2010 was a busy year for high-profile Rules quandaries on the PGA Tour. This year is already following form. The culprit: Camilo Villegas. The setting: the first round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Maui, where Villegas illegally flicked away a divot on the 15th hole. The result: disqualification. Only this episode has a new twist, and what is certainly a PGA Tour first: the violation was reported on Twitter by a fan watching from home. Roughly 18 hours ago, DaveAndrews723 (whose Twitter bio lists him as a freelance golf writer) tweeted:
"Rules violation??? Camilo Villegas on the 15th hole moved a piece of turf (loose divot) as his ball was rolling back towards him. Penalty??"
The Orlando Sentinel
Villegas watched video to confirm the penalty and did not protest. Making it worse, Friday is his 29th birthday.
Playing a bump-and-run approach to the uphill 15th green at Kapalua, Villegas watched as his ball didn’t get all the way to the crest and began rolling back to him. While the ball was rolling, the former UF standout casually reached down with his club and flicked away some loose turf.
However, Rule 23-1 states that “a loose impediment that might influence the movement of the ball must not be removed.” Penalty: Two strokes. As it turned out, the ball veered away a few feet from where the clump of turf laid. However, no one could have known that when Villegas flicked it away.
@dougferguson405 Oh, by the way: Happy Birthday, Camilo. He turns 29 today. Saw him at breakfast. Handling this with a little humor and a lot of class.
@dougferguson405 Worst part of this: More of the same, tired debates on TV viewers that will break no new ground. This is TV era and has been for awhile.
@AlanShipnuck Hey, if he broke a rule and signed an incorrect card, he’ll get what he deserves. I think golf fans being able to report violations is cool.
@AlanShipnuck It proves how smart and engaged golf fans are and is unique to the sport.
@AlanShipnuck Is having fans report violations a perfect system? No, but it's all we got. For now.
Press your blazer—the USGA is hiring taking casting calls
“We plan to conduct a thorough search that includes both internal and external candidates, and hope to have a new executive director in place within the next three to four months.”
Snooki Being John Daly The Jersey Shore: Far Hills This guy
Do you know your Steinberg-speak? Vanity Fair had some fun with news of Tiger’s latest sponsorship deal gone sour (Golf Digest). Here’s a clever quiz VF’s web site posted to “see if you can match each of Woods’s dropped sponsors with [agent Mark] Steinberg’s subsequent statements.” Good luck. I failed miserably…
4. Golf Digest
A. “[Redacted] is ending their ‘Champions’ campaign. That is the reason for not continuing.”
B. “The reality is his deal was up at the end of the year.”
C. “[Redacted] has made a decision to not continue with their sponsorship. We are disappointed but respect their decision.”
D. “While we are disappointed [redacted] has decided to not continue with Tiger in their marketing plans, we appreciate their continued involvement with Tiger through his foundation.”
E. No comment.
1. D, 2. A, 3. E, 4. B, 5. C