Bathroom break leads to disqualification, rules dispute at U.S. Open sectional qualifier

June 6, 2019

A disqualification from a U.S. Open sectional qualifier in Maryland has resulted in a rules dispute between the player and the USGA over what really happened.

Skyler Fox was DQ’d between rounds at his first career sectional qualifier Monday at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Mary, according to a report from Andy Kostka of Golf Week. According to Kostka, Fox was struggling with a headache during his first round, and shortly after finishing his initial 18 (sectional qualifying is 36 holes) he went straight to the bathroom to take some medicine.

That decision was against Rule 3.3b(2), which calls for players to visit the scorer’s table “promptly” after completing a round. According to the USGA, Fox only returned after lunch some 15 minutes later. Fox’s father, Joe, disputed that, saying his son couldn’t wait and had to visit the bathroom, returning after 10 minutes.

According to the report, the dispute became an argument, but it followed a period of time where officials were looking for Fox. When he returned, according to the local golf officials, there was no headache mentioned. USGA Rules director Craig Winter said that apparent relief from illness would have potentially changed the ruling.

“They told me I was disqualified because I didn’t get to the scoring table in time, which made no sense,” Fox told Golfweek. “I was pretty upset. I mean, there was a good chance I wasn’t going to make it [to the U.S. Open]. I was going to have to shoot really low. But I wanted to go out there and put a respectable score up.”

Fox had shot 78 in that first round, but that would later become nullified.

“He probably would’ve been mid-pack, and for a 16-year-old, that’s a lot to be said,” Joe Fox said. “So, it was interesting. But you’ve got to take life’s bumps as they come, I guess.”

You can read the full write-up from Golf Week here.

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