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Guan's Latest Rules Run-In

Jason Sobel explains 14-year-old Guan Tianlang's latest brush with the rules, when he was assessed a one-shot penalty in the FedEx St. Jude Classic en route to a missed cut.

Seems he picked up his ball in a bunker to ID it without informing his playing partners. Oh boy...

According to eyewitnesses, Steven Bowditch – one of his two playing partners, along with Steve Lebrun – confronted the teenager about his lack of knowledge of the rule.

After the round, it was ruled that Guan violated Rule 12-2. He was assessed a one-stroke penalty for failing to alert his marker or fellow competitor of his intention to mark and lift his ball for identification.

Bowditch initially refused to sign his playing partner’s scorecard before finally acquiescing.

Happy times!

Shawn Stefani leads Harris English heading into the final round.

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Reader Comments (18)

Adding Bowditch to my DB folder.
06.9.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPat
Guan needs to pack it up back to China for a couple of years, the novelty act of a 14 year old good enough to make some cuts, but not capable of winning got old a few months ago.
06.9.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
And Bowditch is the problem Pat?
06.9.2013 | Unregistered CommenterErrol
Sloppy writing by Sobel. As one of the commenters pointed out, he makes it sound as if Guan is skirting the rules rather than simply being unschooled and slow. And Sobel doesn't explain Bowditch's reason for "refusing" to sign the scorecard. Was Bowditch being obnoxious or just careful?

As for the suggestion that Guan's sponsor-invite is unfair to "real" pros, well, I'd much rather see Guan than an unknown who was left out. The guy who was left out is probably a club member's 2nd-cousin-once-removed who's playing on the Tar Heel Tour. Not to knock the aspiring pro, but sponsor's exemptions are the SPONSOR's choice, and Master's-weekend-player Guan has more fan appeal than Billy Joe Low-Pro.
06.9.2013 | Unregistered Commenter3foot1
Agree about the sloppy reporting. Sobel skipped at least one of the 5 Ws.
06.9.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPasaplayer
a. Searching for or Identifying Ball Covered by Sand
If the player’s ball lying anywhere on the course is believed to be covered by sand, to the extent that he cannot find or identify it, he may, without penalty, touch or move the sand in order to find or identify the ball. If the ball is found, and identified as his, the player must re-create the lie as nearly as possible by replacing the sand. If the ball is moved during the touching or moving of sand while searching for or identifying the ball, there is no penalty; the ball must be replaced and the lie re-created.

In re-creating a lie under this Rule, the player is permitted to leave a small part of the ball visible.

This might have help both players. I may give them a small pas, because this is a new rule. My guess is he lifted his ball instead of moving the sand.
06.9.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMark
I am curious...did he think it was someone else's ball? Wasn't it a fairway bunker? Did neither he or his caddy not see his shot go into the bunker? Were there a couple of other balls in the bunker he wasn't sure about? I don't understand why he felt the need to identify his ball.
06.9.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve
And is he becoming the male version of Michelle Wie?
06.9.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve
@Steve: Because if you play the wrong ball you are in deep sh*t? Used to be that playing the wrong ball from a bunker incurred no penalty. IIRC that is no longer true but don't have a rule book handy at the moment.
06.9.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
@KLG: You're correct, it's a penalty these days.
06.9.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHawkeye
Nothing new about a PGA pro disrespecting a sponsor's wildcard pick. It's the same BS about interfering with their perceived "right" to make a living. As was posted above, these gravy trainers forget that without sponsors they have no tour. If you are getting bumped from an event because you are that low on the exempt status list, it's not the sponsor nor the lucky recipient's fault. Step up your game and quit whining.
06.9.2013 | Unregistered CommenterP-Dog
P-Dog. It may be best that we hear why Steve did what he did before passing judgement on him. He's not a fool, nor is he a tool. I suspect there may more to this than was reported. I'm also pretty sure that by the time we do hear more, it will have been cleaned up by the Tour and made suitable for family viewing.
06.9.2013 | Unregistered Commentermetro18
One of the greatest things about playing competitive junior golf and amateur golf is learning the rules. Not only by reading the rules book, but by actually having different things happen to both you and your playing partners and competitiors. At 14, just not enough experience in these types of situations. How many times do you hear about this from an inexperienced girl or boy playing on the big stage. Expect more of this as the age gets lower and lower with girls and boys playing on the pro tours.
06.9.2013 | Unregistered Commenterol Harv
I heard Guan played Augusta for perhaps a whole month prior to the Masters... just about every day.

He still had to perform come tournament time but he wasn't exactly at a loss as a newcomer.
06.9.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn C

you have no idea what you are talking about. probably not possible to make a less informed post than yours.
I'm not sure director, 'Brian S' ' comment was pretty dumb.
06.10.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPress Agent
Yeah, I would love to hear follow-up on this. Why did he refuse to sign the card? Was it before the one-stroke penalty was incurred and he wanted that cleared up by a rules official before signing? That's totally reasonable. Was it because he thought one penalty was not sufficient and he should be DQ'd? Totally unreasonable when 1) he already was missing the cut, and 2) deciding whether a rules violation is so sever to warrant DQ under whatever that other rule is, is for the committee, not him to decide.
06.10.2013 | Unregistered CommenterThe O
Maybe he didn't sign the card because it is his responsibility
to keep a correct card????
And ignoring a rule for a fellow players results in???
06.10.2013 | Unregistered CommenterOhReally

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