Simon Dyson’s Infraction Caught By a Fan
Golf is such a weird game. The rules were drawn up by NASA, and you need an extra college degree just to memorize them â€“ or you need enough income to hire someone to memorize them for you, come along to the tournaments and monitor your professional actions.
English golfer Simon Dyson did himself in at the BMW Masters this week by tamping his line of putt after marking the ball. Needing to get into the top 60 to reach Europeâ€™s counterpart to the Fed-ex Cup, he canâ€™t get into the next tournament. Now, it all comes down to the Turkish Open.
The rules violation, rule number 16 â€“ 1a was, as has been the case more than once, called in by a fan. The very number, 16 â€“ 1a sounds like the issue was an addendum to a larger issue, and if weâ€™re going to get that picky, where is the rule that says that a fan can watch the game of golf, but isnâ€™t allowed to exert his or her influence upon the game at hand, like rule 436 â€“ bxf â€“ 68 â€“ Z?
There isnâ€™t another place in sports, not that I can think of anyway, where a fan can determine a playerâ€™s fate. Itâ€™s up to the player to get it right, and itâ€™s up to officials (refs, umps, linesmen, whatever the sport) to get it right â€“ if they donâ€™t â€“ sorryâ€¦play ball! Or, should we introduce replay of every shot into the game of golf, with a panel of officials hiding up in some corporate tree-house where they are safe from reprisals?
All I know is, I canâ€™t wait to call Serena Williams in or out next Wimbledon, my identity remaining secret, of course, and phoning in a pass interference call on the Green Bay Packers is going to be a lot of fun â€“ Iâ€™ve always wanted to get into that game. Maybe I can get some of those hockey thugs DQd, thrown out or suspended for a few weeks. Hey, I like having this new power.
What is a civilized sport to do? When a nice guy like Dyson comes along, born in picturesque York (site of my ancestral home), looks like he just walked out of Lawrence of Arabia (or it could be just me â€“ Iâ€™m old) and didnâ€™t really mean to do such a villainous thing, isnâ€™t there anything a tour can do, like â€œOk, Mr. Dyson, we know it wasnâ€™t mal-intent â€“ just donâ€™t ever do it againâ€ or â€œItâ€™s Ok, Mr. Dyson, weâ€™ll just put the two strokes on your score, and you go out and play.â€
Well, I guess you canâ€™t do that, but the idea of some guy in a recliner with a five oâ€™clock shadow, hoisting a beer and wearing a â€œHiya girlsâ€ T shirt shouldnâ€™t be influencing the careers of Rory, Tiger, Suzann or Stacy. The invisible wall between watching and playing has been broken.
I can just imagine how all this rule stuff evolved from the beginning. Back in 1780, McTavish gave Angus a â€œgimmeâ€ which knocked Dundee out of a playoff. Dundee got everyone from his clan together and decided that the next time they all met, thereâ€™d be no more gimmes. Rules developed like the deer trails of two centuries ago that turned into our superhighways. Next, theyâ€™ll enact rules about color combinations (no red â€“ it â€œbleedsâ€ on camera) or some fan can call in and say, â€œthat caddieâ€™s not wearing regulation Nikes â€“ two stroke penalty! Pettersen should have known better!â€
Really sorry about that, Mr. Dyson â€“ youâ€™re a good guy who Shanghied yourself. Take some of that money and hire a rules expert, the same way youâ€™d hire an accountant â€“ either that, or some dufus like me will call in and ruin your year.