Speaking to Randall Mell of Golf Channel, Chen’s caddie, Alex Valer, said he wanted to set the record straight.
“It’s a mess,” Valer told Mell. “Doris did the wrong thing. I’m just trying to do the right thing, to be fair to all those players at Q-Series who have worked so hard for a whole year.”
Valer told Mell he was frustrated with Chen’s explanation of what happened off the 17th fairway at Pinehurst No. 7 on Friday. Chen played a ball that was moved from out of bounds to in bounds, and since she didn’t penalize herself before teeing off on the next hole she was disqualified. Several reports said it was her mother who moved her ball.
Chen, who sent out a lengthy note on Twitter on Sunday, also talked to Mell about what happened. She said a spectator eventually found her ball in pine needles next to a tree.
“A homeowner came to me and said she saw somebody kick the ball from a good lie to a bad lie,” Chen said. “She did not mention that the ball was out of bounds.”
Chen, however, wasn’t sure if the homeowner’s theory was accurate, mainly because the home wasn’t located directly near the ball. Chen also said she still thought she was allowed to play the ball without penalty.
“Apparently, the homeowner told the LPGA later that the ball was moved from out of bounds to in bounds,” Chen said. “I swear to God that is not what she told me. My caddie was a witness. He heard it.”
Valer says otherwise. He told Mell it was actually Chen’s mother who found the ball — even though Chen said her mother was farther up on the hole and “doesn’t know what happened.”
According to Valer, the homeowner pointed at Chen’s mother and said, “That person right there kicked your ball.”
Valer didn’t know if the ball was out of bounds before it was allegedly moved, but he told Chen they needed to call a rules official. She declined, and when he brought it up again later she told him to keep quiet about the details. Chen was later disqualified after the LPGA spoke to the homeowner and Valer.
“I’ve never been in a position like this before,” Valer said, “and I’m just trying to do what’s right.”