Monday, February 7, 2011
Why Players Mark With Tees, and Why Australian Officials Should Know This
If you haven't heard, there was another rules dispute down in Australia this weekend. It involved some popular names on the LPGA, and, to be quite frank, was really idiotic by the Golf Australia officials.
I'll set up the situation for you. Karrie Webb marked her ball with a golf tee during her Saturday round, and after, was accused of cheating by officials. That is, well, very wrong.
You see, professional golfers don't normally use a tee to mark their balls when you're watching it on television, but when they have lengthy putts of 40 or 50 feet (or longer), they'll sometimes put a tee behind the mark so they can see where the ball is when they go to read the putt from the other side of the hole. It makes sense, obviously. Sometimes you can't see a marker when you're that far away, or if there is undulation or what not to harbor your view.
Australian officials didn't really get this, and it took playing partner Christina Kim to help Webb out of that mess.
''I think it was really badly handled, actually,'' Webb said. ''They didn't check at first. They told me I'd breached a rule but they couldn't tell me which rule I'd breached. Then, after I came in and finished my playing partner's scorecard, they asked me why I do it. That's why it was handled poorly. I was trying to get what ruling I could have breached. They couldn't tell me what ruling because it wasn't in the decisions book and it wasn't in the Rules of Golf.
''They said they called the R&A [The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews], and then I asked [playing partner] Christina Kim how many people on the LPGA put a tee behind the ball, and she said: 'About 70 per cent.' That was the end the issue. I don't know why Christina Kim's word was taken more than mine.''
So, yes, everyone, tees are used by pros. No, it isn't because they don't have a coin in their pockets (or on their hat, if you're talking about the LPGA) like your weekend hacker, it's because they are using it as a helpful tool to help them score the best possible.
The fact that nobody Down Under got that is rather embarrassing.