Yesterday, however, an R&A spokesman said: "It was mutually agreed, given the media interest in this matter, that Graham Brown would take no further part in this championship."
...the next rules committee chairman, Alan Holmes, bungled a Tiger Woods ruling in ways that even a USGA committeeman could never comprehend (but they surely must be enjoying the other governing body looking so ridiculous!).
Everyone in professional golf knows that if your ball comes to rest against television cables, you mark the ball with a tee peg, move the cables and take a free drop. Woods did not get the chance to carry out this basic procedure after carving his drive into the rough to the left of the 10th fairway.
Like Woods, Roe was aghast at the ruling. He said: "It's perhaps the easiest rule to knowand what really disappoints you is that this guy is going to be the next rules chairman and he can't even get that right."
Just to put this into context, Tiger Woods was playing in Arizona in 1999 when a rules official declared that a 1,000lb boulder was a movable obstruction.
James Corrigan in the Independent says:
On the left side of the 10th, Holmes adjudged that a collection of television cables was an "immovable obstruction" and told Woods he could shift his ball away without penalty. No one was more shocked than the player himself, and he duly capitalised on this widely perceived lucky break by making par. It was a weird drop, I was as surprised as anybody," he admitted. "I've never seen that ruling before. I didn't ask for the drop, the guy told me I could. He tried to move them and said he couldn't. Every time I've played around the world they've picked them up, no problem."
Holmes insisted his decision had been correct and labelled accusations that he had been intimidated by Woods stature "ridiculous". They were levelled most vehemently by Mark Roe, a former professional who was following Woods in his role as a radio summariser. "In 21 years as a pro I've never seen a drop like it," said Roe. "His first lie was absolutely horrendous and he would have struggled to play the shot. I think the R&A official became like a jellyfish because it was Woods. Some rulings are complex; this was not."
Roe proved his point by picking up the cables with one hand and moving them three feet; a respected journalist did likewise. Nevertheless, the R&A backed its man with conviction. Holmes is due to be the next chairman of the governing body's rules committee and, after a week in which one of its high-ranking members was stood down for making racial slurs in a pre-Championship speech, it is the last thing the R&A needed.
And Lewine Mair shares this from the offending official:
Holmes said it was "absolutely ridiculous" to suggest he had given Woods a favourable ruling because of who he was. "I applied the letter of the law," he said. "It was a simple decision and that's it. I couldn't move the cable appreciably so it became immovable."