September 14, 2008

Scoring Tent Screw-ups...

There are a few "absolutes" in the universe, such as golf balls travel less far over water, Don Kings hair defies gravity and people will complain about scoring after a golf tournament. In fact, if you look at where most people screw up, its in the scoring tent.

Need proof?

Michelle Wie failing to sign her score card in a "timely manner" and getting DQd (disqualified) from the State Farm Classic cost her more than money. It more than likely cost her the chance to earn her LPGA playing card, so now she has to go through Q-School (Qualifying School) which is a certifiable nightmare.

Other notable players have screwed up in the scoring tent as well. Remember the legendary example of Roberto DeVicenzo?

Roberto is best remembered for his misfortune in the 1968 Masters. On the par four 17th hole, he made a birdie, but playing partner Tommy Aaron inadvertently entered a four instead of three on the scorecard.

DeVicenzo did not check the scorecard for the error before signing it, and according to the Rules of Golf the higher score had to stand and be counted. If not for this mistake, DeVicenzo would have tied for first place with Bob Goalby, and the two would have met in an 18-hole playoff the next day.

His quote afterwards became famous for its simplicity: "What a stupid I am!"

However, as every cloud has a silver lining, or at least zinc, in 1970, he was voted the Bob Jones Award, the highest honour given by the United States Golf Association (USGA) in recognition of distinguished sportsmanship in golf.

Imagine that, the entire world watches you win and knows the score, the officials know the score, but in your elation you sign an incorrect score card and get DQd.

Is there any justice in that kind of idiocy?

Yes, because the over-riding principle in golf is that each player must accept responsibility for their actions. This includes everything from booking a tee time, showing up on time, accepting bad shots as well as good shots and, of course, counting the score accurately.

Remember, golf is one of the only games in the world where players are required to call penalties on themselves.

Of course you know this is leading somewhere, dont you?

Last week, there was a local tournament in which there was a hue and cry about what they deemed to be an "incorrect score", which is actually commonplace in club tournaments, but in this case, all parties concerned got it wrong due to a huge misconception.

What most people fail to understand is that the 9-hole totals and the overall total do not mean anything when it comes to the scoring table. The ONLY important information recorded on the score card is what numbers are put into each hole score box and two signatures (player and marker) attesting the score is correct.

It is the scoring committee who will determine what the final totals are.

Unfortunately, most people look at the sub totals and sign their scorecards based on that information instead of actually checking each hole score and thats where the trouble starts.

If I had a dollar for every score card with incorrect sub totals, Id be so rich I could retire to Dalat and spend my remaining days driving Scott Dedo up a wall with ridiculous demands at his golf course Dalat Palace.

During the course of a day doing handicaps, I would estimate that at least 30 per cent of the score cards deposited for handicap purposes have something wrong with them, usually the totals because nobody bothered to check the totals.

Heres the funny part

Most of these players who dont bother to check are high ranking CEOs and whats funnier is that its usually the caddie who is writing the scores and, possibly costing them money in the bets because they totalled it incorrectly.

This is a universal problem and can be summed up with the phrase, "you dont hire rocket scientists for two dollars a day."

So, the bottom line is that the player must accept responsibility for their scores and, thus, should take the time to ensure the hole scores match the sub totals. Otherwise, they can lose more than a tournament.

They can lose their pride too.

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