Every competitive golfer has been assessed penalty strokes at one time or another. I definitely have collected my share penalty strokes, but never any after my round was completed. Over the past decade, many professional golfers were assessed penalty strokes after their round was completed by the PGA Tour Officials. They have reexamined a situation and deemed that the player committed a rules infraction and as a result awarded extra strokes prior to the start of the next round. Cam Smith experienced this calamity last weekend during the St Jude Classic.
Prior to the third round on the weekend, Cam Smith was assessed a two-stroke penalty for not taking full relief. His ball was touching the hazard line and hence did not take full relief. Here is what the PGA Tour released:
I am not challenging the fact that Cam Smith broke the rule, but how the strokes were administered. If this situation was an issue, were was the on course official or Smith’s playing partner. They should have noticed the issue right there and then and made the call. An after the fact call is not acceptable is my opinion. This is one of the specific instances where I believe that the PGA Tour is failing.
Once the scorecard is signed and the PGA Tour feels that Cam Smith intentionally broke the rule, then he should be DQ’d. I know this sounds harsh, but that is the way the rule was originally written when someone signs an incorrect score card. Tiger Woods changed that rule, but that is a different story. Cam Smith dropped six positions on the last day; he may not have won even without the two-stroke penalty, but I would venture to say that mentally he was gutted after being assessed the penalty on the first tee before round four.
I am not a supporter of “after the fact” assessing of penalties. I perceive it as bad form and should not be part of golfer. Assess the penalty before the end of the round or let it go. Thoughts?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!