Greetings golf fashionistas. As the immortal LL Cool J would say, “Don’t call it a comeback, I been here for years”. Well, months actually, but who’s counting. I know many of you have been wondering why I have not been blogging much, or at all, recently. And I wish I had some long elaborate story about travel around the country for work or for fun, but the truth is, I’ve just been very lazy. Part of it is my day job at 3balls.com keeps me more than busy, and part of it is my home computer is from the turn of the century, like 2002, so it doesn’t run very efficiently. But, no more excuses. With my 1 year blogoversery coming up, yes I did just invent a word, I’m dusting off the blog skills and writing a gem. Or trying to anyway. Plus, we had a major rules hullabaloo this weekend didn’t we? So lets get into the fray and back in the swing of it.
If you are an avid reader of this blog, and I’m sure there are 1 or 2 of you out there, you know that I have a rules interest AND a fashion interest. But I focus mainly on the clothing side, because its more fun. Typically, rules issues that arise are very controversial and often heart breaking. This was the case in this past weekends Sybase Match Play Championship on the LPGA Tour. The article from ESPN.com can be found here: http://espn.go.com/golf/story/_/id/7951895/azahara-munoz-wins-sybase-match-play-controversial-semifinal-win-morgan-pressel, as well as a commentary from one of the “professional” blog writers here: http://espn.go.com/golf/story/_/id/7952900/no-middle-ground-morgan-pressel-slow-play-penalty. I’ll try not to bore you with all the specifics, but basically, Morgan Pressel, a teen-star who has had some ups and downs on the LPGA Tour, was penalized for having a slow time on the par-3 12th hole, which she won to go 3-up in her match, and the penalty was loss of the hole, which put her back to 1-up. That in itself would be a rules decision worth writing a blog about. But its gets even worse. On the 15th hole, with Pressel still 1-up on Azahara Munoz, she accused Munoz of touching her putting line, which would be a penalty. The LPGA looked at the tape, determined it to be inconclusive, and assessed no penalty to Munoz. She made her birdie putt, Pressel missed, and the match was square. Azahara won the next two holes and the match. Then everyone broke into tears, and understandably so. The icing on this whole mess is that Munoz and Pressel are both good friends, as it states in the LPGA Tour media guide and both women have admitted to.
Now for the important part of this, MY take on the two incidents. First off, I have always and will always say rules are rules. (The ESPN.com article says it one or two times as well, but they stole it from me. Im still waiting on my check). Pressel was slow, and they were on the clock, and thus a penalty is well within the rules officials discretion to use. But quite frankly, it seemed unjust and unwarranted. For 1 thing, Pressel changed clubs before her tee shot on the par 3 as the wind picked up, a very natural response to the situation. 2nd, they were the last of 2 semifinal match play matches, so they weren’t holding anyone up. There was no group behind them. Yes they warned the group before the 11th hole, but groups get warned all the time, and never, ever get penalized the next time they play slowly. It just seemed very petty and unnatural, and the 2 hole swing was clearly deflating for poor Morgan, who had virtually no time to collect her thoughts before teeing it up on the next hole. Unless she wanted ANOTHER slow play penalty.
The 2nd incident was confusing for all, but it seems Morgan thought she saw a rules violation, no one else saw it, and thus it could not be penalized. Not the 1st time, wont be the last. Sour grapes was the first thought that popped into my head, but I don’t think that was the case, thought Morgan was clearly a little steamed by that point in the match. Either way, two ugly incidents took away from a great, exciting week of golf featuring rising LPGA stars, and the game is a little bit worse off for it. In my humble opinion.
Next time we meet, hopefully we will have something better, more fashionable?, to talk about. Until then, remember, as ESPN.com would say over and over again, RULES ARE RULES!!!