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Golf's Biggest Mistakes

Dustin Johnson's rules violation at the 2010 PGA Championship was just another in a long list of screw ups by professional golfers
Jeff Williams
From the Print Edition:
Jim Belushi, November/December 2010

(continued from page 5)

Roe shot a 67 which put him into contention for the title. But bizarrely he and Parnevik had not exchanged scorecards before the round as the rules required. They were writing down their scores, correctly, on scorecards that had their names on them. This was a violation of the rules that could result in each of them being disqualified.

The scorecards were checked over by officials in the scorer's room after the round and initially there was no problem. The Royal and Ancient said that if the mistake were caught in the scorer's room, it could have been rectified, but once the cards were signed, they became official. Upon further review, the players were disqualified.

The seeming injustice of the situation prompted the R & A to change the rule and allow such scorecards to stand. But not until after the tournament, so it didn't help Roe at all. He never contended in a national championship again.

Byron Nelson

One of the game's greatest players and greatest gentleman, a rules violation cost Nelson a chance at winning the 1946 U.S. Open at the Canterbury Golf Club in Ohio.

Nelson, Lloyd Mangrum and Vic Ghezzi finished tied for the lead after 72 holes, prompting a 36-hole play-off the next day. In the first round of the play-off, Nelson's approach shot to the 13th green finished just off the putting surface. Many fans crowded around the ball and when his caddie stepped into cluster, he accidentally kicked the ball. Since a caddie is considered part of his player's equipment, Nelson had to take a penalty stroke for the violation. If not for the penalty, Nelson would have won the play-off. All three men tied again, and Mangrum won the second play-off the next day.

Jeff Williams is a Cigar Aficionado contributing editor.

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