Contenders DQ’d over rarely used rule at U.S. Amateur Four-Ball

Ty Gingerich and Cole Harris were disqualified from the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Wednesday over ... a putter grip?

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If you’re hoping to compete in an official golf competition, a word of rules advice: get a grip … just not two.

On Wednesday morning at the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball, the pairing of Ty Gingerich and Cole Harris found itself DQ’d from the tournament with just two holes to play in the pair’s quarterfinal match. The decision came after rules officials deemed Gingerich’s two-gripped putter was non-conforming … after some 40 holes of use at the Country Club of Birmingham.

The thrust of the rules issue, which was first reported by Ryan Herrington of Golf Digest, came down to Gingerich’s split-gripped putter. Under the Rules of Golf, putters with split-grips are legal, but that comes with a stipulation: the grips must be at least 1.5 inches apart. Gingerich’s putter grips were well less than that distance, which meant his club was non-conforming, resulting in a DQ.

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Gingerich, who had recently adjusted the length of his putter to adopt an arm-lock putting style, had inadvertently violated the rules of golf in the process.

“Prior to this morning’s resumption of the quarterfinal match between Evan Beck/Dan Walters and Ty Gingerich/Cole Harris, it was brought to our attention that Gingerich had used a non-conforming putter grip in violation of Part 2, 3c of the Equipment Rules,” the USGA said in a statement announcing the decision. “The violation resulted in a disqualification.”

The good news, if there is good news, is that at the time of their disqualification, Gingerich and Harris were already facing long odds of advancing. After 40 holes, the pair was down by one to Beck/Walters with only two holes to play.

Still, the decision highlights the irregular nature of the Rules of Golf, in which a pair of competitors could play 40 holes and advance through multiple rounds of an event before it was discovered their equipment violated the rules.

Later on Wednesday, Chad Wilfong and Davis Womble went on to win the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball, defeating Drew Stoltz and Drew Kittelson in come-from-behind fashion.

James Colgan Editor

James Colgan is an assistant editor at GOLF, contributing stories for the website and magazine. He writes the Hot Mic, GOLF’s weekly media column, and utilizes his broadcast experience across the brand’s social media and video platforms. A 2019 graduate of Syracuse University, James — and evidently, his golf game — is still defrosting from four years in the snow. Prior to joining GOLF, James was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Long Island, where he is from. He can be reached at