Friday, January 7, 2011

Nothing Like a Rules Violation To Start the New Year

Last season will be remembered as the Year of the Rules Violation, with the highlight coming at the PGA Championship when Dustin Johnson mistakingly grounded his club in a bunker on the 72nd hole to miss out on his first major championship. That event was just one of several rules violations/controversies in '10, but guess what, we're starting off '11 the same way.

Geoff Shackelford posted the above video of Camilo Villegas on the 15th hole. After going for the green in two, Villegas found himself in a very tough spot, and it took him three pitches to get the ball out of this little area. After his second attempt, a lower pitch that started to come back at him, Villegas randomly moved an old divot. It was probably more out of frustration than anything, but as Shackelford points out, that's a clear violation of rule 23-1, which states, "When a ball is in motion, a loose impediment that might influence the movement of the ball must not be removed."

I was watching this as it happened, and immediately thought something was up. With video that clear, it is most likely that Villegas will be disqualified from his first event of the year.

The saddest part? He was handeling the meltdown about as good as you can, smiling to his caddie as he tried different chip shots.

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