Monday, May 2, 2011
Webb Simpson is Mad, But He Shouldn't Be
Raise your hand if you've played golf for over a decade and haven't encountered a rule in the game that you thought was dumb? Umm, anyone? Hello?!?
That's my point here. The rules of golf can be really, really stupid at times. That's why they're the rules of golf. We play on different courses all around the world, all the time, with different rough and greens and hazards and decision-making. It's the only game that does this. Not tennis, not football, not baseball, not even cricket. It's the game that is completely different each week.
So when Webb Simpson was handed a shot penalty on Sunday at the Zurich Classic, you felt for the guy. He was leading the tournament. He had just lagged a putt from Baton Rouge up to about eight inches, and was looking to make another par and keep his one shot lead over Bubba Watson. The ball moved as he grounded his putter behind the ball, and that is a penalty, no matter how you look at it. There is a reason Jack Nicklaus said he never grounded his putter behind the ball. There is always a chance it'll move, especially when it is sitting on a downhill lie on fast greens.
This is what Simpson said about the penalty.
"The problem with the rule is you get greens like this that they get pretty bare, almost like this table top, wind's blowing," Simpson said afterward. "Balls can wiggle and move so easily."
"The unfortunate thing, and the reason I don't think it's a good rule, is [that] golf is supposedly the last gentleman's game," he said. "There is so much on the player to call the penalty on themselves. When wind or other natural things affect the golf ball, the player shouldn't be penalized."
Well now Webb, we undertand you're upset, but come on, this shouldn't be a penalty? The ball moved when you placed your putter on the ground! You knew the greens were fast. You should have waited until the ball had completely stopped rolling, and you didn't, and while it sucks or you that this is the case, it is still part of the rules.
It's funny this didn't happen to anyone else all day. To me, that's a red flag, and to me, this rule should stick. It's unfortunate when it happens, but it is the game of golf.