The Rules Guy's take on Wie's penalty
The Rules Guy couldn't help but notice that Michelle Wie has
started to make a habit out of running afoul of the Rules of Golf, especially when it comes to playing out of hazards. During her Sunday round at the Kia Classic, Wie found herself with a precarious lie near the water on the 11th hole. After unsuccessfully trying to get the ball out of the hazard, Wie grounded her wedge, landing her a 2-stroke penalty under Rule 13-4.
When confronted by a Rules official two holes later, Wie
claimed that she had grounded the club in order to maintain her balance, a perfectly reasonable exception to Rule 13-4. Wie makes a good point that the Rules officials never asked her why she grounded the club, but officials can't be expected to be everywhere all the time. Reviewing Golf Channel's video replay, there is no doubt that the ruling was correctly made and enforced.
While Wie was in an awkward stance, she was not off-balance at any
time during or after her swing. Ironically, if Wie had leaned a little harder on her club she could have made the argument that she was preparing to exit the water using her club as a cane, another exception provided by Decision 13-4/3.5. While I'm sure the Rules official wouldn't have held it against her, it's worth noting that Wie has not earned much benefit of the doubt after a similarly ill-timed hazard violation at the Women's British Open in 2006, after which she described the Rules of Golf as "not actually great reading material." I suppose Ms. Wie and I will just have to agree to disagree.
As a side note, this is a penalty often committed
and not properly enforced by amateur players, who forget that grounding a club outside of an actual body of water, but still within
the marked stakes, constitutes grounding a club in a hazard. Remember, just because your club doesn't get wet doesn't mean you've gotten away clean.What's your take on Wie's explanation? Tell us here.