a pro-am this year, he won’t automatically be sent packing. Fortunately, Furyk’s standing in the FedEx Cup standings was high enough that he was already eligible for this week’s Deutsche Bank Championship at the TPC of Boston. Still, to lose out on a potential million-dollar prize and the opportunity to enhance his chances at the FedEx Cup was a steep price to pay last week. He dropped from third a week ago to eighth this week.
The rule was apparently implemented a few years ago to prevent players from skipping out on pro-ams, which had become a problem. Furyk clearly wasn’t trying to skip out; his cell phone alarm simply didn’t work. It was also unfair considering less than half the field was playing in the pro-am. That means that the rule couldn’t even apply to most of the players.
The spirit of the rule is understandable, though. Folks pay a small fortune to play in PGA Tour pro-ams, and even though for most of them it’s a drop in the bucket, they are still entitled to have their day. Which is why blowing off a pro-am will still mean disqualification. And players who are late will be subject to additional sponsor obligations.
And it should be noted that correcting this wrong has nothing to do with the Rules of Golf. In other words, changing the rules on grounding a club in the hazard in the wake of Dustin Johnson’s unfortunate violation at the PGA Championship doesn’t fall in the same category. Same goes with the ruling that disqualified Juli Inkster for a using a training aid to loosen up in the middle of a round at the Safeway Classic recently.
Furyk’s transgression violated an unreasonable PGA Tour policy. The other two broke rules of the game, which may have seemed harsh in the above cases, but they have to be enforced without prejudice to protect the integrity of the game and the field.
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