Bizarre rules gaffe results in mass disqualification in mini-tour event

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The PGA Tour may not be in session at the moment, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t rules drama in professional golf.

On Monday, at the Outlaw Tour’s Verrado Founders Championship, 14 players were disqualified as a result of a tee-box mix-up on one of the par-3s. The situation was first reported in a tweet from Monday Q Info.

“Tee was set at the 204 plate, scorecard showed hole at 222,” the tweet said. “First group teed of (sic) on the wrong tee, and since there was a backup on that hole other groups followed. But there was no info from starter that tees had been moved, no rules sheet etc.”

The error appears to have occurred on the par-3 3rd hole, according to replies to the tweet.

Playing from the wrong tee box is covered under Rule 6.1b which states if a player plays from the wrong tee box “the player gets the general penalty (two penalty strokes) and must correct the mistake by playing a ball from inside the teeing area. If the player does not correct the mistake before making a stroke to begin another hole or, for the final hole of the round, before returning his or her scorecard, the player is disqualified.”

Jesse Burghart, who runs the Verrado Founders Championship, posted a statement of Facebook defending his decision to disqualify the 14 competitors from the 60-player event.

“I stand by my decision to uphold the integrity of the game and the Rules of Golf,” Burghart said. “Penalty for breach of rules is disqualification. It’s very black and white and one of the most important rules to follow. I’ve heard all the name calling and peanut gallery remarks. At the end of the day we are supposed to be professional golfers. Ultimately it’s your decision to be one or not.”

Breach of rules or not, it’s a brutal way to flush you $875 entry fee down the drain.

James Feutz, who was among the players who were DQ’ed, said in a tweet on Tuesday morning that he believed the mass DQ was the right call. But he was also critical of how the tour set up the course.

“You had hundreds of years of tournament experience among the 14 guys DQ’d with thousands of tournaments played and not one guy had ever playing [sic] a wrong tee,” Feutz wrote. “In my opinion some of that has to fall on the way the course was set up and how the tournament was ran [sic]. The biggest factor was that our personal scorecards printed out by the tour had the third hole yardage playing from the the tee that everyone that got dq’d played from. Had that scorecard said the yardage that the tees were actually set up at, we wouldn’t have had his problem.”

The Arizona-based Outlaw Tour is one of the few mini tours still conducting events during the coronavirus outbreak. The Verrado Founders Championship is the 12th tournament in the 16-event schedule that runs from January through April.

KK Limbhasut leads the 54-hole event after an opening-round 66.

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