In the wake of the Padraig Harrington and Camilo Villegas disqualifications, Tim Finchem has asked the USGA for a review of the rules. According to the New York Times, Finchem spoke with reporters before the Farmers Insurance Open:
“Based on the two situations in recent weeks, we are re-articulating our concern to the USGA,” Finchem told reporters at Torrey Pines ahead of this week’s Farmers Insurance Open.
“And I’ve spoken at length to the European Tour a couple of times in the last 10 days, and they also are joining with us in questioning this rule. When I say question it we are asking for a full and thorough review of the rule…”
Finchem said simply penalizing a player two shots retroactively would perhaps be adequate in cases where a player had no knowledge he had violated a rule and that violation came to light only after the round.
I think the solution isn’t really that difficult. Players and their caddies should monitor each other. Walking officials should observe. If no objection has been raised by the time the card is signed, then there’s no violation. If the Tour wanted to extend it a bit, then there could be a half hour delay between the finish of a round and the signing of the card. That would give people time to call or tweet in with their observations, and give Tour officials time to act. But if the card is signed and no objection raised by those present on site, television viewers shouldn’t be allowed to tank a player after the fact.
Somehow, a fair game of golf was played back in the day before wall-to-wall high def television and millions of viewers acting as referees. Players and their caddies protected the field by monitoring themselves and each other. That’s the way golf was meant to be played.