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Brian Davis at the Heritage

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

This event raises lots of questions.  Kudos to Mr. Davis for reporting the possible foul on his backswing.  Incidentally, as I watched on CBS, the announcers didn't exactly make it clear that the two-stroke penalty had been called, until Davis was taking his last futile putt.

First question:  If Davis had not called the official over, and the foul was later spotted on tape, would he have been disqualified?  Or would they have assessed the penalty retroactively, which would have meant nothing unless he had made that 30-foot putt to keep the playoff going?  Then he would still get second prize. It wouldn't seem fair to disqualify him, since it wasn't an obvious violation.
post #2 of 6
There are a handful of rules that apply. Once he signed his scorecard at the end of 72 holes and it was accepted by the officials, he is fully entitled to 2nd place money no matter what happens during the playoff. My thinking is the TV announcers were not aware of the penalty being called by the player against himself.

For sure, he should have consulted with a rules official prior to making his third shot. That he called for an official so quickly after the shot, leads me to believe he was aware that he could not cause anything to be moved on his backswing. He knows the rules concerning being in a lateral water hazzard. Of interest is that there have been many times where a violation occurred and was captured on TV. The public, tv crews, PGA officials watch the same TV as you and I so I'm positive that someone would have caught this in replay and the rules officials will start the process of talking to him about what happened. They would have brought him into a TV area and made it clear he was wrong.

I think he was caught between a rock and a hard place. No pro wants to have their integrity questioned in a playoff and face consequent disqualification. He did the right thing and good for him. Tough way to end it though.
post #3 of 6
Brian did exactly the proper thing. I didn't see the video but from what I understand this was the critical issue.

He could have touched the grass in the hazard on his backswing-note to rule 13-4:

"Note: At any time, including at address or in the backward movement for the stroke, the player may touch, with a club or otherwise, any obstruction, any construction declared by the Committee to be an integral part of the course or any grass, bush, tree or other growing thing."

However, he cannot touch a loose impediment which is what he did:

"Loose Impediments
"Loose impediments" are natural objects including:

· stones, leaves, twigs, branches and the like,
· dung, and
· worms, insects and the like, and the casts and heaps made by them,

provided they are not:

· fixed or growing,
· solidly embedded, or
· adhering to the ball."

It is a definitive line whether they are fixed and growing vs. loose. Some would say the rule is unfair but what if you swept a loose pine cone out of the way on your backswing-that's just another loose impediment-where do you draw the line.

Kudos to Brian for doing what he did. In golf we are the umpires and expected to uphold the integrity of the game and rules without referees or umpires. Rules officials are there to help us when there is doubt.

post #4 of 6
Without getting into the techno jargon, I just thought Davis handled himself marvelously.  When Slugger White mentioned moving the loose impediment and the 2 stroke penalty, Davis simply said "OK" and moved on.  What a pro and what a level of outright class!
post #5 of 6
Last year on the Saturday of the Travelers Championship I played at Rockledge GC in West Hartford and was paired with a guy and his son.  Turns out the father was Steve Hulka, Brian Davis' caddie.  Brian had missed the cut and Steve was getting in a little golf himself before heading for the next tour stop.  Steve has carried bags for tour players since the 70s with a long stint with David Graham.  It was fascinating asking questions about life on tour.  He gave me a Srixon ball that Brian had used that week a the TPC in Cromwell.  I have to admit I didn't know much about Brian but I've followed his progress since.  It was cool to see him (and Steve) in the hunt on Sunday.  It sure is nice to see that integrity still has a place in the sport.  I posted a congratulatory note on Steve's Facebook page and noted that legions of fans were applauding Brian's strict adherence to the rules. 

I hope to run into both of them at the Travelers this summer.  Brian will certainly get a warm reception from the fans.
post #6 of 6
Did you see who's tied for the lead today at the Heritage?  Go Brian!!!!
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