Mistake costs Kerr 2 shots
Cristie Kerr left the course yesterday in tears after two rules violations resulted in her losing two strokes, dropping her score from a 3-under 69 to a 1-under 71.
Both violations occurred on the green at the 12th hole, where LPGA Tour vice president of rules and officials Doug Brecht decided that Kerr broke rules 18-2A (ball at rest moved by player) and 20-7 (playing from the wrong place).
Kerr had a precarious lie along the ridge line of the 12th green about 25 feet from the hole. According to Brecht, who watched a television replay provided by The Golf Channel, she marked the ball, put it back on the green, came up to her ball and wasn't really comfortable how the ball was resting.
"After she had put her putter behind the ball," Brecht said. "She then remarked the ball, put it back down again and had some difficulty placing it back down on the ground. It took her four or five times before she could finally place the ball to be at rest. She then backed off, lined up the ball again and set the putter on the ground a little bit -- not directly behind the ball -- but a little bit off to the side.
"She then picked her putter up, put it directly behind the ball, saw the ball might have a chance to roll, picked the putter up, the ball then rolled. It rolled approximately 10 feet and she then played it from that position. "
The rules of golf state, once you put your putter behind the ball, that player is then responsible for that ball's actions, unless there is conclusive evidence that something else caused the ball to move. Kerr was responsible for that ball moving and therefore received a one-stroke penalty.
"She didn't replace it, she played it from the same place, so she received an additional one-stroke penalty for a combination of the two," Brecht ruled.
There was also a chance that she gained an advantage from hitting it from a better place, but she wound up about 30 feet from the hole, so no violation occurred.
Kerr's argument was that she never put her putter on the ground. But Brecht and another official watched the tape from two different angles, one close, one wide range and it was clear in their minds that the putter had actually touched the ground, meaning she was about to address the golf ball.
"We let her see it and there was no doubt her putter touched the ground," Brecht said. "She was upset with the penalty and that she had played a good round of golf, she was 3 under par and among the leaders, and she was assessed a two-shot penalty."
Brecht was first notified about the possible violation by The Golf Channel, but also had several other people call his cell phone to notify him of a possible rules violation.
"I am comfortable with television replays as long as the evidence is conclusive," Brecht said. "There was absolutely no doubt as to what happened."