For recreational golfers, frustration can lead to some embarrassing behavior on the course. But for Tour pros the consequences can be severe, especially in a major when the stakes are so high. Pun intended.
On Friday at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, anger over a bad shot began a series of events that led to veteran Lee-Anne Pace’s disqualification from the tournament.
It all started eight holes into her round Friday at Kemper Lakes Golf Club. Pace shanked a wedge shot, and the disappointment got the best of her, causing her to slam the offending club into a hazard stake.
Pace didn’t realize at the time that the stake had damaged the hosel of her club. It was only after using the wedge again a few holes later in the round that Pace discovered the problem. She quickly called in a Rules official, and tournament officials encouraged her to continue playing while they reviewed the situation.
But the 37-year-old veteran knew better. Rule 4-3b of the official Rules of Golf (Damage Other Than in Normal Course of Play) states that if “a player’s club is damaged other than in the normal course of play rendering it non-conforming or changing its playing characteristics, the club must not subsequently be used or replaced during the round.”
The penalty for such a violation? DQ.
Instead of waiting for the inevitable decision from the powers-that-be, Pace decided right then to put her clubs back in her bag and walk off the course.
Pace, who is from South Africa, is a regular on the European tour where she has won nine times. Her only official LPGA victory came at the 2014 Blue Bay LPGA.