Frank, please accept my appreciation for the work you have done and are doing for golf.
On the back cover of your book From Sticks & Stones you quote Bobby Jones in 1925 and I repeat it, “You may as well praise a man for not robbing a bank. There is only one way to play the game.”
In light of this please give me your comment about the penalty given to Carl Pettersson for touching a leaf on his backswing in a hazard. My concern is not the penalty but the fact that an official called it.
Thanks for your kind comments. I hope that we will continue to provide good information and — now with the new website — a forum for our viewers to express their opinions about various issues we address.
Yes, Bobby Jones made this statement after the praise he received from the press about calling himself on a rules infraction, seen by himself alone.
Regarding the Pettersson penalty; If Carl had realized what had occurred, I am sure he would have called the infraction on himself – as hundreds of golfers in major events have before him.
When we understand that golf is a self-evaluation process we recognize the obligation we have to call rules infractions on ourselves. It is this that differentiates golf from any other sport we play, where in every case we shift this personal responsibility on to a referee or umpire. If this ever happens to golf, we will have fractured the very essence of the game and the foundation on which it is built.
The fact that we have the capability to recapture, electronically, every move a golfer makes in HD and replay it in slow-motion enabling us to see things otherwise imperceptible to the human eye – does not mean that we have to use it to officiate a game which relies on honor and self policing for its very existence.
Please do not let an invasion of such technology overseeing our actions become part of golf, as it will fracture the very essence of the game. In this particular instance it is the referee’s obligation if he observes an infraction or it is reported to him, to act accordingly and apply the Rules.
We need to do our best to educate golfers about the rules and then back off and let them take care of enforcement themselves, as has been the case for about five hundred years.
In spite of our impression about some of the rules — as Carl stated “It’s just one of those things. We have a lot of stupid rules in golf” – our incentive should be to change them in an orderly manner.
Thank you for your question and we invite our readers to share their thoughts on the role of technology in monitoring players and enforcing the Rules by leaving a reply below.