If you watched this year’s Farmers Insurance Open, you know that Patrick Reed won. You also know that the win was the topic of a lot of controversy at first. When Reed hit his ball 132 yards, it landed left of the cart path off the green, out of sight from where Reed was standing. When Reed reached the ball he asked bystanders if they had seen the ball bounce, they said no, and so he picked it up, believing it to be embedded. Turns out the ball was not embedded and it had bounced (according to video footage), but because Reed was under the impression that it had been embedded, Reed was allowed to take a free drop and ended up making par, then continued on to win the entire open. Some people felt this could have been intentional cheating, while others maintained it was a simple mistake and a matter of not being able to see the ball bounce.
This year’s Farmers Insurance Open win got us thinking about some of the other memorable golf controversies over the years. Here is a quick recap of a few. Do you remember these?
Memorable Pro Golf Controversies
Roberto De Vicenzo in 1968
During the 1968 Masters, Roberto de Vincenzo ended up losing because of a poorly filled out scorecard. Vincenzo’s partner, Tommy Aaron, accidentally wrote that Vincenzo got par on 17 when it was actually a birdie. Because Vincenzo bogeyed the 18th hole, he was distracted and didn’t check his own scorecard before submitting it. The inaccurate scorecard was counted and the result was Vincenzo lost by one stroke. Vincenzo took the frustrating loss incredibly well, simply stating “What a stupid I am.” Now, that’s good sportsmanship.
Jane Blalock in 1972
Jane Blalock has since become known as a skilled and well respected golfer, with a whopping 27 LPGA wins under her belt, but in 1972 at the Bluegrass Invitational she was the subject of a cheating scandal. Blalock was found guilty of not only marking her balls in a way that was not allowed, but also failed to incur a two-stroke penalty on herself which was required to make up for the rule infraction. As a result, she was disqualified from the event.
Casey Martin in 2001
You may remember that Casey Martin, a pro golfer with a medical condition that affects his leg, was denied use of a golf cart by the PGA Tour. Martin sued the Tour for not allowing him use of a cart under the American With Disabilities Act, and the case went to the Supreme Court, who ruled in favor of Martin in 2001.
Ready to quit reading about golf and get out there and shoot some balls?