Harrington DQ'ed in Abu Dhabi

2011-01-21 10:15

Abu Dhabi - Padraig Harrington was on Friday disqualified from the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship for signing a wrong card in his seven under par first round of 65.

Harrington's tournament came to a premature end after a television viewer alerted European Tour officials to a possible rules infringement by the Irishman on the seventh green.

While marking his ball on the green during Thursday's opening round Harrington's fingers inadvertently brushed the ball, which moved by an almost indiscernible distance, but enough to show up on the high-definition telecast.

After reviewing the tapes along with Harrington, the world No 26 accepted the punishment.

Harrington, who took the bitter pill with remarkable calmness, said: "I clearly remember on the seventh green yesterday (Thursday) when I was picking the coin up, I touched the ball.

"At that moment I established that the ball hadn't moved.

"I was well aware that I touched it, so I checked that the Titleist logo with which I align my ball was still in the same position pointing toward the target. I was quite comfortable that the ball had not moved.

"This morning I came in and watched it on the TV. I think with an unbiased view of it, I would comfortably say 99 per cent, the ball moved three dimples forward and moved back a dimple, a dimple and a half.

"It looks like it's moved, so I'm happy it has. I think it's fair enough that the penalty is there on the face of it.

The incident was reminiscent of the Colombian Camilo Villegas' disqualification from the season-opening PGA Tour event in Hawaii a fortnight back.

The three-time Major champion was disqualified under Rule 6-6d (signing an incorrect scorecard) following the breach of Rule 20 3a, which states: "If a ball or ball-marker is accidentally moved in the process of placing or replacing the ball, the ball or ball-marker must be replaced.

"There is no penalty, provided the movement of the ball or ball-marker is directly attributable to the specific act of placing or replacing the ball or removing the ball-marker.

"Otherwise, the player incurs a penalty of one stroke under Rule 18-2a or 20-1."

Andy McFee, European Tour Senior Referee, said: "But the ball must be replaced. Now, in this case, the ball wasn't replaced. So the penalty for breach of that rule is two stroke, and the problem is that Padraig's card for the 7th shows a three.

"The fact that Padraig was totally unaware that his ball has moved doesn't unfortunately help him, and the disqualification is for signing for the wrong score, lower than actually taken."

Harrington argued that the rules should not change, although, the governing bodies should have a look at the penalty being imposed on players.

"I would argue, though, in general, it does serve the game well that we have the best rules of any sport.

"They are applied across the board all the time. It's the one thing all golfers love about their sport is the fact that we can stand up and say, we have the best rules, we are the fairest, we call them on ourselves.

"I think in this situation and other situations like that, with the new technology, maybe going forward, that the penalties can be changed. But the actual rulings have to stay where they are."

Harrington's 65 had left him placed second, one shot behind South African leader Charl Schwartzel.


  • Wayne Guerin - 2011-01-21 11:06

    I think the DSQ sanction is petty, we are talking 2 or 3mm here? surely 2 shot penalty would have been sufficient?

      Bob - 2011-01-21 15:44

      Sorry Wayne this is profesional Golf we are talking about here, you can't just decide a 2 shot penaly seems about fair for this or that, that is the problem with amateur golf the guys are cheating all the time because they suddenly decide the penalty doesn't fit the crime so they decide to ignore it, rules are rules it is not for any of us to decide they are right or wrong.

  • reggievermeulen - 2011-01-21 11:29

    This is now the second time a viewer has noticed a infringment and had a player disqualified, as far as I am concerned its bullshit, as his maker nore any official noticed it, therefore he should continue, we see infringements been made in many sports but it up to the officials to notice, not some viewer to make that call, further Padraig is a honest golfer and if he thought the ball had not moved then so be it. "viewer you asshole"

      Rolie - 2011-01-21 17:13

      I know how you feel but rules are rules notwithstanding how the infringement was detected. Golf is an honourable game and Padraig has accepted his fate like the honourable golfer that he is. Viewership notification will not go away unless there are rules officials constantly watching for discrepancies and immediately addressing them.

  • Sportfan - 2011-01-21 11:31

    Sorry for Padraig, but rules are rules and him being a profesional he should've known better. What bothers me more is the fact that the match official Mcfee knew about the incident and decided to sleep on it?

  • Sportfan - 2011-01-21 11:35

    Sorry to Padraig, but rules are rules and him being a profesional he shouldv'e known better. What bothers me more is the the fact that the match official Mcfee knew about this and decided to sleep on it?

  • Lyndon - 2011-01-21 11:44

    HIs disqualification was because he signed the incorrect scorecard. Golf does have some petty rules. Imagine a viewer picking up a forward pass in a rugby match, calling in, and then the try gets cancelled. If the officials, who are monitoring play doesn't pick it up, that should be the end of it. On a 20 foot putt, 3 dimples won't make a difference anyway. But then again, rules are rules irrespective of how silly they might be.

  • roboman1 - 2011-01-21 12:48

    I agree that this is a bit rough. Maybe a 4 shot penalty

  • roboman1 - 2011-01-21 12:59

    well, except for the fact that it was Harrington, maybe DSQ is OK. He plays sooooo slow

  • Bob - 2011-01-21 15:45

    oops before I get picked on Professional

  • pages:
  • 1