Sergio Garcia was disqualified from the PGA Championship this weekend for signing an incorrect scorecard. This is not the first time a player has been disciplined for this, but the question is why golf continues to stick by this silly rule.
In what other professional sport are the players supposed to keep score, and then can be DQ’ed for getting it wrong? That tournament was televised, which means the network knew what Garcia’s score was. The leaderboard knew what his score was. The guy carrying around the little mobile leaderboard knew what his score was. The other players knew. Viewers at home knew. Garcia certainly knew. But because Garcia’s playing partner, Boo Weekley, put down a 4 instead of a 5 on the 17th hole, and Garcia didn’t notice the error, he was kicked out.
Huh? It’s not like he kicked his ball out of the rough onto the fairway, or picked it up and carried it to the green, where he discretely dropped it in the hole.
I know golf fanatics are all about tradition, but then so are baseball nuts, yet the batters aren’t charged with keeping track of balls and strikes. There are umpires and scoreboards and other players around to make sure it’s correct.
The only level of sports where this even comes up is with kids. At the end of an inning of a Little League game, the moms who are keeping score for their sons’ respective teams always compare: “I think they got 11 runs in that inning. Is that what you got, Mary?” Once Mary confirms it, that’s the official score — but they players don’t have to keep track.
Imagine the NFL running the way the PGA does. Some offensive tackle doesn’t admit that he held the defensive end on a touchdown play, or a receiver steps out of bounds but no one notices, then after the game he signs the scorecard and, just by that act, the game is forfeited. That can’t happen because of instant replay technology, but there are just as many cameras focused on a golf tournament, so why leave it up to that low-tech penciled-in scorecard?
I’m just glad this doesn’t apply to miniature golf, because I can never remember if I got a 4 or a 5 on the windmill/waterfall combination on 17.