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« Dyson Fined, On Double Secret Probation Over Spike Mark Tap | Main | DJ On Vijay: "He’s in trouble, not me." »
Thursday
Dec052013

Euro Tour Alternate Shoots 66 Carrying Own Bag, And That's The Least Bizarre Thing About The Hong Kong Open's First Round

Now, I know a lot of you are not too impressed that a member of the white belt set posted a 66 in the Hong Kong Open lugging his bulky tour bag. But the circumstances around Lam Chih Bing's 66 were rather extraordinary and will not go down as the finest in European Tour operations history.

Alvin Sallay of the South China Morning Post story merely touches on the oddity of Bing's round, which left him in a tie for third, two shots behind David Higgins.

Higgins leads by one from Italy's Andrea Pavan and by two shots from a bunch of seven players, including Singaporean Lam Chih Bing, who was second on the reserve list, but found himself suddenly in the thick of the action after Finland's Joonas Granberg was disqualified for not making his tee-off time after his caddie had gone to the wrong tee.

Lam still might not have made it if not for his friend Anthony Kang, the first alternate, deciding to caddy for Unho Park thinking that no place would open up. All this added to the surreal surroundings on the opening day.

But GolfCentralDaily's Donal Hughes (Twitter: golfcentraldoc) reports that the situation was far more bizarre, with Joonas Granberg the victim of a DQ and Jeppe Huldahl trying to replace Granberg before getting stopped from starting because he's not an Asian Tour member, opening the door for Lam.

It kicked off when Joonas Granberg was left standing on his first tee box, the 11th, about to start.  His caddie had gone to another tee (presumably the first or tenth) with his clubs, leaving Granberg holding his putter and panicking as the clock ticked up to then past the official tee off time.  With several referees scrambling about, Granberg’s caddie eventually made it to the tee, three minutes too late.  The luckless Fin was summarily disqualified and sent on the long journey home.  “It was like something out of a nightmare,” the fellow player who witnessed the entire incident said.

Had Granberg had his wits about him, he could have teed off using his putter, but such was the calamitous scene, the moment passed.  Understandably he took his frustration out on his golf bag before leaving the tee.

And then the fun began!

Then first reserve Jeppe Huldahl is called to the tee, gets there and is about to drive off when he is stopped mid swing and told to step aside.  The Dane turns around in shock as he too is ushered off the tee and told the first reserve must come from the Asian Tour.

With that player, Chih Bin LAM, nowhere to be found, officials scurry off to find him and the other two players drive off.  Eventually LAM is found and runs onto the tee in a sweat carrying his own bag.   He smashes one away then runs down the fairway to catch up with his playing partners who were preparing to hit their second shots.

And a good time was had by all!

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Reader Comments (20)

Is looping your own bag even allowed on the PGA Tour?
12.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
"And a good time was had by all!"

I doubt a good time will be had by Granberg's caddy.
12.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPGT
Who doesn't use the putter? Do they not show Tin Cup in Finland? and which of the other "pros" don't roll over and say "hey bud, hit the putter..."

Another option is paying two strokes and hitting some other guy's driver.

there's a reason there arent any Harvard grads on tour

Hong Hong-Helsinki--9.5 hours on Finnair.
12.5.2013 | Unregistered Commentersmails
possibly the greatest first tee story of all time
12.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBlue Canyon
smails, it is amazing huh? They panicked...

I looped in an event once where the 1st tee announcer started announcing our group and Robert Allenby was on the putting green about 20 yards away. Unfortunately for him there was a tour official standing there and he dinged Robert with 2 for not being on the tee when the group was called, this despite the fact RA wasn't hitting first. To Robert's credit he handled it calmly, bogeyed the first, and went on to shoot 67. RA seems to have a prickly reputation but he could not have been nicer to me and also handled the rules imbroglio like a complete gentleman.
12.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
So Granburg's DQed even though he's on the tee and his caddie isn't, but Lam isn't on the tee and gets to play after he's found, which is several minutes after Granburg's caddie shows up late? Maybe nobody should have replaced him. (And this leaves aside the Dane who was, indeed, left aside.) Was Ivor Robson there to announce and un-announce the lads?
12.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterGolden Bell
I don't think you can PGA W/O a caddy.

I have a friend who was so po'ed at this hack who kept insisting on the back tees that he bet him he could hit his putter farther than the slug could hit hs driver. My pal whacked a ping anser 148 yards (thus my 148 putt comment the other day)...he did have to correct the loft, as the hosel was a little ''bent''. Oh, and he outdrove the hack by 25 plus.

The inability to tee off and stay in play just falls under the heading of whoops. No excuse other than a brain fart.
12.5.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
Trying to figure this out was like Jim Cramer on CNBC screaming about Blackstone and credit default swaps.
12.5.2013 | Unregistered Commenterbenseattle
Carl, I was in no way suggesting the penalty was arbitrary or improper....just seemed a little harsh :) Thanks for that link. Robert was so close he could have easily been on the tee before the announcer finished making the first introduction -- but it is what it is. He really didn't miss a shot all day, it was awesome. Ripped it into the front bunker on 1 and almost holed the bunker shot for par. Hit a 2-iron so far around the corner on 8 it was just stunning. Piped big high sweeping draws off the tee all the way around. Greenskeepers must love him, nothing but bacon strips with any club other than a wedge. Fun day...
12.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
I didn't think you were suggesting that it was improper. I remember from a while ago that you were trying to improve your rules knowledge so sent you the link -- treating Player C differently than A, by giving him an extra minute or so, would be unjust and it would make application of the rule more difficult.

Bobby Clampett had a similar 'late to the tee' incident at a US Open Sectional (or maybe Local) qualifier a few years back -- he was less gracious about it as I recall.
12.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterCarl Peterson
Carl,
Bobby was a big baby about it - he felt the officials should have been looking for him 5 minutes before his tee time to make sure he was on the tee box in time. It was a local qualifier and Bobby was on the range hitting drivers when his group was called. Kind of blamed himself but still put blame on the officials at the first tee. Pretty pathetic, actually.
12.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterShady Golf
Carl, you are correct, and I'm ashamed to say I've been recalcitrant in my efforts ;( Started fast, tailed off from there... But I did read that one! Thanks again.
12.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
@Shady, I know - and, as I remember it, one of the golf publications smeared an excellent volunteer official over it (because they are too lazy to bother to understand the rules and it's easier to listen to a Bobby Clampett than do some research).
12.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterCarl Peterson
Easier to listen to Bobby Clampett? In which universe?
12.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
In the universe where the alternative is to learn the rules and do some research.
12.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterCarl Peterson
Please tell me the Benny Hill theme song was playing on the first tee
12.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterOkay
Take that all you other tours!

The European Tour is the most disorganised and farcical tour on earth!

I wonder if this was televised?
12.6.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRichD
@Okay: +1 LOL.

The weird thing, to me, is why wasn't the Asian Tour 1st alternate not ready to play and standing by when that whole boondoggle started...and how come the Euro 1st alternate was completely in the dark as to his real pecking order number?

And what would the Euro Tour do if the alternate didn't stop mid-swing and actually teed off in the tournament? Rules experts?

@RichD: You may have a point there.
12.6.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
Hmm ... I don't recall any long-winded explanations when 'Jakartagate' unfolded.

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