After consulting Friday with Ben Crane and the USGA, Web.com Tour officials decided to disqualify Crane from the Web.com Tour’s Albertson’s Boise Open for playing with a non-conforming club for two holes.
The vice president of rules and competition, Jim Duncan, said in a statement that Crane had discovered Trackman stickers on both his driver and 6-iron on the 11th hole. Although he removed the driver from play immediately, he didn't pull the 6-iron from his bag until No. 14.
"He came back this morning and said he knew he had the 6-iron. He's got to make a declaration that that club is out of play," Duncan said. "Either to a member of the committee, which he could've told (rules official) Andrew Miller, or to one of his fellow playing competitors. When he didn't make that declaration, at the point he knew he had to take that club out of play, that's ultimately a disqualification penalty."
Crane is playing in the Web.com Tour Finals after finishing 147th in the final PGA Tour FedEx Cup standings. He can retain his Tour card by finishing among the top 25 players in the Finals, a four-event series of tournaments. He tied for sixth last week at the opening event, the Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship. Had he not been disqualified, he was still unlikely to make the cut—his opening 76 put him second-to-last.
In what Crane called a "that's golf" moment, he was penalized for the decals stuck to two of his clubs at the Albertsons Boise Open, the PGA Tour reports.
"Tournament golf is pretty challenging but it's REALLY difficult when you've accumulated 12 strokes before hitting your second tee shot," Crane wrote on Twitter. Crane was carrying a driver and 6-iron with decals that help launch monitors collect data stuck to them. He did not use them in the tournament, but carrying the non-conforming clubs was enough to saddle him with two four-shot penalties. Actually using the clubs would have resulted in disqualification.
Because Crane noticed the decals on each club at separate times, he was penalized once for each infraction. The Web.com Tour stood by its call.
“As usually is the case when applying a penalty this big, you want to confirm your interpretation of the ruling. We conferred as a committee and also with the USGA about not only the decal but whether or not the penalty would be the same breach of the same rule or separate breaches of the same rule," said Jim Duncan, Web.com Tour Vice President of Rules, Competition and Administration.
Had a new "that's golf" moment today. Was penalized 8 shots for having tiny stickers on two clubs (help launch monitors collect data).— Ben Crane (@bencranegolf) September 15, 2017